Programme Guide

The ensemble Bolero Berlin has been delighting audiences with concert programmes focusing on South American music since 2008. Martin Stegner, violist with the Berliner Philharmoniker, once explained the group’s goal: they want to “surprise listeners again and again – with familiar melodies in unfamiliar musical guises”.

In this concert, the ensemble embarks on a musical journey around the world in the footsteps of Astor Piazzolla. Although his works are considered the epitome of Argentine tango music, Piazzolla himself was a cosmopolitan who moved restlessly back and forth between Europe, and North and South America. He spent his childhood in New York, whose atmosphere and cultural scene had a strong influence on him.

The music of the USA is represented in this concert by the German exile Kurt Weill, and George Gershwin, who, like Piazzolla, incorporated elements of classical music and jazz into his own musical language. The Argentinian studied in Paris with the legendary teacher Nadia Boulanger, who encouraged him to return to his musical roots in the form of the tango. Among Boulanger’s most wonderful own works are the cello pieces performed here in excerpts and in a new arrangement, which, like music by Ravel and Bizet, evoke the sound of the city of Paris. And the fugue from the tango opera María de Buenos Aires shows how much Piazzolla learned from the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. The programme starts with the aria from Bach’s Goldberg Variations – entirely in keeping with the ensemble’s philosophy as a familiar melody that appears in a “new musical guise”, in an arrangement for wind, string, guitar and piano.

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