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Astor Piazzolla in Portrait (2010)

Mike Dibb  |  NR |  DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Directors: Mike Dibb
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 213 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007ACVPU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,898 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This DVD charts the events of Piazolla's turbulent, complicated personal and professional life through candid and revealing interviews with Piazolla himself, his family, friends, and the great Argentinian musicians who performed with him. This extended D

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Essence of the Man December 10, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Unfortunately, most of us did not get to see Astor Piazzolla perform when he was alive. Now, thanks to the BBC, at least one of his live performances has been preserved for posterity. Astor Piazzolla In Portrait is a mixture of music, biography, and interviews of people germane to his story. It is an extremely important work for those who love the music of Astor Piazzolla in that it captures the essence of the man. It is important as well for those who are undecided about him, because after you see and hear this, you will be a fan forever.

I went straight to the music. The set is rather short yet is extremely powerful. Piazzolla offers commentary on his music between each song, giving the listener greater understanding of what Piazzolla is about. The songlist tilts heavily toward his modern material, and though I would have liked to hear some other songs as well, I am grateful that this DVD exists at all!

Highlights are an exquisite rendering of Milonga Del Angel, Zero Hour, and what is perhaps his best-known piece, Adios Nonino. The bonus feature of a rehearsal take of Milonga del Angel with James Crabb on accordion and Joanna MacGregor on piano is beautifully done as well and is about as true to Piazzolla as one can get on an accordion.

After the music, check out the hour and forty-five minute Tango Maestro which is a biography of Piazzolla interspersed with short interviews of musicians who featured prominently in Piazzolla's life. If that isn't enough, there is nearly another hour of additional interviews with family and some of the musicians Piazzolla worked with during his final decade. This is not boring stuff by any means, all these features bring Piazzolla vividly to life.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and insightful February 27, 2006
If only every composer throughout history had such an insightful treatment on DVD! Here we have somewhere around three hours of biography, interviews, live performances, and archive footage, some of it impossible to find elsewhere (I'm trying desperately to find the "El exilio de Gardel" film!). Even at such length, I wished for more, and found myself re-watching.

The biography portion of the disc doesn't gloss anything over; the comments from his family and bandmembers reveal the bad as much as the good. Among other things, we learn about his temper with his bandmates and what he said to his children when he parted with their mother. In the additional footage, I especially enjoyed demonstrations of rhythm and performance techniques by Fernando Suarez Paz and Pablo Ziegler.

Some of footage leaves room for improvement. For example, Yo-Yo Ma was interviewed in a dressing room, without respect for proper lighting and acoustics--obviously a very minor complaint, but it's no wonder his footage was left out of the television edit.

I agree with other reviewers who have said that this is a must-see for anyone who is even remotely a fan of Piazzolla's music.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bio of Astor Piazzolla May 9, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
One of the most enjoyable time spent if front of the TV. This brilliant portrait of the great composer and performer inhabited my thoughts for days after viewing the DVD.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent February 6, 2007
By Eduardo
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Marvelous English documentary about Piazzolla. Perhaps lacks a bit of Argentinean taste and background, but it's a 9.5 over 10.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Splendid Document and an Intense Performance September 8, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
There are two programs here - a biographical portrait including interviews and rare concert footage as well as a complete concert by the 1989 Sextet which is one of the few recorded documents of the last (tragically short) phase of Piazzolla's career. The music is extremely dark, passionate and intense.

There is some studio work by the Sextet (including new pieces not found elsewhere) on the various versions of 57 Minutos con la Realidad which is also highly recommended. That album also includes recordings of portions of the BBC concert documented here.

There are other live recordings of this group: The Lausanne Concert, Luna, Astor Piazzolla & The New Tango Sextet: Live at the BBC 1989 (the audio of the concert presented here), and Tres Minutos con la Realidad
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