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Astor Piazzolla - In Portrait [DVD] [2010]

Astor Piazzolla    Exempt   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Astor Piazzolla - In Portrait [DVD] [2010] + Astor Piazzolla: The Next Tango [DVD] [2007]
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Product details

  • Actors: Astor Piazzolla
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, Full Screen, PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: 2 May 2005
  • Run Time: 213 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007ACVPU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 109,795 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


This portrait of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla - pioneer of the 'new tango' - looks at his turbulent and complicated personal and professional life through candid interviews with the man himself as well as family, friends and the musicians who performed with him. It also includes tributes from contemporary musicians who have been drawn to his music, including Daniel Barneboim, Yo-Yo Ma, Gary Burton, Joanna MacGregor, James Crabb and Richard Galliano, interspersed with sequences from Fernando Solanas's films 'El Exilio de Gardel' and 'Sur', for which Piazzolla wrote the music.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid documentary on the tango killer 22 May 2005
This DVD contains an extended (106 minute) version of Mike Dibb's biographical documentary "Tango Maestro" about Astor Piazzolla that was recently broadcast. It features a string of insightful interviews with important people from his personal and/or musical life, including his children, his second wife Laura, lover and singer Amelita Baltar, French accordeonist Richard Galliano, vibe man Gary Burton, several sidemen from Piazzolla's ensembles and many more. Strange to say, the maestro himself delivers his lines in the goodfellows English that he learnt in New York's Little Italy in the twenties and thirties. The film does a good job of outlining Piazzolla's musical development and career and is graced by some pretty rare footage. This includes a fragment from the film in which the little Astor appeared alongside Carlos Gardel and several televised concert performances, including one with Amelita Baltar singing their smash hit "Balada para un loco."
Personally I missed Kip Hanrahan, the producer of Piazzolla's great late studio recordings, and Italian singer Milva, with whom Piazzolla wowed Europe in the eighties. Also I didn't find the "next generation" towards the end of the film terribly interesting, but those are minor quibbles. On the whole the film manages a fine balance between biography and musical insights.
A massive 54 minutes of worthwhile interview fragments that didn't make it to the film are included as a bonus, as is Piazzolla's last filmed performance with his sextet, in the Bristol BBC Studios in 1989. While this has long been available on audio CD, it's great to see the music being made. Another bonus is a recent performance - sans Piazzolla - of Milonga del Angel.
All in all there is some three hours of fascinating material on this one DVD. A great package for any tango nuevo fan.
If your appetite is whetted, I suggest you pick up the excellent Piazzolla biography by Maria Susana Azzi and Simon Collier.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must have! 6 July 2014
By Nana
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Very very nice DVD.If you will know about Piazzolla and his music,you must have this DVD.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Essence of the Man 10 Dec 2005
By Kurt Harding - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Unfortunately, most of us did not get to see Astor Piazzolla perform when he was alive. Now, thanks to the BBC, at least one of his live performances has been preserved for posterity. Astor Piazzolla In Portrait is a mixture of music, biography, and interviews of people germane to his story. It is an extremely important work for those who love the music of Astor Piazzolla in that it captures the essence of the man. It is important as well for those who are undecided about him, because after you see and hear this, you will be a fan forever.

I went straight to the music. The set is rather short yet is extremely powerful. Piazzolla offers commentary on his music between each song, giving the listener greater understanding of what Piazzolla is about. The songlist tilts heavily toward his modern material, and though I would have liked to hear some other songs as well, I am grateful that this DVD exists at all!

Highlights are an exquisite rendering of Milonga Del Angel, Zero Hour, and what is perhaps his best-known piece, Adios Nonino. The bonus feature of a rehearsal take of Milonga del Angel with James Crabb on accordion and Joanna MacGregor on piano is beautifully done as well and is about as true to Piazzolla as one can get on an accordion.

After the music, check out the hour and forty-five minute Tango Maestro which is a biography of Piazzolla interspersed with short interviews of musicians who featured prominently in Piazzolla's life. If that isn't enough, there is nearly another hour of additional interviews with family and some of the musicians Piazzolla worked with during his final decade. This is not boring stuff by any means, all these features bring Piazzolla vividly to life. And if you come away without a greater understanding of the man and his music, its time to watch and listen again!

If you are interested in Piazzolla on any level, I highly recommend this DVD. It is one you will want to watch time and again, and one you will cherish for life. With the DVD comes an informative booklet in English, French and Spanish. Get Astor Piazzolla In Portrait while its available, you won't regret it!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and insightful 27 Feb 2006
By Ben Brouwer - Published on
If only every composer throughout history had such an insightful treatment on DVD! Here we have somewhere around three hours of biography, interviews, live performances, and archive footage, some of it impossible to find elsewhere (I'm trying desperately to find the "El exilio de Gardel" film!). Even at such length, I wished for more, and found myself re-watching.

The biography portion of the disc doesn't gloss anything over; the comments from his family and bandmembers reveal the bad as much as the good. Among other things, we learn about his temper with his bandmates and what he said to his children when he parted with their mother. In the additional footage, I especially enjoyed demonstrations of rhythm and performance techniques by Fernando Suarez Paz and Pablo Ziegler.

Some of footage leaves room for improvement. For example, Yo-Yo Ma was interviewed in a dressing room, without respect for proper lighting and acoustics--obviously a very minor complaint, but it's no wonder his footage was left out of the television edit.

I agree with other reviewers who have said that this is a must-see for anyone who is even remotely a fan of Piazzolla's music.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bio of Astor Piazzolla 9 May 2007
By Leonard G. Cohn - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
One of the most enjoyable time spent if front of the TV. This brilliant portrait of the great composer and performer inhabited my thoughts for days after viewing the DVD.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 6 Feb 2007
By Eduardo - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Marvelous English documentary about Piazzolla. Perhaps lacks a bit of Argentinean taste and background, but it's a 9.5 over 10.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Splendid Document and an Intense Performance 9 Sep 2012
By Thelonious - Published on
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There are two programs here - a biographical portrait including interviews and rare concert footage as well as a complete concert by the 1989 Sextet which is one of the few recorded documents of the last (tragically short) phase of Piazzolla's career. The music is extremely dark, passionate and intense.

There is some studio work by the Sextet (including new pieces not found elsewhere) on the various versions of 57 Minutos con la Realidad which is also highly recommended. That album also includes recordings of portions of the BBC concert documented here.

There are other live recordings of this group: The Lausanne Concert, Luna, Astor Piazzolla & The New Tango Sextet: Live at the BBC 1989 (the audio of the concert presented here), and Tres Minutos con la Realidad
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