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Astor Piazzolla - Live In Colonia, 1984

feat. Quinteto Tango Nuevo
Product number: INT 33432
Edition: 2 CDs
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The revolutionary of tango, Astor Piazzolla, an internationally acclaimed leading light in his own lifetime, became the epitome and expression of Latin American rhythm, dance and passion for us. Tango is not merely the dance, once frowned upon by bourgeoisie, danced in the dockland pubs of the suburbs and the poor districts of Buenos Aires, which then found entry into the greatest concert halls after Astor Piazzolla reformed it - tango is an experience of life.

From the very beginning, Astor Piazzolla’s tango music was an important source of inspiration for many musicians. In 1981, Piazzolla yet lived to see his Libertango rise to a hit in the German pop charts in Grace Jones’ version of I’ve Seen That Face Before. 20 years later, people dance to the electronic version of the Piazzolla song Sur: Regreso al amor performed by the band Gotan Project in the in clubs and discotheques all over the world. The clarinet player and king of Klezmer Giora Feidmann, also born in Argentina, arranged Piazzolla tangos for a grand string orchestra, while violinist Gidon Kremer, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianist & conductor Daniel Barenboim as well as the Kronos Quartet discovered the “classic” Astor Piazzolla for their repertory. Meanwhile, Astor Piazzolla’s oeuvre has been honoured by a large range of adaptations and arrangements worldwide, among them popular interpretations by Italian diva of song Milva, but also jazzy arrangements by Chick Corea, Gerry Mulligan, Gary Burton and Richard Galliano. Only rarely has a composer of the 20th century enjoyed a similar reception in such stylistic variety – Piazzolla’s music found its entrance into pop music, folklore, jazz and classical music.

After decades of worldwide tango reception, the current find in the radio broadcasting archive of the Deutsche Welle is all the nicer. Live in Colonia 1984 is a true discovery, a live concert recording by the Deutsche Welle in the Cologne studio from the year 1984 with the original Quinteto Tango Nuevo, consisting of world class musicians Pablo Ziegler (piano) Fernando Suárez Paz (violin), Oscar Lopez Ruiz (guitar), Héctor Console (double bass) und Astor Piazzolla (bandoneon).

This tango means music beyond Argentinean low dive melancholy, high-slitted stiletto legs and embracing dancers’ bodies; it is a tango that is by no means related to the often unbearably banal creeping melodies of European character.

“This is the music of Argentina, of the city of Buenos Aires – the new tango that we began playing in 1960 with this quintet’s same cast almost 25 years ago, and which we are still playing to this very day.

In 1960, no one understood the music I played because it was ‘crazy’ music – it was no traditional tango, no old-fashioned tango everyone knew. In fact, it was just an attempt to play good music, the essence of my country and first of all the essence of the city of Buenos Aires. We had a lot of difficulties, because in 1960, the people didn’t understand this. Still today, in 1984, they don’t understand what we are doing.”

When Astor Piazzolla turned to his audience with these words on November 14, 1984, during the Deutsche Welle concert in Cologne on the last day of his European tour, he and his Quinteto had already given more than 30 concerts in the great halls of Europe’s centres. They had all been sold out. The supposed irony of his words comes from the fact that on the one hand he had been admired since the 60s as the most popular tango composer and bandoneon virtuoso, and on the other hand had been slandered as a traitor in his native country of Argentina, the cradle of tango, in a way almost unimaginable today. The “loyal” tanguéros from his country feared the destruction of tango because of him. “It was the time,” he explained this in an interview, “when tango was dying in Argentina anyway. In 1954 or ’55, rock’n’roll entered the country, and the younger generations found music by the likes of Elvis Presley or Bill Haley far more exciting than the old tango which hadn’t changed in 40 or 50 years. […] And then I came along, too.” In the people’s view, Piazzolla was disrupting the little bit of tradition that had not yet been threatened or overpowered by modern influences. “It was a sentimental problem. I was taking ‘their’ tango from them.”

And yet, in younger years, Piazzolla at first had had completely different plans than to tackle tango, of all things. Even though he had received a bandoneon as a present from his father when he was eight and the family still lived in New York, but Astor Piazzolla’s first musical love was for Bach’s work. It was an interest raised through the lessons he then received from Hungarian pianist and Rachmaninov student Bela Wilda and which did not leave him for the rest of his life. Two years later, he was able to star in an American film production with the renowned Argentinean singer Carlos Gardel. It was during this time also that young Piazzolla became more enthusiastic about jazz.

His passion for the dance in 2/4 and 4/8 time was fired only in 1936, when Astor Piazzolla and his family returned to Argentina. He became a member of the most important contemporary tango ensemble, Anibal Tróitos Orquesta Tipica which produced many a prominent figure of the genre. Eight years later, he left the orchestra in 1944 to found his own formation according to a traditional model. At about the same time he started studying classical composition with Alberto Ginastera and increasingly turned towards symphonic compositions. In 1954, one of these works earned him a scholarship offered by the French government – in that same year, he travelled to Paris to Nadia Boulanger, one of the most famous contemporary teachers of composition in order to perfect his studies in classical music. Ironically enough, this high point of his occupation with classical music became for Piazzolla the true lead-in for his work on Tango Nuevo. When he played one of his tangos on Nadia Boulanger’s express wish after presenting his composition sketches, Piazzolla claims she remarked: “That’s your music, you can throw away all this other stuff.”

Which he did. Starting from scratch, Piazzolla began concentrating on combining his strongest influences – those of classical music and of jazz – in his natural idiom, on creating a new tango. Piazzolla had found his true domain; the Tango Nuevo was born.

When he returned to Argentina, he founded the original group of the Quinteto in 1960, a group that existed for more than 20 years and was a decisive factor in shaping the Tango Nuevo while more and more bridging the hiatus between serious and popular music. Characteristic for the Quinteto’s formation was their addition of the piano and the electric guitar to the traditional cast of bandoneon, violin and double bass. It was with this group that Piazzolla gave concerts with until the 80s, as in the recording of 1984 in Cologne.

Here you can find sound samples and purchase tracks or the complete album as mp3.


CD1: Biyoya
Milonga del ángel
La muerte del ángel
La resurrección del ángel

CD2: Tristezas de un doble A
Adiós Nonino
Miguel angelo


Astor Piazzolla: bandoneon / Pablo Ziegler: piano / Fernando Suárez Paz: violin / Oscar Lopez Ruiz: guitar / Héctor Console: double bass

More Information

Astor Piazzolla - Live In Colonia, 1984
feat. Quinteto Tango Nuevo
2 CDs
100 ′42 ′′

Technical Details

Product number:
INT 33432
0,12 kg

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