Concerto for Bandoneon, Piano and String Orchestra "Aconcagua"

The  Bandoneon and Orchestra Concerto “Aconcagua ” was composed at the end of 1979 commissioned by  Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires. The name “Aconcagua” was given by the publisher Aldo Pagani, who said: “This is the peak of Astor’s work, and the highest peak in South America is Aconcagua (on the border between Argentina and Chile, west of Buenos Aires). The work, which earned Piazzolla the nickname “Argentine Villa Lobos”, encompasses three milonga based parts, in the classic fast-slow-fast sequence. The soloist enters immediately with a fiercely focused tango, supported by harp and percussion and powerful chords in the strings. The average share of the first movement is sung, with two cadences leading to the “screamed” conclusion.

The lyrical second movement it begins with a solo bandoneon, which is eventually joined by a harp in an elegantly conceived duet. After the construction, leading to an exciting culmination, the part ends with a soft presentation of the main theme.

The third movement it has much in common with another of Piazzolla’s works, The Death of an Angel: the starting lines of the bass, rhythmically compensated, the soloist’s leaps and bounds. This finale is based on a very danceable, street tango, which Piazzolla uses for the first time in the music for the film “Con alma y vida”. “I didn’t know how to finish it,” says Piazzolla. “And then I said to myself, ‘I’m going to give them a tango so I can show the scholars that when I want, I can write like them, and if I want to, I can do it my way.’ Finally, Piazzolla adds a section called the Melancolico Final, a gentle, melodic tango that then spills over into a final rage that is almost pure rhythm.

The premiere of the work was on December 15th , 1979 with a soloist being the author himself. According to Tol Ilgen’s notes, the tango-like elements presented here – the melancholy alternation of major and minor, the extreme, divisive articulation, the expressive solo lines and the thoughtful rubato – all make the concerto one of Piazzolla’s most attractive compositions.

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