Lucienne Renaudin Vary ‘Piazzolla Stories’

Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo

Release date: 26 February

French trumpeter Lucienne Renaudin Vary takes us on a musical trip to with Piazzolla Stories as she heads south, crossing the equator to reach Argentina and its capital Buenos Aires, the home of tango. The album focuses on composer Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992) but also features works by a variety of composers who have some kind of personal and/or musical link with Piazzolla: the French-born Argentine ‘King of Tango’ Carlos Gardel; the Argentine modernist Alberto GinasteraJohann Sebastian Bach; the virtuoso violinist Niccolò Paganini, and the Frenchwoman Nadia Boulanger, celebrated above all as a teacher of musicians as diverse as Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Quincy Jones, Philip Glass, Burt Bacharach … and Astor Piazzolla.

Piazzolla Stories was recorded in an idyllic setting in Monaco in September 2020 –  just after the first COVID lockdown. Lucienne says “Musical life was just getting going again and we all felt a special energy and shared a special joy as we made the album. The members of the orchestra were playing together for the first time in months. A recording always involves lots of focused work, but the atmosphere was very collaborative and supportive.”

Lucienne was first inspired to start thinking about this album when she visited Buenos Aires in 2017 while on tour with the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and Tugan Sokhiev. “I remember playing in the legendary Teatro Colón, a magnificent opera house with a fabulous acoustic, Piazzolla wasn’t on the programme, but, strangely, I was humming his music all the time I was in Buenos Aires … I would love to go back and play there again.

“Piazzolla’s music is very multi-faceted,” she explains. “Throughout his life he composed very varied music for different kinds of ensembles. Obviously, the tango is an element in many of his compositions. His music can be very lively and full of the spirit of the dance, but it can also be very melancholy, even heart-breaking. I love those moments on the album … But what I really associate with Piazzolla’s music is movement and dance. When you play music, you’re dancing too!”

“All the tracks on the album have been superbly arranged for trumpet and ensemble by Jérôme Ducros. I think that Piazzolla’s music works well on a trumpet, because their lines are very melodic and singing. Trumpet players and singers breathe in the same way, and the trumpet is my voice. I chose to include Bach on the album because in some sense he was Piazzolla’s mentor – and undeniably a source of inspiration for him, He studied Bach’s music with great care and I can feel that in his compositions, especially Chin Chin, which is the opening track on the album. As for Paganini. I included him because he and Piazzolla share some of the same spirit – they can both explode like fireworks!”