Astor Piazzolla

Astor Piazzolla: Concierto para Quinteto

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The Astor Piazzolla "Edición crítica" or critical edition being issued by the BMG conglomerate's Japanese branch is simply a reissue series of Astor Piazzolla's original LPs, and as such it's most welcome, for these have long been hard to find. They're quite listenable for the newcomer to Piazzolla, with the proviso that they don't necessarily contain the tango master's most celebrated recordings. For the Piazzolla lover, they seem to overflow with surprises and insights. This disc reproduces the 1971 release Concierto para quinteto, complete with original artwork featuring some remarks by Piazzolla (in Spanish only) and three bonus tracks. It includes the title track, plus new versions of Invierno porteño and Primavera porteña, but not the other two Buenos Aires seasons, which Piazzolla did not until much later (if he ever did at all) think of as a set. These three pieces made up side one of the original LP, with Piazzolla accompanied by "su Quinteto," the most distinctive member of which at the time was an electric guitarist. Modern reproductions of Piazzolla's music rarely use that instrument, but it adds a new dimension to Piazzolla's boundary crossing. Side two consisted of bandoneón solos (except for the last track, an all-bandoneón quintet), not composed by Piazzolla at all. These are never heard these days, and they're quite powerful. It would be nice to know more about them (booklet notes are sparse and given only in Spanish and Japanese) and they seem, despite the generally notated state of Piazzolla's music, to contain a good deal of improvisation. For libraries and serious students of Piazzolla this disc is essential, and anyone who likes his music will find something new in it.

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