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<<  -- 2 --  David Wilkins    INEXPLICABLE PASSION

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Tango Maestro is, basically, a chronologically linear account of the life. Written, directed and narrated by Mike Dibb -- it's a clear labour of love. We get all the necessary history interspersed with archive film and interviews. There is a slight, perhaps unavoidable, sense of the travelogue about some of it. Hand-held cameras in cars cruising the suburbs of Buenos Aires or wherever in search of another long-relinquished residence had me flailing for a justification.

Daniel Barenboim talks about Astor Piazzolla in 'Tango Maestro'. © 2004 BBC Worldwide Ltd
Daniel Barenboim talks about Astor Piazzolla in 'Tango Maestro'. © 2004 BBC Worldwide Ltd

You certainly get to know, however, that you are in good company as a Piazzolla fan. Daniel Barenboim (described on the film as a 'fellow-Porteno' though, in fact, Piazzolla was not actually born in Buenos Aires) praises the fact that Astor 'stopped the tango just becoming a relic of the past.' Joanna MacGregor speaks of the 'emotional depth and darkness at the heart of his music.' And Yo-Yo Ma seems to get it spot on when he describes how his music 'gets under your skin -- it's claimed by everybody and it's just music that you know you want to play!'

Daniel Piazzolla talks about his father in 'Tango Maestro'. © 2004 BBC Worldwide Ltd
Daniel Piazzolla talks about his father in 'Tango Maestro'. © 2004 BBC Worldwide Ltd

The two children -- Daniel and Diana -- are such amazingly likeable people. They ooze their love for their Dad while pulling few punches about his unattractive side. Diana slips between English and Spanish with a carefree ballast of fond memories. Daniel -- who played piano for a time with his Dad's various ensembles -- has more cause for ambiguity -- their relationship was a series of glissandos(!) -- but, always the honesty of his affection shines through like a cantus firmus.

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Copyright © 8 June 2005 David Wilkins, Eastbourne UK

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