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Astor Piazzolla: A Memoir Paperback – March 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In 1990, Buenos Aires-based journalist Gorin interviewed his friend Astor Piazzolla over the course of three days, just months before the famous Argentine bandoneon player and composer of tangos was stricken by a debilitating stroke. This book is the edited transcription of those sessions (including helpful annotations from the translator), with additional material from letters written by Piazzolla and reminiscences of some of his associates and fellow musicians. While he holds forth, the cosmopolitan Piazzolla, raised in New York and schooled partly in Paris with Nadia Boulanger, comes across as egoist, imp, and impassioned musician. Ever the performer, he boasts, confesses, pays homage to, and bitterly complains about people in turn. Gorin's chapter summarizing Piazzolla's life and significance as well as the commentaries of others are dry in contrast. Recommended as a supplement for libraries already owning Maria Susana Azzi and Simon Collier's Le Grand Tango: The Life and Music of Astor Piazzolla (LJ 4/1/00). (Index not seen.) Bonnie Jo Dopp, Univ. of Maryland Libs., College Park
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Excellent notes and annotations by translator Fernando Gonzalez make this the definitive volume of this still-underrated 20th century giant. -- Stephanie von Buchau, Bay Area Reporter , December 20, 2001

His informal and honest voice dominates this book, as it should. Nothing feels prettified or varnished here. -- Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare

Reading this book feels like the privilege of being in the same room as Piazzolla and Gorin. -- Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Amadeus Press; annotated edition edition (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574670670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574670677
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,307,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Kurt Harding VINE VOICE on March 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read the Piazzolla biography Le Grand Tango and came away with a great deal of knowledge about Astor Piazzolla and his music. But it was not until I read Astor Piazzolla: A Memoir that I felt that I came to understand Piazzolla.
I like this format. Natalio Gorin's interviews with El Troesma are not the chronological, blow by blow account of Piazzolla's life I expected. Gorin asks some questions, but in a series of interviews generally allows Piazzolla to warm to whatever topic develops and then expand on it as the spirit moves him. He only prompts Piazzolla at times when he wants to steer the conversation in a particular direction, such as Piazzolla's politics or his love life.
This is really a tremendous work. One can feel Piazzolla's struggles as he describes his many clashes with the tango establishment and his constant fight to make a place for himself in Argentine and world music. Particularly interesting is the chapter in which he talks about numerous well-known musicians and those who influenced him, and those for whom he felt contempt. Particularly poignant is his relationship with the great bandoneonist Anibal Troilo who would often criticize Piazzolla's work, but at the same time express great affection and admiration for him.
I am amazed at the passions of his audiences whenever he would introduce new elements into his work. That people would actually riot and threaten a musician with death boggles the mind, but I am sure that reactions like that only more firmly convinced Piazzolla of the rightness of his course. Piazzolla was a fighter and he answered his critics not only with his fists, but with one musical masterpiece after another.
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Format: Hardcover
Superbly translated, annotated, and expanded by Fernando Gonzalez (who as a music critic for The Miami Herald and The Boston Globe reported extensively on Astor Piazzolla's career), Astor Piazzolla: A Memoir by journalist Natalio Gorin (Astor Piazzola's friend from their first meeting in 1971 until Piazzolla's death in 1992) is an unforgettable remembrance of the brilliant tango musician and composer Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992), whose work was so unique that he even dared to create some tangos that were not for dancing. Astor Piazzolla offers the reader a fascinating glimpse into a musical genius' life, times, and inspirations and is brilliantly presented biography as well as being an impressive contribution to Music History studies.
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Format: Paperback
Recently I broke out some Astor Piazzolla to listen to again which spurred me on to get this excellent book. I couldn't have been happier listening to the indescribeable classical-jazz-tango music of the Maestro Piazzolla and gaining insights into the music via the book. The style of writting is fitting for a memioir, organized in a somewhat chaotic manner, reflective of the cadence changes in the music, the book jumps around with reflections and recollections of the mans life in no particular order. The parts I found most interesting were the actual conversations with Senor Piazzolla himself where it was obviously conducted like an interview. The author, Natalio Gorin,used a tape recorder to capture the essence of the man behind the music. His thoughts on his creativity and resulting music reveal what is known, that he was a genius, but at the same time reveals the passion that drove him to such extraordinary achievements.This is a tremendous document and testament to one of the great musical figures of the twentieth century whose music will live on beside the great composers of previous centuries. Learning about the struggles of the man, his ability to rise above makes his music make even more sense. The fact that most of the book is Maestro Piazzolla speaking about his life keeps the reader totally engaged. I suggest listening to his music Tango: Zero Hour while reading for further enhancement. "Libertango," "Adios Nonino" and other signature songs will sound even better when you know the story behind the music and more about the man.Read more ›
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