Video Pick of the Week: Margarita Escarpa Plays Brouwer’s Arrangement of Piazzolla’s ‘La muerte del ángel’
It’s been a while since we’ve posted anything by the great Spanish guitarist Margarita Escarpa, who has long been a favorite of mine. This video from a 2016 performance really shows this gifted guitarist at her best: a brilliant and commanding performance of Leo Brouwer’s arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s La muerte del ángel. If you’ll indulge me, I’ll revisit something I wrote a few years ago about the piece:
As for the work itself, writer James Reel noted: “This is the climactic piece Piazzolla provided for his incidental music to the 1962 Alberto Rodriguez Muñoz play Tango del ángel, in which an angel heals the spirits of the residents of a shabby Buenos Aires neighborhood, but is ultimately killed in that most Argentine of pastimes, a knife fight. ” Piazzolla himself played the piece for many years (usually in a quintet, with him on bandoneon), occasionally in a suite along with two other tunes from the Muñoz play—Milongadel ángel and Introducción delángel—plus an uplifting fourth work penned in 1965, Resurrección del ángel. Like so many Piazzolla works, it has been arranged for many different instruments and configurations through the years, including solo piano, piano and string orchestra, three pianos, four cellos; I’m sure the list goes on.
Escarpa was the 1994 winner of the GFA competition and has enjoyed a fine career as both a performer and teacher. —Blair Jackson