Piazzolla's Fugue from Maria de Buenos Aires 



performed at Staunton Music Festival

August 22, 2019

Trinity Episcopal Church, Staunton, VA


JP Jofre, bandoneon

Federico Diaz, guitar

Mary Boodell, flute

Diane Pascal and Airi Yoshioka, violins

Vladimir Mendelssohn, viola

Jan Mueller-Szeraws, cello

Pete Spaar, double bass

Heini Kärkkäinen, piano

I-Jen Fang and Brian Smith, percussion

Carsten Schmidt, conductor


Video by Stewart Searle



from MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES.  Music by Astor Piazzolla .  Lyrics by Horacio Ferrer. Warner Chappell Music, used by permission  



About the Music

The name of Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) goes hand in hand with that of tango. Born in Argentina to an Italian immigrant family, Piazzolla actually grew up in New York City. He learned to play the bandonéon (a concertina, similar to an accordion) on the streets and progressed rapidly. Astor would go on to become one of the most renowned bandonéon players of all time, frequently playing his own works in concert and writing tango-inspired music that forever changed the genre. But he also studied classical composition and delved into symphonic and film scores. Piazzolla combined tango with jazz and classical idioms to elevate the rather seedy world of tango to a place among high art.


And speaking of high art, Piazzolla—a former student of the great Nadia Boulanger—even introduced fugue into his works. For example, the sixth number in his tango-opera María de Buenos Aires (presented in its entirety on Saturday evening) is a fugue. The subject unfolds in skipwise motion, proceeding from bandoneon to flute and eventually strings. Under it all runs the infectious rhythmic pattern of the dance so indelibly linked with this composer: Argentinian tango.


(c) Jason Stell, 2019




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