Le Grand Tango: The Life and Music of Astor Piazzolla
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (May 25, 2000)
Square-built and accordion-like, the bandoneon is a unique instrument, difficult to play yet adaptable to many musical styles. One of its most famous masters, the Argentine composer and tanguero Astor Piazzolla, is the subject of this fascinating biography. Painstakingly researched, with revealing quotes from Piazzolla's family, friends, teachers and colleagues, the book provides an intimate look at the musician's life. In 1921, Piazzolla was born in Mar del Plata to first-generation Argentines of Italian descent. He was an only child with doting parents; his transient childhood involved numerous moves between New York and Argentina and was marked by his penchant for practical jokes. Piazzolla had a natural knack for the bandoneon, which he began playing at eight years of age, and he appeared on stage for the first time when he was 11. Seven years later, his collaboration with An!bal Troilo's famous orquesta t!pica led to his rise as an emerging tango star, and he was soon writing unique, innovative arrangements that caused a furor in Buenos Aires. His studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris confirmed his love for the instrument, and throughout his travels he incorporated elements of traditional tango, classical music and jazz into his work. The authors concentrate on Piazzolla's relationships with his first wife, Ded? Wolff, and their children, following their breakup and his subsequent marriage to Laura Escalada. Although lacking in deep musical analysis, this captivating tribute excellently portrays the man behind such masterpieces as "Adios Nonino" and "Mari de Buenos Aires." 42 halftones. (Apr.)
Tango and the Political Economy of Passion (Institutional Structures of Feeling)
Publisher: Westview Press (January 1995)
What is tango? Dance, music, and lyrics of course, but also a philosophy, a strategy, a commodity, even a disease. This book explores the politics of tango, tracing tango's travels from the brothels of Buenos Aires to the cabarets of Paris and the shak dansu clubs of Tokyo. The author is an Argentinean political theorist and a dance professor at the University of California at Riverside. She uses her "tango tongue" to tell interwoven tales of sexuality, gender, race, class, and national identity. Along the way she unravels relations between machismo and colonialism, postmodernism and patriarchy, exoticism and commodification. In the end she arrives at a discourse on decolonization as intellectual "unlearning."