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Skilful concert to salute Piazzolla century

Marcela Fiorillo performing. Photo: Peter Hislop

Music / Marcela Fiorillo, “Astor Piazzolla 100th Birthday Celebration”, Canberra Girls Grammar School Hall, July 30. Reviewed by GRAHAM McDONALD.

AS the title of the concert suggests, this year marks what would have been Astor Piazzolla’s 100th birthday.

Piazzolla achieved wide recognition for turning the tango from a dance music to an art form and the Argentine embassy sponsored pianist Marcela Fiorillo to create this concert of his music. Piazzolla primarily played the bandoneon, a large button accordion, the sound of which has become synonymous with his tango music and led many small ensembles to perform his music.

For this concert Marcela Fiorello transcribed or arranged a selection of Piazzolla’s works for solo piano, either presumably condensing the original scoring for a band, or expanding a solo bandoneon part.
Both approaches work well, though the arranged works at times can be a little busy in comparison to the transcribed pieces. Fiorillo’s playing through was solid with the necessary pulse of the tango ever present in her left hand.

Astor Piazzolla.

The program selection was an interesting variety of Piazzolla’s music built around a suite of four pieces written in the late 1960s for a quintet – “Las cuatro estaciones porteñas” – The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Piazzolla’s bands performed them as a suite only rarely, but together they form a most attractive group of works for piano.

The flamboyance of these works was a contrast to “Adios Nonino,” written a decade before as a memorial to Piazzolla’s father, with very pretty and reflective theme recurring throughout.

The CGGS hall is one of Canberra’s acoustic gems. It has a crystalline sparkle in the sound which makes it a delightful musical listening venue.

Being primarily a school hall it does lack a foyer, wings and a backstage, but the acoustic does make up for that, though Fiorillo’s tendency to ride the sustain pedal lead to some muddiness in the sound at times, but this was a concert of delightful music, skilfully played with passion and commitment.


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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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