The valuable Edición Crítica issued by the Sony/BMG conglomerate's Argentine branch consists of a series of reissues of Piazzolla's Argentine LPs in their original forms, with packaging text and imagery reproduced on a booklet foldout. This live album dates from 1982, a date signficant for several reasons. First, the album was made during Argentina's brief war with Britain over the Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic Ocean. Piazzolla can be heard in his spoken introduction to Tristezas de un doble A, twitting a European Union official with those intitials. Second, and more musically signficant, is that the concert dated from just before Piazzolla began his rise to international prominence, a development he fortunately lived long enough to enjoy and that might have been linked to the new openness that followed the fall of Argentina's military dictatorship (Argentina's people lost the war but won the larger battle). The concert was of a type Piazzolla would never be able to give again, for a large part of it was devoted to vocal tangos. The featured singer (Piazzolla calls the collaboration "un unión de amor," or a love match) was Roberto Goyeneche, a marvelous, gruff-voiced veteran of Anibal Troilo's tango orchestra, and the performance shows that, just as Picasso could paint in an academic style, Piazzolla was comfortable in a conventional accompanimental mode. The most intriguing of the vocal tracks comes at the end (there is also a bonus track), where Goyeneche delivers Horacio Ferrer's text to Balada para un loco in a sort of growled Sprechstimme. The beginning of the concert offers two instrumental Piazzolla standards, and these are also unusual. Tristezas de un doble A is given a lengthy, seemingly improvised solo introduction by Piazzolla himself, and the performance clocks in at 19:27, in contrast to the piece's usual seven-minute length (several other live performances, however, feature similar treatments). It's a fascinating amplification of the works, with Piazzolla in absolutely top form. Next comes the contrapunal Muerte del Angel, for a kind of prelude and fugue opener to the entire concert. The Edición Crítica has shown the diversity of Piazzolla's musical activities in a way that the internationally distributed recordings of his work do not, and this disc, although it's definitely apart from the mainstream of his work, will be of interest to Piazzolla fans.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by James Manheim