Video Archives

Insights: Piazzolla – Concert d’Aujourd’hui (arr. Pashley)

Our clarinettist, Oli, discusses the Piazzolla:

The last movement of Histoire du Tango appealed to me for a couple of reasons: firstly, this movement is a real fusion of old and new, traditional tango rhythms rubbing shoulders with contemporary harmonies; secondly, the original instrumentation of flute and guitar – melody plus rhythmic accompaniment – provided an ideal point of departure, to explore how every instrument – especially the harp and bass, the two more ‘accompanimental’ instruments of our Experiment – can dip in and out of both roles. I began the arrangement with what you might expect: Marianne hammering out the tango bass line with Anne providing the ‘quasi guitarra’ accompaniment (plucking the strings close to the soundboard for an extra percussive effect). Another sound I was exploring throughout was the combination of Héloïse’s voice with the clarinet: at points they sing together in hybrid ‘sopraninet’ unison; at other times they diverge, sometimes taking the spotlight, sometimes merely commenting on or responding to the other’s actions.

The rehearsal process of the Piazzolla was largely similar to our collaborative approach with composers’ new works. We were constantly revising, changing, modifying things; the score I took to the first rehearsal was by no means the finished product. This gradual process of exploration meant that by the end of it, what we had was not just an arrangement of mine, but a piece that the group had real ownership of, and could consequently have real fun performing…