Clip: Aussel plays Piazzolla
Astor Piazzolla was an Argentine tango composer, bandoneon player and arranger. His oeuvre revolutionized the traditional tango into a new style termed nuevo tango, incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. A virtuoso bandoneonist, he regularly performed his own compositions with a variety of ensembles.
In 1992, American music critic Stephen Holden described Piazzolla as “the world’s foremost composer of tango music”.
Piazzolla was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 1921, the only child of Italian immigrant parents, Vicente “Nonino” Piazzolla and Asunta Manetti.
In 1925 Astor Piazzolla moved with his family to Greenwich Village in New York City, which in those days was a violent neighbourhood inhabited by a volatile mixture of gangsters and hard-working immigrants. At home he would listen to his father’s records of the tango orchestras of Carlos Gardel and Julio de Caro, and was also exposed to jazz and classical music, including Bach, from an early age. He began to play the bandoneon after his father spotted one in a New York pawn shop in 1929.
In 1934 he met Carlos Gardel, one of the most important figures in the history of tango, and played a cameo role as a young paper boy in his movie “El día que me quieras”. Gardel invited the young bandoneon player to join him on his current tour. Much to Piazzolla’s dismay, his father decided that he was not old enough to go along. This early disappointment of not being allowed to join the tour proved to be a blessing in disguise, as it was on this tour that Gardel and his entire orchestra perished in a plane crash in 1935. In later years, Piazzolla made light of this near miss, joking that had his father not been so careful, he would now be playing the harp, rather than the bandoneon.
Piazzolla’s nuevo tango was distinct from the traditional tango in its incorporation of elements of jazz, its use of extended harmonies and dissonance, its use of counterpoint, and its ventures into extended compositional forms. The use of the passacaglia technique of a circulating bass line and harmonic sequence, invented and much used in 17th- and 18th-century baroque music but also central to the idea of jazz “changes”, predominates in most of Piazzolla’s mature compositions. Another clear reference to the baroque is the often complex and virtuosic counterpoint that sometimes follows strict fugal behavior but more often simply allows each performer in the group to assert his voice.
“Compadre” belongs to the first original work for guitar “five pieces” written by Astor piazzolla specially for the argentine guitarist Roberto Aussel in 1980.
Enjoy the wonderful interpretation of this Piazzolla’s work, which Roberto Aussel recorded exclusively for Guitar TV World.