ASTOR PIAZZOLLA

Musical progress has always provoked a line that devided its followers and make them enemies. This is reality and if this line is formed amongst tangueros, one can only imagine how rigid it is.

This is what happened in Buenos Aires with the appearance onto the szene of Astor Piazzolla, who was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina, raised in New Yorkand studied with the famed Nadya Boulanger in Paris. If one compares the experienceof his life with other typical ruffians from the river region who were always primed for a fight usually with deadly results, it would open a musical debate that would be difficult to resolve because of the characteristics of protagonists. Not for nothing can it be said with certainty, that Piazzolla was (and for some, still is)the most combative and polemic musician of Argentina. What people have forgotten and others fail to remember, is the great admiration that the leaders of both sides have for him. A story is told that when Astor got into a taxi in Buenoa Aires, he was immediately recognized by the driver, who ordered him to get out of the car because he didn't want to drive him. When Piazzolla asked why, the driver responded " I am a supporter of Troilo. Curiously , Astor was a member of Pichuco's (Troilo) Orchestra and Troilo was a huge admirer of Piazzollas harmonic concept.

In the 40's, Piazzolla formed his own Orchestraand bewildered audiences with his arrangements and musical standards. His arrangementsdid not respectthe traditional form of Tango and sometimes had a form completely different. Piazzolla berteredthe romanticism of the old of the old tangos and added the style of Ravel, Schroemberg and Bartock to his musical harmony than took the "walking bass" of jazz and mixed the rhythms of tango with elements of Stravinsky.

In the middle of the 50's , Piazzolla moved to Paris to study composition with  Nadya Boulanger and on his return to Buenoa Aires he formed the "Octeto Buenos Aires" in which it was evidentthat he had distanced himself from the traditional forms of tango. After this period with the Octeto, he formed what could become his best group, the "Quinteto Nuevo Tango" in the 60's.

From this point Astor spent much time concentrating on his music and with a brilliant octet  in the 70,s but he always returned to his old quinteto.

His most popular phase was in the late 60's when together with the Uruguayan poet Horacio Ferrer, he composed now classic tangos such as "Balada para un Loco ( Ballad of a Crazy) " and "Chicquilin de Bachin (Little Boy of Bachin)"

Astor Piazzolla actually may be the cultural hero of Argentine music but during his career as a musician, the difficult times were extremly difficult. The tango has its musical meaning, of course , but also its social and religious meaning . It is a product of a society of European imigrantswho left their landfor an American dream that was not realized, mixed with uprooted gauchos without jobs and native black victimized by the upper class. In a nutshell, the tango is not the ideal terrain for innovation. But music has no frontiers. Music surpasses the social problems of a place and can be recognized and loved throughout the world, a world that listensand supports itregardless of circumstances in the place where it originated. Such as he succeeded with the traditional tango in Paris, the genious of Piazzollawas earned throughout the worldwith his music and hewith the stamp of international approval he gave the tango its contemporary that he called "Nuevo Tango"(New Tango)

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