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Astor Piazzolla Histoire du Tango - Essay Example

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Astor Piazzolla Histoire du Tango

As with tango music, Astor Piazzolla's life was also filled with many changes and deviations that eventually helped him discover his true style and identity in the field of music. Piazzolla was born on March 11, 1921 to an Italian family in Mar del Plata, Argentina. His family moved to New York, and it was there that he first discovered his love for music. When his father gave him a bandoneon, he began to explore his musical talents that would have to undergo many changes and evolutions before he would come to realize the true directions in his music career. While growing up in New York, Piazzolla learned to appreciate classical music as he studied piano with Bela Wilda, a disciple of Rachmaninov (Pessinis and Kurl). During that same time, he met with the tango legend, Carlos Gardel, who became a good friend to him.
When the family then decided to move to Argentina in 1936, Piazzolla started to play with some orchestras. Whereas he learned to appreciate the music of Bach while studying with Bela Wilda, he began to embrace tango as a musical style when he lived in Argentina. He was particularly impressed with the Elvino Vardaro's alternative style of rendering tango pieces (Pessinis and Kurl). ...
Piazzolla continued to develop his skills and talent music. In 1944, he formed his own orchestra, which brought to the public a more vibrant form of tango music, more daring and dynamic (Pessinis and Kurl). This sparked the first controversies in Piazzolla's career. The orchestra was disbanded eventually in 1949, and the musician decided to take a different path musically. He thought that it was better for him to pursue classical music instead. Even as he did that, Piazzolla also listened to a lot of jazz music.
In his quest to find his own style, Piazzolla decided to stay away from tango music. In the early 1950s, Piazzolla created music pieces that very much deviated from the traditional tango music during that time. He won the first prize for the Fabien Sevitzky competition with his "Buenos Aires" symphony, which caused strong reactions from some of the listeners who thought that the music was an abomination of classical music, when he incorporated the bandoneon in the symphony. As part of the prize, he was privileged to study under the legendary educator, Nadia Boulanger, who played a huge role in Piazzolla's discovery of his own style.
Because of his decision to stay away from tango and pursue classical music, Piazzolla did not reveal his past musical experience to his teacher. Eventually, Boulanger found out the true style of Piazzolla and encouraged him to follow his own direction. Boulanger was quoted as saying to Piazzolla, in reference to his rendition of his tango Triunfal, "your classical pieces are well written, but the true Piazzolla is here, never leave it behind" (Pessinis and Kurl). His teacher's encouragements became the driving force for him to compose ...Show more


Astor Pantaleon Piazzolla is probably the most significant tango composer in the 20th century. With his diverse musical backgrounds, he contributed tango music that deviates from the traditional, yet loved by many listeners. During his career, he has written music outside the tango genre, but his true style and identity was to be found in his tango compositions…
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