Astor Piazzolla

Piazzolla interpreta a Piazzolla

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The "Edición Crítica" being issued cooperatively by RCA's Argentine and Japanese branches is a reissue series covering Astor Piazzolla's RCA albums (and a few for CBS) as they originally appeared in Argentina from the 1960s through the 1980s. The original backside of each LP package is reproduced on the back of the foldout "booklet." All of these releases are worthwhile for the Piazzolla fan, but the present disc is an especially nice find. It's the earliest of the set, dating from 1961, and although the pieces on the disc are mostly familiar, Piazzolla interpreta a Piazzolla (Piazzolla Interprets Piazzolla) announces its grand intentions with its title, and indeed it was a groundbreaking effort in many ways. It was Piazzolla's first recording with his quintet, one of his favorite configurations through the years, here consisting of violin, piano, bass, and electric guitar as well as Piazzolla's own bandoneón. The album contains the first recording of Adiós Nonino, an elegy for the performer's father that became one of his most famous compositions. Here it appears together with a simpler and little-known piece, simply called Nonino, from which it evolved. The 1961 Argentine sound is harsh, but there is a feeling of tremendous excitement from start to finish. This was the moment at which Piazzolla distilled his combination of tango and French neo-classic harmony down to a pungent and economical brew, and the other players knew they were part of something original. There are plenty of smoother Piazzolla recordings, but few that have as much electricity in the air. Highly recommended, and possibly a recording that will be recognized in time as a landmark of twentieth century music. Notes are in Spanish and Japanese only.

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