Astor Piazzolla (1921 – 1992)

Primavera Porteña (Spring) FromThe Four Seasons of Buenos Aires

Astor Piazzolla is widely recognized as the greatest composer of tango music. Born in Argentina in 1921, Piazzola spent much of his childhood in New York City, where he was exposed to both jazz and classical music. As a young composer, Piazzolla studied with Alberto Ginastera who introduced him to the music of great composers of the early 20th century such as Stravinsky, Ravel and Bartok. At that point of his life, Piazzolla was interested in pursuing a career as a serious classical composer.

He decided to move to Paris to seek instruction from the legendary Nadia Boulanger, who has already mentored many of his famous contemporaries. Boulanger was not convinced by his classical compositions, saying they were at best an attempt to emulate the music of his predecessors. However, after hearing one of his tangos, she jumped and announced “you fool! THIS is Piazzolla!” From then on he dedicated his efforts almost exclusively to writing tangos.

After returning to Argentina he invented a new approach to tango – the Nuevo Tango. The Nuevo Tango abandoned the traditional large ensemble in favor of a smaller chamber ensemble with jazz-like improvisations. His rich musical background and style has made him one of the only composers whose music both classical and

jazz musicians can justifiably claim as their own. Unlike Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (or “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires”) were initially conceived as four separate pieces rather than a set. The pieces were composed for Piazzolla’s own quintet comprised of violin/viola, piano, electric guitar, double bass and bandoneón (accordion).

The word porteño in the title refers to the natives of Buenos Aires and suggests that Piazzolla had in mind the four seasons particularly in the context of the energetic city and its passionate people. This arrangement for piano trio was done by José Bragato, who was the cellist in many of Piazzolla’s Nuevo Tango ensembles, including the Octeto Buenos Aires and the New Tango Sextet, in which Piazzolla himself played the bandoneon. Bragato pioneered the idea of cello solos in a tango ensemble, a distinction previously reserved for the violin. He became a close friend and associate of Piazzolla who dedicated a composition to him called Bragatissimo.

Program note courtesy of Michael Katz, Lysander Piano Trio

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阿斯托.皮耶佐拉  (1921 – 1992)

四季 春天

阿斯托.皮耶佐拉 ( Astor Piazzolla, 1921-1992 ) 是二十世紀探戈音樂的革命者,阿根廷作曲家以及班多紐手風琴(Bandoneon)演奏家。他以全方位系統的古典音樂訓練為基礎,創造性地融合傳統古典音樂與爵士樂的作曲風格,將探戈音樂從通俗流行的舞蹈伴奏音樂提升為可以單獨在舞台上展示的具有高度藝術性,並能表達深刻哲理的純音樂形式,並由此創立了「新探戈音樂」(Tango Nuevo)樂派,成為阿根廷文化的代表人物之一,以及南美音樂史上的重要人物。在阿根廷,皮亞佐拉被尊稱為「了不起的皮亞佐拉」(el gran Piazzolla)

皮亞佐拉的探戈音樂《布宜諾斯艾利斯的四季》,跟巴洛克時期韋華第的《四季》沒有十分直接的關係,皮亞估佐拉的四季是獨立四首曲目,沒有分三個樂章。而起初是寫給他的五重奏:小/中提琴、鋼琴、電子結他、低音大提琴和班多紐手風琴。

《布宜諾斯艾利斯的四季》,並非只是描寫布宜諾斯艾利斯的一年四季,而是在形容布宜諾斯艾利斯當地人的生活與其他城市的人有所不同。音樂中也不時帶出南美特色的「探戈」節奏,美妙而不失火爆。1983年,義大利大提琴家、作曲家荷西.布拉戈多 ( José Bragato, b. 1915 ) 將此五重奏改編為鋼琴三重奏版本,此曲現今經常被演出。

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