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Astor Piazzolla - In Portrait [DVD] 
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Exploring Piazzolla's vibrant musical influence around the world, this DVD charts the events of his turbulent, complicated personal and professional life through candid and revealing interviews with Piazzolla himself, his family, friends and the great Argentinian musicians who performed with him.
This extended DVD version of Mike Dibb's new film Tango Maestro includes rare and wonderful archive sequences spanning 30 years of filmed performances by Piazzolla's own groups with contributions from other virtuoso performers drawn to his music, including Daniel Barenboim, Yo-Yo Ma, jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton, the Kronos Quartet, The Gotan Project, the Tango Pasión dance company, and Astor's close friend Richard Galliano.
Works: Piazzolla: Milonga del ángel; Adiós Nonino; Buenos Aires hora cero; Tanguedia; Mumuki
"...these two well-produced films (accompanied by additional unedited interviews) flesh out the hidden depths of a very human composer, who was much more than the music he wrote but whose music came to be so much more than the man." (Gramophone)
"If you know only the music, you will be in for a shock from this absorbing compendium. The shock is twofold: that the vigorous, striking figure seen playing bandoneon in his final recorded studio concert should shortly be felled by a stroke, and that the creator of that searching, emotionally generous – all right, sometimes contrived and depressing – music left a legacy of intense personal exasperation. Such it ever was, perhaps, with driven artists." (BBC Music Magazine)
CastDaniel Barenboim (Piano)Yo-Yo Ma (Cello)Gary Burton (Vibes)
Kronos Quartet; The Gotan Project; Tango PasiónStage Director: Mike Dibb
Catalogue Number: OA0905DRunning Time: 213 minutesSound: Dolby StereoAspect Ratio: 4:3/16:9 AnamorphicSubtitles: EN, FR, DE, ES, ITLabel: Opus Arte
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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.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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
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!