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August 29, 2005


Areg sent me this link to a review of Piazzolla's CD Rough Dancer and the Cyclical Night, a suite of pieces composed for a cycle of dances in Graciela Daniele's "Tango Apasionado," a theatrical work based on the poetry of Borges. The music was released in an album recorded in 1987. I love the producer's anecdote about Piazzolla bursting into the studio as they were cleaning up tracks on the recording tapes. "If you correct anything you'll be eating dinner with Borges tonight."

Whether Piazzolla's music should be played for social dancing is always a subject of debate. When Piazzolla was in Troilo's orchestra he hated tango dancers - they cramped his style, they wanted "tangos", he hated old tangos, he thought "La Cumparsita" was the worst piece of music ever written; the dancers hated him because he wrote arrangements for the dance band that were hard to dance to. Troilo asked Piazzolla to cut it out because the dancers used to throw fruit at the band and throw coins on the floor and walk off. Maria Castello remembers seeing Piazzolla in a televised recording of a concert in Buenos Aires where they audience threw coins at the musicians on stage. Once when Piazzolla was giving a radio interview, embittered tango fans came to the station, entered the studio, and beat him up.

Listen to this great interview with Piazzolla where he talks about how, by the time he was studying in Paris, he was sick and ashamed over having been a tango musician. He was embarrassed to let Nadia Boulanger know he had played in a cabaret to earn a living. And yet he cared enough to Osvaldo Pugliese to listen to his new tango and opine whether it was tango or not. "Yes, it is tango," said Pugliese.

Astor Piazzolla on KPFA's Speaking Of Music, May 11, 1989, Exploratorium Theater, San Francisco

Also, this CBC broadcast by Guadalupe Jolicouer devotes a lot of time to Piazzolla. It's been a while since I listened to it; she either has some of Piazzolla's remarks on tape or reads remarks he had made about his music. (This is where I learned that Piazzolla sought Pugliese's tango blessing on his music.)

Posted by joegrohens at August 29, 2005 11:48 AM


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