Operation Tango, the new album released on March 17, 2023, via E54 Music, marks a departure from the group’s previous efforts. The repertoire comprises pieces not written originally by Piazzolla for a quintet now arranged for this ensemble. The titles include “Tango Ballet,” an early Piazzolla piece for a film; “Tocata Rea,” and “Fuga y Misterio” from Piazzolla’s “little opera” Maria de Buenos Aires; and “Los Sueños,” from the soundtrack of the film Sur, and the choices stay true to one of Quinteto’s goals.
The idea is not just to focus on Piazzolla’s classics, says Vat. “Part of our mission is putting the spotlight on lesser-known pieces that we believe deserve to be heard.”
This new album brings us a selection of pieces that illustrate two stages in Piazzolla’s creative work: the creation of the Nuevo Tango “Piazzolleano” in the 1960s, and its worldwide debut in the 1980s.
”Triunfal”, the title track of the album, is one of Piazzolla’s earlier works, one that foreshadowed artistic elements that Astor later utilized in the 1960s. It is also the same piece he played for Nadia Boulanger in Paris upon her request to showcase the kind of music he performed back in Buenos Aires.
The iconic pedagogue immediately saw the passion and discipline in his music, two virtues she considered fundamental to creation, and so she insisted that Piazzolla not abandon this path. From then on, Piazzolla began to cultivate a sound that would become synonymous with his name and change the world of tango music.
The works included in this volume musically recount distinctive moments of an intense and passionate creative story, in which there is no shortage of tributes and nods to his idols and his musicians, the cities he’s lived in and his life experiences.
The compositions selected for this album are among Piazzolla’s most significant creations of the 60s, not only musically but also due to the link between his development and character evolution with the life circumstances he found himself in, as it comes from a time period when he experienced loneliness, emotional turbulence and mysticism.
Among these pieces we find the fugue, a musical form popularized during the Baroque era, with a most profound melancholy expressed in the Ángel series, and its polar opposite in the Diablo series, characteristically elaborated with a more dissonant and aggressive sound.
From these works emerges an aura of master refinement that, alternated with the “Piazzolleano” handling of the rustic quality that is typical of the tango aesthetic, generates a striking yet beautiful contrast.
This album showcases a stylistic journey from the twists and turns of Piazzolla’s Nuevo Tango, through his most sophisticated compositions made during the prodigious and prolific decade of the 60s.
This album begins with some of the most intense compositions of the Nuevo Tango era: La Camorra III, En 3×4 and Imágenes 676 are key pieces in which Piazzolla really explored the power and potential of rhythm in tango. Bending and breaking the barriers which made him revolutionary in the genre.
This affirmative side of Piazzolla is shown even in the most melodious, lyrical pieces such as Mumuki or Tangata, which seem to surrender to the power that overtakes the passionate passages.
The spectacular versions of two of his most emblematic, modernistic tangos: Prepárense and Tres minutos con la realidad are also of remarkable tango force.
Closing this powerful selection of works is none other than the tango anthem that Piazzolla dedicated to his bandoneon: Doble A.
A new era for Quinteto Astor Piazzolla begins with this album that compiles some of the most complex and significant compositions from the Piazzolla universe.
La Camorra I and Milonga loca represent what we could refer to as Piazzolla’s later musical style. A conjunction of all the techniques derived from Nuevo Tango expressed through the 20 years of wisdom and experience from touring with his quintet. Retrato de Alfredo Gobbi is a masterpiece based off of the classical tango music that Astor admired very much. Tango para una ciudad reunites, for the first time, two compositions which Astor had recorded separately, but which come together as a unit, one of them being dedicated to New York and the other to Buenos Aires. The two ends of a balance on which Piazzolla built the identity of the Nuevo Tango.
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