« For me, tango has always been for the ears rather than the feet… »
The year 2021 marks the centenary of the birth of a composer who is both unclassifiable and highly identifiable, a symbol of his native Argentina but also of the French school of composition in the 20th century, and the author of a music nourished by transgressions and improbable combinations: Astor Piazzolla.
Astor Piazzolla was born in Mar del Plata in 1921. He discovered the bandoneon at a very young age and quickly became one of its greatest virtuosos. Although he quickly made a name for himself by getting his fellow Argentines to dance in the countless milongas of Buenos Aires, his immense talent could not be satisfied for long with this destiny as a “ballroom musician”. Although he was very successful in Argentina, he chose to fly to Paris and enrol in composition classes with the greatest teacher of the time: Nadia Boulanger. She trained him in classical composition but also convinced him not to renounce his instrument and his popular culture. She advised him to write new music for the bandoneon, to put his knowledge as a composer of learned music at the service of the renewal of this profoundly popular repertoire that is the Tango: the Nuevo Tango was born. Piazzolla reinvented this repertoire and became one of the most widely played 20th century composers in the world.
While Astor changed the course of bandoneon history, he also had a profound influence on the future of his “cousin”, the accordion, which is so popular in France. The accordion, nicknamed the “piano à bretelles”, was not the king of milongas but of the bal musette in France. He is famous and popular, but it still seems inconceivable to make room for him in the world of classical music: Piazzolla will change everything. His work will influence the new generations of accordionists and reshuffle the cards of the future of the accordion.
Aware of this history and this immense heritage, Félicien Brut could not let this anniversary year pass without paying tribute to the great Piazzolla. He therefore initiated the formation of a quintet, one of Astor’s favourite groups, by gathering around him four friends and wonderful musicians of his generation, Thomas Enhco, Thibaut Garcia, Édouard Macarez and Jordan Victoria. Together, they offer a programme that naturally gives pride of place to Piazzolla’s compositions for quintet, from the Four Seasons of the Port of Buenos Aires to Escualo, via the Angel Suite. But to pay tribute to a musician who wrote so much, these five friends also wanted to give a place to creation in their programme. Thomas Enhco, who is not only an exceptional musician but also a talented composer, has agreed to write especially for this group, which is quite unusual in the classical world. The premiere of his piece Vol de Nuit for quintet will take place on 21 July 2021, at the Berlioz Opera in Montpellier, as part of the Radio France Montpellier Occitanie Festival.