Astor Piazzolla'a Four Seasons of Buenas Aires

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Born in Argentina Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) immigrated to New York with his family, where he grew up on the Lower East Side. Sports and other activities interested him far more than did the tango, the music of his father. The gift of a bandoneón (a type of accordion) began to change that. In characteristic fashion, the first music that Piazzolla played seriously on the bandoneón was Bach. Whatever his early reservations, however, Piazzolla eventually took to the instrument and the tango repertory. He was 16 years old when his family returned to Argentina, and he was soon working regularly in the best tango orchestras, including that of Aníbal Troilo. In 1944 Piazzolla left the Troilo band to form his own ensemble, the Orquesta del 46, to play his own compositions. At that time he also was studying composition with Ginastera. A symphony he composed in 1954 for the Buenos Aires Philharmonic earned him a scholarship to study in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, the greatest composition teacher of the 20TH Century. She advised him to cultivate the tango as his true mode of expression. He later recalled: “Nadia asked where, in all my works, was Piazzolla, for [my music] seemed to represent all kinds of things -- but not Piazzolla. Once, she heard me play tango on the piano, and said to me, `There is Piazzolla -- and there is the direction you must take.’” He took her advice, returned to his cultural roots, and became one of Argentina’s most celebrated performers and composers. He created a style called "New Tango" which combines traditional tango themes with his own daring compositional techniques. New Tango has become the "classical" music of Argentina.

The Four Seasons of Buenas Aires is Piazzolla's violin concerto, and takes as its' inspiration from Vivaldi's famous Four Seasons, and if you listen carefully you will hear some intentional quotes. Each of the 4 movements is characteristic of one of Buenas Aires' seasons, and each movement deeply reflects the "New Tango" style. The brilliant soloist is Ensemble Monterey's own Concert Master, David Dally.

Until Friday -

Yours in Music - John Anderson