PIAZZOLLA | Tango Nuevo

The tangos of legendary performer and composer Astor Piazzolla are informed by a multicultural upbringing which saw him introducing the influences of Classical, Jazz, Rock and Klezmer music into a unique Nuevo Tango style which still sounds fresh and modern today. Originally from Argentina, violinist Tomas Cotik’s performances and arrangements of Piazzolla in this recording are informed by both his national affinity for his countryman’s music, and considerable research at Freiburg University.


Tomas Cotik, violin • Tao Lin, piano

Besides Oblivion and Libertango, two of Piazzolla’s most popular and enduring pieces, renowned Argentinian violinist Tomas Cotik’s special arrangements also include Histoire du Tango, a summation of the genre’s entire evolution, as well as Melodia en la menor. and Le Grand Tango, a virtuoso show-stopper.

Watch a Behind-the-Scene Video of the Recording Sessions
Nuevo Tango – In the artist’s own words

I was born in Buenos Aires and spent my formative years there at a time when the traditional tango wasn’t fashionable. Some of my earliest memories recall hearing it played by bandoneon players busking on the subway stations, as background radio music while riding old-fashioned elevators, and channel-hopping on the family’s black-and-white TV.

Although the main focus of my career was always classical music, I remember packing one cassette of Carlos Gardel when, aged 18, I left home to live abroad. During those years spent in Germany, Canada and the United States, the music on that recording spurred within me a commitment to the music of my homeland, planting the first seeds of an interest to both play and research the music of Astor Piazzolla.

In Piazzolla’s music I hear all the aggression and madness, the honking chaos, drunken dizziness and sheer energy of the megalopolis of Buenos Aires. In his slow melodies I perceive smoky atmospheres and veiled feelings, vegetative states of mind and the wistfulness of nostalgic love, like an old person’s sorrowful reminiscences of a younger love, expressed in melodies sung inside the head, at other times sung out loud.

I made sporadic attempts to get this project off the ground during several return trips to Buenos Aires, but it was the twentieth anniversary of Piazzolla’s death in 2012 that motivated me to realise my dream. The goal was to authentically recreate the language of the nuevo tango in arrangements employing a variety of styles, from extremely simple to near-virtuosic, reviving the violence and sensuality of Piazzolla’s music by using the highest recording quality.

Tomas Cotik

About the Artists
Tomas Cotik
Photo: So-min Sang

The Argentinian violinist Tomas Cotik was the First Prize Winner of the 1997 National Broadcast Music Competition in Argentina and winner of the Government of Canada Award 2003–2005. He has collaborated extensively in chamber music with renowned musicians, including members of the Miami, Cleveland, Pro Arte, Bergonzi and Vogler String Quartets. He holds a doctoral degree and was educated in Canada, the United States, and Germany where he has undertaken research into Piazzolla’s music. He has worked closely with the Vermeer, Tokyo and Endellion String Quartets, as well as notable artists including Midori, Christian Tetzlaff, Nicolas and Ana Chumachenko, Heinz Holliger and Leon Fleischer.

Tao Lin
Photo: So-min Sang

Shanghai native and Florida resident Tao Lin has been a prize-winner at the Palm Beach International Invitational Competition, the International Piano e-Competition, the William Kapell International Piano Competition and the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. He has given recitals at the Kennedy Center, National Gallery, 92nd Street Y, Rockefeller University, Chautauqua Institute, Minnesota Orchestra Hall, Izumi Hall (Osaka, Japan) and Norway’s Edvard Grieg Museum. He has collaborated with the St Petersburg, Miami and Bergonzi Quartets, as well as distinguished colleagues Elmar Oliveira, Roberto Díaz and Eugenia Zukerman.

About the Artists
Binelli • Tianwa Yang • Nashville Symphony • Guerrero

Astor Piazzolla’s name has become synonymous with tango, the signature dance of his native country, Argentina. In the Sinfonía Buenos Aires, Piazzolla’s development of symphonic tango is notable for brilliant, original and often complex orchestration. His Bandoneón Concerto, nicknamed ‘Aconcagua’ after the highest Andean mountain, provides the soloist with ample opportunities for drama, pathos and virtuosity. Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas (The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires), a series of single tango movements with several references to Vivaldi’s famous work, is a vivid sequence in which the changing moods of the seasons are expressed by means of an almost limitless emotional range and depth.

Achilles Liarmakopoulos

Legendary tango performer and composer Astor Piazzolla gained experience of jazz in New York and classical form and technique through studies with Alberto Ginastera. His work lends itself perfectly to arrangement for all kinds of ensemble, and this is the first recording with solo trombone. These popular pieces showcase the stunning playing of multi-award winning soloist Achilles Liarmakopoulos in a variety of moods, including the famous Oblivion, and Le Grand Tango, a virtuoso show-stopper originally written for cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.

Tacchi • Quintetto di Ottoni e Percussioni della Toscana

Astor Piazzolla’s much-loved tangos have been arranged for all manner of instrumental line-ups, this album presenting an exuberant selection specially arranged for the acclaimed Tuscan Brass and Percussion Quintet whose members are professors of their instruments in leading Italian conservatories. The Quintet is joined by guest violinist Andrea Tacchi. The result is a thrilling new take on nuevo tango, passionate yet poised, sharp and shiny as a knife-blade. The centrepiece of this album, Piazzolla’s witty Four Seasons Suite takes Vivaldi’s famous violin concertos for a stroll through the docklands of Buenos Aires, the original home of tango itself.

Aquilles Delle-Vigne

Astor Piazzolla’s tangos, beloved around the world for their pathos, passion, longing and sensibility, are here given fresh interpretations in arrangements for piano by the Argentinean-born, Brussels-based pianist Aquiles Delle-Vigne. A disciple of Claudio Arrau and winner of the Grand Prix ‘Alberto Williams’, the most prestigious competition in South America, he has been hailed by Le Figaro as a ‘fantastic, incomparable pianist and artist’, while The New York Times characterized his playing as ‘aristocratic, sophisticated and charming’. Piazzolla’s earthy yet highly developed music gains a new dimension of intimacy but also of power in the hands of this master of the keyboard.

Versus Ensemble

The Argentinian bandoneon-player and composer Astor Piazzolla, by his creation of the ‘new tango’, brought the popular dance form into the concert hall. His own experience as a performer was further developed by study as a composer with Nadia Boulanger and Ginastera, allowing him to create a new synthesis, exemplified in compositions that include the operatic María de Buenos Aires, in collaboration with Horacio Ferrer.

Gaido • Toepper

This seductive sound and renewed interest in the Tango has brought the music of Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla into the world of the popular classics. His large catalogue of works is unique in using the Tango as the basis for all of his compositions, though he developed the art to the point where it is at times difficult to detect the dance in his complex and strictly classical music. Of his many works for chamber groups, the Histoire du Tango, scored for flute and guitar, is one of his most popular and frequently performed. In tracing the history of the Tango, Piazzolla illustrates how the sensuality of this ever-popular dance rose from shady beginnings to the respectability of the concert hall.

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