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Guillermo Soteldo

Astor Piazzolla: Contrabajísimo (Contrabajissimo) 1984 for string quintet

Astor Piazzolla: Contrabajísimo (Contrabajissimo) 1984 for string quintet

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The Story

In 1979 Piazzolla had a twice meeting: He came back to Buenos Aires and to his Quintet when in the 70s he dissolved all of his musical groups. In the 80’s he recorded a few long plays (LPs) with his quintet, but he made many concerts in South America, Europe, Japan, United States; all of them were recorded, a few were edited at the exact moment, and others were posthumous.

Astor Piazzolla kept a challenging relationship with the record labels, all starting at the moment when RCA Victor made a requirement, one LP with classical tangos that Piazzolla called ¿Piazzolla o no? Bailable y apiazolado, as a condition to recording another LP with his Works that he called Piazzolla interpreta a Piazzolla, for that reason we could say, Astor Piazzolla never had the producers he deserved.

In those concerts the works to play, turned around the Piazzolla four seasons, Serie del Ángel, Tristezas de un Doble A, Libertango, Adiós Nonino, Escualo, Mumuki, Chin chin and other pieces. According to this, the most important recorded concerts are:

1982 Piazzolla - Goyeneche (The Polish) en Vivo / Teatro Regina
1983 ‘Live in Wien'
1984 Live at the Montreal Jazz Festival
1984 Live at the Bouffes du Nord (Piazzolla & Milva in Paris)
1987 The Central Park Concert

About the Ensemble

The group of musicians who played with Piazzolla were:

Astor Piazzolla (banoneón, arreglista y director)
Fernando Suárez Paz (violín)
Pablo Ziegler (piano)
Oscar López Ruiz / Horacio Malvicino (guitarra eléctrica)
Héctor Console (contrabajo)

And as expected, Astor Piazzolla composed for his new double bass player Hector Console the piece ‘Contrabajísimo’ in the same manner as Kicho Díaz in ‘Contrabajeando’ and ‘Kicho’.

About the Composition

This work appeared on one of the LPs in 1986 but in the posthumous double CD published in 1997 by the label Milan Record, was recorded in February 1984 at the concert in the Theatre Roxy, Mar del Plata, Argentina, and it is the oldest record that ever has from Contrabajísimo. So we could assume that Contrabajísimo was composed between 1983 and in January-February 1984 because there is no other older record for this work.

This work in its beginning starts with a cadence for the double bass accompanied by the guitar, this cadence is a little bit longer and Hector Console never played entirely and made a resume cadence, adding some notes from him. In this edition for String Quintet, you will find both cadences, the original edition from Piazzolla and the short version from Console. 

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