By Gaspar J. Astarita
n 1999 there will
be celebrated forty years of the creation of "Adiós
Nonino", Astor Piazzolla's
most representative work. Composed in 1959, moved by his father´s
death, it would become a classic. Its author, of a prolific oeuvre as
composer, has compositions more important and of higher value, but "Adiós
Nonino" is and will be, forever, a synonym of Piazzolla.
«Every composer, no matter how vast his production, always
has some work which, although not being the most perfected, is the one
which defines his style. In it, by an exact and harmonic conjunction
of certain values, the composer has externalized his sensitivity, has
disclosed his roots, evidencing his knowledge and developed his creative
capacity, achieving in that synthesis the identity of all his labor.
«Reasons of impact on popular liking, the acceptance and
the incitement which it provokes on the players that, when including
it in their repertories, create the essential channels to strive for
the necessary diffusion and make that that composition stays forever
in the ears and the emotion of wide audiences.
«Besides the technical and aesthetic values, the truth
is that through all that context, a specific work of composition ends
being, for its author, a kind of summary of his artistic personality».
And this concept which I have put in writing in my work about
Abel Fleury (GraFer, Chivilcoy, 1995), can be applied with accuracy
and conviction to the piece which best identifies Piazzolla
all over the world and in every level: "Adiós
His output as composer, profuse, meritorious and varied, inside
and outside tango, since he experienced in compositions made according
to other structures of European character, shows us works of great trascendence.
But I guess that "Adiós
Nonino" is and will be forever –I repeat- a synonym of
Piazzolla. Even when interpreted
by orchestras within a style more traditional, like the impeccable version
recorded by Leopoldo
Federico, or like the one we recently listened in Chivilcoy by the
chamber trio led by the cellist Diego Sánchez, especially arranged
by José Bragato.
was composed around 1959, when Astor was on a tour of Central America.
Then he had the news of the sudden death of his father, don Vicente
Piazzolla, who was called Nonino.
Just arrived from New York, returning from that tour, at a time
of deep sadness, of financial difficulties –due to his trip to
the North which had resulted a failure, as a failure also was his intent
to impose jazz-tango on the public-, now his father's death was added,
far away, in Argentina. Then he wrote "Adiós
The restrained weeping and the pain of a son, at such a distance,
was expressed in this sad and distressed passage. In these two phrases
of eight bars (four plus four), which are repeated forming a precious
section of sixteen bars, is the authentic sense and justification of
The artist, without tears, cried that night, but through his
art. And left for the history of Argentine music, one of his most beautiful
and everlasting pages.
And like a true classic,
a great number of recordings of it were made. Small groups, orchestras
composed by numerous musicians, and soloists too, have produced the
most varied versions of "Adiós
The first is by its composer with his quintet: Piazzolla
on bandoneon, Jaime Gosis on piano, Quicho Díaz on double bass,
Horacio Malvicino on electric guitar and Simón Bajour on violin,
a group which recorded it for the Antar-Telefunken label (Montevideo),
in the year 1960. And that melodic, touching passage of the composition,
almost usually assigned to the strings –which are those most suited
to express it-, was in charge of the remarkable interpretation of Simón
Bajour, one of the best violinists in tango history. The sweetness of
his sound, the finesse of his interpretation and his extraordinary sensitivity
knew how to understand and express the message of pain that the author
left implied on that theme, in an admirable way.
I think that that passage was never surpassed. Francini,
Baralis, Vardaro, Suárez
Paz, Nichelle, Mauricio Marcelli and many others have left beautiful
recordings of that part. But –in my point of view, which surely
will be objetionable-, I keep on saying that Bajour´s bow, at
least on that recording, is above them all.
This commentary does not pretend either to underestimate Piazzolla's irreproachable bandoneonistic display paraphrasing the same passage, or the pianistic labor by Jaime Gosis, but I stick to my concept and my ear: that of Simón Bajour is unbeatable.
Published in Tango and Lunfardo # 148, Year XVII, Chivilcoy,
January 16, 1999.