One of the finest exponents of the Argentinian tango, Astor Piazzolla, would have marked his 100th birthday on 11 March 2021. Through our representation of the Warner Chappell Music Hire Library, we take this opportunity to highlight the rich seam of his concert and stage works within their catalogue.
Born in Mar de Plata, Argentina, in 1921, Piazzolla spent much of his childhood in New York, his family finally returning to Argentina in 1936.  He began to learn the bandoneon at the age of 8 and, in 1938, moved to Buenos Aires and started to play with a number of tango orchestras, eventually joining one of the greatest tango orchestras of that time, the Anibal Troilo Orchestra.  Then in 1941 he began studying composition with the great Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera, and later commenced piano studies with Raúl Spivak.
Piazzolla formed his own tango orchestra, the Orquesta Típica, in 1946, which gave him his first opportunity to experiment.  At the same time his first ‘classical’ works were being performed and he was also starting to be commissioned to write film scores. Believing that his future lay as a serious composer, he disbanded the orchestra, dropped the bandoneon and decided to focus on his musical studies.
The aspirational conflict between Piazzolla the tanguera and Piazzolla the composer were not reconciled until he went to Paris in 1954, to study with Nadia Boulanger, who persuaded him not to hide or suppress his interest in the tango and the bandoneon, and that the form represented a path to finding his true compositional voice.
Returning to Argentina in 1955, Piazzolla formed a group, the Octeto Buenos Aires, for whom he produced works that broke away from classic tango and the mould of an “orquesta tipica” and created chamber music instead - without a singer or any dancers.  In 1960 he created the first of many famous quintets, comprising bandoneon, violin, bass, piano, and electric guitar.  This was Piazzolla’s most beloved formation; the one most conducive to expressing his ideas.
Piazzolla experimented with various ‘crossover’ styles: jazz, whilst in New York in the late 1950s, and jazz-rock/tango during the 1970s with his octet the Conjunto Electronico.  He also continued to compose ‘classical’ works, including Le Grand Tango (1990) for cello and piano, dedicated to and premiered by Mstislav Rostropovich, and his Concerto for Bandoneon and Orchestra.  He also composed the ‘operita’ Maria de Buenos Aires, written in collaboration with the poet Horacio Ferrer, and the oratorio El Pueblo Joven (also written with Ferrer).  But he will be remembered above for his contribution to the evolution and international fame of the tango.
Please note that the Piazzolla works are available from Faber Music Ltd as a result of our representation of the Warner Chappell Music Hire Library.  As a result, we are only able to supply these outside North America.
Little opera in 2 acts. Narrator; Female singer; Male singer - Non-singing chorus (minimum 6 people) - fl - bandoneon - pno - elec gtr(=acoustic gtr) - perc: vib/xyl/t.bells/tom-t/large & small plates/tgl/gong/wdbl/TD/guiro - drums - 2 vln.vla.vlc.db
Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (full orchestra) - The Four Seasons in Buenos Aires (1964-70) 25'
2222 - 4441 - perc: bells.xyl - strings - 4000 - perc: t.bells/xyl - harp - pno - strings - 4.3.2.btrbn.1 - timp - perc(2):SD/lija (sandpaper)/BD/tam-t/cym/tamboriles (gde-med-chico)/xyl/glsp - 2 bandoneóns - pno - cel - harp - strings
1(=picc).1.1.bcl.1 -2210 - timp -perc(3): xyl/glsp/wdbl/tgl/susp.cym/guiro/SD/BD/large cym - harp - pno - strings
Fuga Y Misterio (1968) 4’
fl - bandoneon - pno - gtr - perc(2) - 2 vln.vla.vlc.db
Milonga del Angel (1962) 6’ - 4000 - perc: t.bells/xyl - harp - pno - strings
Sinfonietta (1953) 14'
1111 - 1000 - harp - pno - perc - strings
Tangazo (1968-9) 13’
2222 - 2000 - perc - pno - strings
pno - bandoneon - elec gtr - perc - 2vln.vla.vlc.db
Concierto de Nacar (1979) 15'
Solo instruments: 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, electric guitar, percussion, bandoneon, piano. Orchestra: 2(II=picc).2.2.2 - 2200 - cel/xyl - timp(=TD+BD) - strings (min 88643)
The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (piano and strings) (1964-70) 25’
pno - strings (min 66554)
The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires (violin and strings) (1964-70) 25’
solo violin - strings (min 66554)
solo oboe - strings (min 66554)
cl - strings (min 66554)
Coral Y Canyengue (1952) 6’
2 vln I.2 vln II.2 vla.2 vlc.2 db
Milonga En Re (1970) 4’
solo cello - strings
Muerte del Angel (1962) 3½’
pno - strings
Coral Y Canyengue (1952) 6’
2 vln I.2 vln II.2 vla.2 vlc.2 db
El Tango (1987) 6’
narrator - bandoneon - pno - elec gtr - vln.db
Milonga del Angel (1962) 6’
2 pno - elec gtr - 2 vln.vlc.db
2 pno - elec gtr - drums - 2 vln.vlc.db