Astor Piazzolla was an Argentine musician from the twentieth century who revolutionized the world of tango. His approach may be the reason why his relationship with tango was a bit turbulent. Piazzola was one of the most important Argentine tango composers besides Carlos Gardel; he played bandoneon and created what he called The New Tango, but he was highly criticized because he was a true pioneer in the genre.
I love Piazzolla’s music and I think that I have his album, The Central Park Concert, to thank for that (it was recorded live in 1987, but not released until 1994). I know it sounds weird, but when I listened to this album for the first time I felt the same thing I felt first listening to Toxicity by System Of A Down. These two LPs might seem like opposites at first sight, but they have some things in common, at least in my point of view; for instance they perfectly combine forcefulness with more emotional sounds, creating an interesting atmosphere that made me run to the record store to buy them.
But today, I’m not going to talk about either of these albums. Last winter, I heard about the album release concert for the new album by Leticia Moreno. I first learned of this record on TV and I was surprised that a young, classically trained violinist would release an album with pieces by Astor Piazzolla. So I decided to go to the event, held at the Palau de la Música in Valencia, because, in spite of the fact that I love Piazzolla’s music, I had ever seen anyone perform it live. She played just three pieces accompanied by several string instruments and a piano, but during the first piece my eyes almost welled up with tears. Awesome! I inevitably had to buy her cd, edited by Deutsche Grammophon.
In the first part of Leticia Moreno’s album she and the London Philharmonic Orchestra reimagine Las Estaciones Porteñas with new arrangements for orchestra, and without the presence of the bandoneon. When you have heard a song several times, different arrangements can sound kind of weird, but Leticia’s playing makes you appreciate the music in a new way.
In the second part, the band is more like The Quinteto Nuevo Tango that used accompany Piazzolla: a double bass, a bandoneon, a harp instead of the electric guitar, and the violin playing terrific pieces like Adios, Nonino, or one of my favourites, Concierto Para Quinteto.
I my opinion, Piazzolla’s works were very risky and this is why he was very admired, hated by the most conservative sector of tango, and eventually recognized as one of the most important musicians and composers of the twentieth century. Leticia Moreno also choose a hard path when she decides to play this difficult repertoire. This girl, based in Valencia had to change her technique to play like these crazy Argentine musicians who broke the rules of the tango. I think that this is reason enough to listen to this great album.