Piazzolla: Patagonia Express Trio

100 years of Astor Piazzolla! To mark the birthday of the Argentinian tango legend, brothers Claudio and Oscar Bohórquez are releasing an album together with Piazzolla’s contemporary and ensemble colleague Gustavo Beytelmann – Piazzolla: Patagonia Express on the Berlin Classics label. The trio sets about playing part of Piazzolla’s legacy alongside repertoire composed by Beytelmann, leading the listener on a journey to the impassioned and mysterious world of the tango.

Boisterous, powerful and unique: Piazzolla’s music is highly versatile, deeply rooted in the tango tradition and yet always driven by curiosity and the search for modernity. His works are complex and demanding, and he reflects more than any other composer of his time the special musical language of that era. It is not possible to categorise his oeuvre as classical or popular music. Jazz and Brazilian music influences blend with folklore from the 1950s and 60s; tango is aligned with Bachian counterpoint, rhythm converges with profusely lyrical passages.

The diversity of Piazzolla’s style comes out on this album too. In addition to his traditional pieces like Le Grand Tango works such as Milonga del ángel and Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas can be heard. It is interesting to note that the “four seasons” were originally not conceived as a suite, but composed at different times and in various contexts. Piazzolla himself never performed them as one entity.

The motive for embarking on this album project was the encounter of Claudio and Oscar Bohórquez with Gustavo Beytelmann. “His rustic Argentinian manner, his musical and personal flights of fancy, plus the experience of having shared the stage with Astor Piazzolla so many times … all of that gave the decisive impetus to record this album,” the brothers explain.

Beytelmann, who went on tour with Piazzolla and who enjoyed a deep and lasting friendship with the composer, has dedicated the pieces Balada and Tango to the brothers in a duo setting. Piazzolla’s musical language comes through here, while Beytelmann’s piano trio arrangement of Duke Ellington’s Caravan is reminiscent of New York, where Piazzolla spent his childhood and youth.

Beytelmann composed his piano trio Ofrenda in 1992, on learning of Piazzolla’s death. It is an act of homage that – like this entire album – is meant to express deep admiration and reverence for this indefatigable and unbridled tango legend.