The Masochist's Tango

  • instrumentation: solo violin

    duration: 8.5 minutes

    form: three movements; can be presented separately, but if all, in chronological order

    format: digital download

    other performance requirements: n/a

    program notes: The Masochist’s Tango is broken into three movements in the classical style, although it lacks any clear formal precedent. Eschewing the standard fast--slow--fast structure, the opening movement is a lugubrious quasi- improvisational journey, an exploration of color and line. Double stops and tremolo contribute a deathly pallor to the work, unfolding in layers of pulsating bow work, as though the dance cannot seem to commence.The second movement arrives attacca, containing the eponymous dance, a col legno celebration of tango rhythms and affections. The third section, to be played “with great lust and wanton desire,” is an apotheosis of the two preceding movements, marrying the mood of the first movement with the sultry rhythms of the second, whilst exploring the uppermost register of the instrument.

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Whitney E. George