Nashville Symphony celebrates Argentine tango master Astor Piazzolla on its latest release

September 10, 2010

On September 28, the Nashville Symphony releases its latest Naxos recording featuring the music of Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla. Recorded in November 2010 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center with Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, the recording includes three works that exemplify Piazzolla's "nuevo tango" style, which transformed the tango music of his native country into sophisticated art music. Together, these pieces give expression to a wide range of moods and expressions, from Tchaikovskian emotionality to languid delirium to amorous passion.

The Nashville Symphony and Naxos will celebrate the recording's release with a public event taking place 7 p.m. September 29 at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in The Mall at Green Hills. Nashville Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero and President and CEO Alan D. Valentine will both be in attendance, and a quartet of Nashville Symphony musicians will also perform.

Written in the early 1950s, Sinfonía Buenos Aires offers a symphonic vision of the bustling port city that Piazzolla called home at the time. The composer's incorporation of tango and orchestral music was so new and unexpected that it prompted a group of tango purists to shout their disapproval at the world premiere. The Nashville Symphony's recording features soloist Daniel Binelli, an internationally renowned master of the bandoneón, the accordion-like instrument that gives the tango its distinctive sound. Named for the highest peak in the Andes, the Bandoneón Concerto "Aconcagua" also features Binelli. The work's central movement reveals Piazzolla at his most intimate, beginning with an extensive, soulful solo on the bandoneón emphasizing the tango’s lyrical intensity.

Violinist Tianwa Yang is the featured soloist on Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), which pays tribute to Vivaldi's famous set of four concertos. Written in the late 1960s and posthumously arranged by Leonid Desyatnikov, the music quotes directly from Vivaldi's original Summer and Winter, but with a twist: Playfully alluding to the seasonal differences between the northern and southern hemispheres, Piazzolla's Summer corresponds to Vivaldi's Italian Winter, and vice versa.

The son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, Piazzolla originally earned his reputation as a bandoneón player in Buenos Aires' preeminent tango orchestra. As a composer, he soon began experimenting with new tango hybrids, giving birth to a revolutionary musical movement that combined the tango with elements from jazz and classical music. The bandoneón, however, remained at the core of his music. The composer once famously compared the instrument to his psychoanalyst. "I start playing," he said, "and I blurt everything out."

"In Astor Piazzolla's music, we hear so many different influences, which is what makes it so thrilling to listen to," says Nashville Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero. "The result is passionate, sensuous and absolutely gripping."

Over the past decade, the Nashville Symphony has become one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. This latest release is the orchestra's 18th for Naxos. Past releases include Joan Tower's Made in America, which received 3 GRAMMY® Awards in 2008; Michael Daugherty's Metropolis Symphony, released in 2009; and Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortilèges, which received a GRAMMY nomination in 2010.

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