Astor Piazzolla

Next Tango

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What we have here is a film in two parts directed by José Montes-Baquer called Astor Piazzolla -- The Next Tango. The first part includes interviews with Piazzolla the composer interspersed with performances by Piazzolla the bandoneon virtuoso of excerpts from his works with quintet or orchestra. The second part includes complete performances of three works: the Double Concerto for guitar, bandoneon, and string orchestra; the Concerto for bandoneon, string orchestra, and percussion; and Adiós Nonino, a tango for bandoneon and orchestra. The interviews show Piazzolla to be a funny and very engaging man who knew the challenges he faced by daring to infuse the downtown tango with uptown compositional techniques and who still triumphed over tremendous odds to create the internationally acclaimed muevo tango. While the camera work is appropriately minimal in the interviews, in the performances, Montes-Baquer's direction is masterful in capturing and focusing the viewer's attention on the music and the musicians with the deft use of tracking shots, unusual angles, deep focus, and especially the superimposition of two or more images. With Pinchas Steinberg leading Das Kölner Rundfunk-Orchestra and guitarist Alvaro Pierri in the Double Concerto, the performances here are bright, sharp, hard,and persuasive, and, as always, Piazzolla's playing is full of the sweet, sweaty perfume of Buenos Aires' tango, suffusing the music with its dusky shades and dark mysteries. Filmed in 1985 and 1986, this is well worth watching by those who already know and love Piazzolla's music and those who'd like to learn to know and love his music. tsche Grammophons images are crisp and the sound is clean.