Solitude in corona times, Soledad – Piazzolla

Published by Paul on

It was quite obvious to me my new blog would have a relation with the corona crisis we’re experiencing. A blog not build on an “interesting” musical subject or piece of music but a reflection of these times of crisis. Unusual times, an unusual blog.

This one piece of music kept popping up in my mind the past few days: Soledad, a composition by Astor Piazzolla. A Milonga, the predecessor of the Tango, with an overall dark tone depicting solitude and loneliness.

And that’s what’s happening currently, especially with the elderly and the vulnerable. We tell them to isolate themselves and refrain from physical social interaction. In order not to get infected with the virus, they live in solitude. A necessary yet painful and sad situation.

Soledad was written for Piazzolla’s famous Quinteto Tango Nuevo.
I recorded this piano solo version some years ago. In my playing I tried to make the quintet-sound audible: almost like polyphonic playing. Not in the “Bachian” way of the word but the other voices apart from the melody are often quite active and not merely accompaniment.
Listen here:

When preparing this blog I asked myself: does Piazzolla fit in the Bechstein tapes project, a blog dedicated to classical piano music?
What style does Piazzolla’s music belong to? Jazz? Classical? World music? He grew up with the old Argentine tango, studied classical composition ( i.a with Nadia Boulanger in Paris) and was definitely influenced by jazz…..

Yo-Y o Ma said in a documentary on Piazzolla: “what I love about the music is that he is claimed by everybody to be one of theirs” , watch this fragment:

With a background of playing both classical and jazz music for me playing Piazzolla feels like both my musical selves are being used at the same time, which is quite an extraordinary experience.
It’s not jazz decorated with a touch of the classical sound. Nor classical music with a bit of jazz put in. Together with the rhythmic elements of the tango, both are deep into his style of composing.
And then there’s that shade of darkness….

When pursuing this question of style further we inevitably would have to define very precise what is classical, what is jazz and what is world music”. Which is quite an exhausting if not impossible task.
Let’s just call Piazzolla’s music…… Piazzolla’s music 😉 .
And experience that “psychological and emotional depth”.

I sincerely hope that by the time my next blog is published the corona crisis will be over and you and your beloved ones are healthy and well.
Take care.

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2 years ago

Dear Paul, I want to start of with thanking you for – to my taste – the most beautiful Bechstein tape untill now. Well done ! Is Piazzolla (double Z and double L; good scrabble word 😉 music classic? maybe not, but what is “classic” in 2020? in times of Corona? There is no single, definitive answer – just opinions I think. Does P’s music fit in this blog? For me there is no doubt: yes. Sure, it is not an original piano piece – but it is a real interesting piece and original piece of music played on a… Read more »

Arjen Bezemer
2 years ago

Thanks Paul, excellent choice for the current situation.

Erik & Marie Joze
2 years ago


Clemens Hoffman Netherlands
2 years ago

A beautiful piece of music and played very well…!

2 years ago

Mooi gespeeld Paul!
Well played Paul!

2 years ago

Wow! Fantastic. One of my favorite composer.. to me is jazz en classic together with Some space to personal interpretation

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