• 2+pic.2+ca.2+bcl.2+cbn/4331/timp.3perc/pf.hp/str
  • 8 min

Programme Note

Tango di Tango (1991) was commissioned and premiered by The San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, Christopher Wilkins, Music Director. Inspired by Ravel’s celebrated Bolero, Tango di Tango is a driving and hypnotic set of orchestral variations on a simple tango melody. Rodríguez has drawn the seven-note tango theme from his 1985 comic opera, Tango – hence the title, literally, “tango from Tango.”

Rodríguez’ opera, Tango, is based on actual news clippings, letters and an official papal denunciation of the infamous dance…of irrepressible languor and high-breathing passion during the tango craze that swept America and Europe in 1913-14.

Tango di Tango was originally scored for a typical cabaret trio of violin, accordion and piano. This new version for large orchestra calls for winds in threes, divided strings and violin solo plus a wide variety of percussion sounds, among them: piano, harp, four timpani, marimba, bowed vibraphone, maracas, tambourine, triangle, bell tree and several sizes of cymbals, gongs and unpitched drums. Also employed are the evocative sounds of a lion’s roar, a musical saw, a bundle of wooden switches, a whip, a hotel “front” bell, chimes, and the jawbone of an ass. The dramatic shape of the work is simple, in the manner of a Baroque chaconne, with twenty-eight bar variations rising in pitch one whole-step at a time over syncopated ostinato until, like Ravel’s model, it reaches a climax of blazing orchestral splendor, then rumbles to a close.

Related works:
   Tango di Tango for chamber ensemble
   Tango di Tango for piano


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