The Nuevo tango. Discover this recording program inspired by tango music composed by Piazzolla, Durán and Ginastera, brilliantly performed by The Gryphon Trio. With these new arrangements for violin, cello, and piano, The Gryphon Trio (Junos Award winner) expands the piano trio repertoire.
The tango: a lascivious dance born in the bordellos of Buenos Aires. Or so goes the legend. There is some truth in it but the real story of how the genre came to define the Argentine identity is far richer. In the late nineteenth century, European immigrants, mainly from Italy and Spain, flooded into Argentina hoping to prosper from the agricultural boom. Many were unable to buy land, however, and settled instead in the working-class neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires. Homesick, and often poor and unemployed, these immigrants, along with the port city’s natives, gave expression to their daily struggles by creating a new hybrid art form.
The tango’s musical sources were as varied as its creators: a blend of Italian Mediterranean culture, Spanish flamenco and the Cuban habanera. Even its flagship instrument, the accordion-like bandoneón—invented in Germany as a portable organ for church services—was an unlikely protagonist. By the 1920s, Carlos Gardel, the “king” of tango, had popularized the genre’s sung form; and the tango’s acceptance by Parisian high society helped spread its popularity worldwide.
But even a vibrant tradition risks stagnating if not renewed. And sometimes what is required is an outsider’s fresh perspective. The burden to stop the “tango from becoming a relic of the past”, observed pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, fell on the shoulders of Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992).
© 2008 Robert Rival