Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

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RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

So, Craig, let's see where we'll go:

- If we agree that there are objective definitions in Dictionaries, we don't apply them at will, in specific cases (occasions, etc.); we simply use them, whenever we make use of the respective word. If I call you "bad", it is not because I apply the definition, in a specific case, but, because I see you fit in the description of the word. You, from your side, won't say it was my opinion to apply the definition, but, based on the objective definition, either you will confirm or accept the attribute or you will dismiss it. So, if I call a composer or work "great", it is not because I decided to apply a definition, but because I identify the features and attributes of the definition in them. The problem, normally and often, is about the agreement of the definition rather than its application at will (as opinion).

- "The best possible tone" is "purely a matter of taste or opinion". Ther is no definition on Dictionaries, etc. Apparently, you are not a soloist, or even a player, of Classical Music. If you tell any classical player, much more a soloist, that his/her tone is a matter of taste (whose actually?) or opinion, the least he/she can do is to burst into laughing. One of the reasons, I decided not to follow a professional career in music (not in classical field, necessarily), it was the problem of not managing a fine tone. Soloists, first in the conservatories, then with other professionals and special teachers or seasoned and senior soloists and, finally, by themselves, strive, throughout all their professional careers, to achieve the best possible tone. If you don't find a definition in the common dictionaries, you can discover a lot when you get to the matter. If it was a matter of taste and opinion, every beginner would be potentially the holder of a great tone. He/She didn't have to try much. Have you heard the tone of a novice compared even to a mere soloist? It's a result-oriented process. You don't even need a definition. Then, comes the pitch, the intonation, etc. which are all measurable ends to achieve.

The same applies for Harmony, Counterpoint and any other feature of Classical Music. In the Emperor Quartet of Haydn, we discover (we don't apply any definition at will) the superb use of harmony and in Bach..., well, he is the Counterpoint Meister. He does not need anyone of us to apply any definition or not. His music teaches us the counterpoint. Musicians, Soloists, Conductors, Professors, experts try to cope with his Art of Counterpoint and Harmony.

- The national form of music as "musical truth" of a composer means, again, how well the composer in question used the artistic means of music (great melodies, superb rhythms, inventive harmony, original orchestration, etc) to develop the musical tradition of his country, or region or (in some cases, continent). So, Piazzolla managed to achieve the impossible task to elevate an extremely popular (street level or underground, in some cases) form (the argentinian tango) to a much respected music, performed, nowadays, almost all over the world by great soloists, chamber ensembles and orchestras (respective names have been mentioned in previous posts). As an old soloist has put it very well, Piazzolla is not only good music;  it is good Argentinian music! Something that even for Ginastera is not easy to tell.

-Of course, someone is entitled to hold an opinion that Madonna's songs (not Madonna; she's not a composer herself and not the composer of her songs) are greater than Mozart's work, as long as it's his/her opinion and that's all. From the moment that we claim that this very personal opinion holds the same validity as the view of composers, musicians, professionals and experts, then, we have a fundamental problem of perception not only of Music but of Art in general. And, definitely, we don't need magazines like Gramophone, since its reviews are mere opinions with the same validity of the Pizza delivery guy who can hum three notes in a row and, if he wants to express his view in public, we have to take it into the same serious consideration.

- You are mistaken, if you believe that there is an "unbelievably great demand" for the music of Madonna, Lady Gaga, etc. in Asia, Africa or in every country in Europe (I cannot tell for sure for Latin America). Particularly in Asia and Africa (which are the most recent experience I have), the only presence of Pop artists (forget jazz and the rest) is in record stores of the very big cities. In National Television, occasionally and only for commercial purposes, you might see some video clips and that's all. In Africa, it's even worse.

However, what I meant about Classical Music in major countries of these continents is that the State, the Authorities, the People are involved in projecting this music and its ramifications. The artists who achieve a certain degree of international fame, like Lang Lang, become and, to some extent, treated as "national heroes". Those who succeed in their scholaships are rewarded or awarded respectively, at national or regional level. Despite there are quite a few local singers, dancers, players of popular music, they are conidered and treated, in the best possible cases, as national "stars", with no further projection, in any other way. Of course, they make some good money and get an ephemeral fame. On the other hand, magnificent and very expensive theatres, venues, conservatories are being created all over the big cities (China, only, has over 20 cities with a population of more than 1 million), while very little or nothing is being made for any other form of music, except for some special consideration for the traditional one. So, it is nothing about popularity. It's about building the culture of their nations.

Parla

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

This thread quickly degenerated into a virtually unreadable Parla v the rest affair. A pity because its ostensible subject, Piazzola, whose music I've been prompted to seek out, strikes me as very interesting. Maybe not a great composer, as Parla suggests, but certainly not a café composer either. For the moment I'm looking forward to hearing more of his work.

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

I can assure you, Guillaume, it was not my intention at all to deviate (not to degenerate) the thread but I found myself compelled to respond to provocative posts that led astray.

However, the important fact is that you found Piazzolla's music "very interesting" (greatness needs time and more exploratory listening). That was the purpose of this thread: to generate some awareness about a composer who, in UK (and not only), is virtually unknown.

I sincerely hope you will explore his musical output as much as you can. If you need any suggestion, I am always at your disposal.

Parla

 

 

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

parla wrote:

Can you enlighten us, Adrian3, which expert has claimed that Piazzolla is a folk musician (!) in the line of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan (I never heard, even by experts in the field, that these two are folk musicians ?!).

Joan Baez is definitely a folk singer. As to Bob Dylan, he certainly was at the start of his career. And if the tango isn't a form of folk music I don't know what is.

 

Adrian

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

In this vein, Adrian3, Brahms, Bartok, Liszt, Kodaly, Shostakovich a.o. should be folk composers, but they are not because they use the folk or popular forms of their or ancient times and transform them to serious written music.

Tango is mostly a popular than a folk style of music; it was used as a salon music for ballroom dancing elsewhere in US and in Europe or it was restricted to the underclass people in Argentina. It is hardly a folk music, since it is associated with quite a few countries in Europe (e.g. Spain, Finland, Denmark) and Latin America. The Argentinian Tango became the most famous, but it's not the only one and Tango nuevo has been established as a form by Piazzolla, who tried to promote a more academic form, breaking the classic notions and ideas of his native music.

Parla

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Parla you have a career in public relations. I'm a new believer.

Pause for thought.

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Re; Sinfonia Buenos Aires

This piece is worth a listen. Overall though it has left me with an unsure feeling.

In my opinion, Piazzolla shows in this work that he was a master orchestrator. It is scintillating, dynamic, warm and expressive by turns - in fact there is a whole kaleidoscope of moods in there. I found myself noting some shades of Prokofiev and Ravel even!

However, I am unsure Parla about some of the moods. The opening of the last movement sounds just like the kind of film score you would hear on a James Bond film to accompany a boat chase at high speed.Other moments sounded like documentary background music or foreground muzak, whichever.

I couldn't take any more after that Sinfonia, and went back to Ockeghem and Part...some of my personal favourites at the moment. Talk about a mood shift!

Best wishes

Mark

Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Mark, the Sinfonia de B.A. is not the only work to judge the music of Piazzolla and it's the least interesting of the three that the Naxos CD contains. Try the other two, which are the most substantive of the true Piazzolla.

Astor is a composer who grows on you. The more you explore and listens to his different works, the more you appreciate him.

Parla

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Bandoneon Concerto

Ah! Parla my friend, let us sit together at zis table and drink some cheap red wine from zis dusty bottle. Excuse me while I light up my Cuban cigar. Ze ladies eh? Zey always want to dance...

You are winning me over my friend gradually.

This concerto is a delightful work in many ways. The opening reminded me of the kind of angular rhythms from Tippett's Concerto for Double String Orchestra, and was a bit English pastoral, until the bandoneon comes in and it switches to French style cafe music, yes.

Ah so you like zis instrument Parla? My father bought it from a pawn shop. It cost him a whole week's wages. 'You fool,' my mother screamed, 'could you not have bought a cheaper one from a sailor on the docks?'

The second movement was lovely with the strings and harp and bandoneon solos, full of nostalgia and melancholy.

Such memories that zis movement brings! Me and my cherie are walking together, hand in hand, across a deserted park in ze early morning...

Last movement: spirited, quirky, joyful - bringing the two styles, what I am calling English and French, together.

It is a very interesting work - still a bit unsure as to whether, as other contributors have said, it is a bit folky and French cafe style. If ever a film score can be elevated to an art form then this is it alright... 

He is growing on me.

Now where is my Grace Jones CD, the one with Libertango on?

Best wishes

Mark

Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...

RE: Astor Piazzolla : a great composer for all times?

Piazzola did write an opera called Maria de Buenos Aires. I found an mp3 of it an classicsonline. There are two versions on Spotify. Musically, it's fascinating. I'd be hard pressed to understand the libretto written in Spanish and in lunfardo - the Buenos Aires argot. 

A music lover currently living in the middle of nowhere. 

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