Sunday, 28 October 2007

Autumn Songs (1st Mov 'Andante', 2nd Mov 'Lento', 3rd Mov 'Andante' 4th Mov 'Lento'

As this unique palette of red, yellow and orange falls upon us and the sun dyes its hair a camp auburn, the music that mostly calls to me now is tango. A good old milonga from Uruguay or Argentina that carries with it the echoes of its Bantu ancestry. The term milonga comes from this African language and it translates as 'lyrics'. But words are not needed where music reigns supreme and this is the case with the first clip.

Astor Piazzolla was the indisputed 'King of the bandoneon' in Argentine, his birthplace. He transformed 'tango', incorporating elements from jazz and classical music. And it's because of his importance as a musician, composer and bandleader that I would like to open this week's Autumn Songs session with a clip of him playing one of his most famous pieces, 'Libertango'.

My second clip comes all the way from Portugal. Because we already have tango (see above), bolero and bossa nova in Latin America, it took me longer to understand and appreciate 'fado', that musical lament from that Iberian country that best conveys the word 'saudade; the one term I've asked countless Brazilians and Portuguese alike to translate to me into Spanish and/or English and which every single one of them have failed to do. And when you listen to 'fado' you understand why. So, no more explanations. Here's one of the better ambassadors of 'fado' nowadays.

Next up is a band that defies conventions. Those who want to package them up into a little chill-out bundle will have problems doing so as their latest album shows. This clip is from their first record and it always reminds me of the place we go to in Spain every year, up in the mountains near Granada. It brings back memories of early chilly October mornings watching my children playing with the two local cats whilst my wife and I have our breakfast in the front garden. Pomegranates drop to the ground and their splash creates a whole rainbow of reddish hues, incapable of being re-created by hand, expert painter notwithstanding.

Lastly, where would autumn be without a piano? Just like Astor's bandoneon, the piano is autumn's instrument par excellence. Little did Chopin know that when he wrote his Etude in E Op 10 'Tristesse' it would become the schmaltzy karaoke hit 'So Deep is the Night' belted out by drunkards in places like Blackpool. But here on this blog we like quality and therefore I have a lovely performance of this timeless autumn number for you my fellow readers/bloggers/posters.
And this is all for today. I hope you enjoyed this week's selection.
Copyright 2007

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