Tangos Utópicos (2015)

For saxophone quartet.

Commissioned by Yendo quartet and Radio France for their broadcasting of Alla Breve.

Tangos utópicos 1

Tangos utópicos 2

Tangos utópicos 3

Tangos utópicos 4

Tangos utópicos 5

Five 2-minute movements. This is the prerogative of “Alla Breve” broadcasting, a challenge. This estimulating limitation was particularly adapted to the idea of forging a series of pieces that combine the incredible virtuosity of these instrumentalists with the twist of a possible, hypothetical, utopian tango.

In “Curvas Desiguales” [“Uneven Curves”] I gave free way to the extravagant melodic turns that unite in extreme counterpoints, like a faraway imitation of the interlacing of the bandoneon and the violin in traditional tangos.

The energy, that of the opposition and battle of the sexes, of danced tango found a Shakeaspearean metaphor in “the Capulet and the Montagues” in which there appears an aftertaste of the american brother, the jazz. This constant battle between soprano and tenor versus alto and baritone dislocates the grammar of a kind of furtive intervention of a duet.

In the tribulations of Per (or Per-turbations), other than the reference to my friend Per Arne Glorvigen who is bandoneonist and expert “tanguero”, the emblematic instrument of tango appears under the shape of a free transcription. The violent attack and the morbid resonance give birth to a series of accidents and encounters that conceive the melody, that will then turn into a univocal, microintervalic mass of sound and, therefore, impossible in the traditional tango.

To finish with: two milongas. Seen here as the older sister of tango. The “Milonga Interior” [“Interior Milonga”] is nothing other than the sound of the bandoneon in immersion. The zoom that the audition operates emerges us in the instrument’s bellows, in which a purring melody is outlined. The second, “Milonga Desesperada” [“Desperate Milonga”], cannot find the rhythmic support, it becomes desperate. It brings the instruments to their extreme when each one tries to impose, through the exaggerated metrics and polyrhythm, their own melodic expression constructed on the base of the recurrent motives of tango; these are used as revisited common places. Here, the feat is a herald of the danger -that is, maybe, the best definition of virtuosity. And ends up with a rising gesture that sublimated the final cadence whose last note seems to be an inspiration for a promising afterwards.

These utopian tangos are not intended to be a musical manifesto of the genre’s future. If there were an example to follow -which I do not usually praise- I would say it is the invention, almost like a game and in complete freedom, of the impossible.

Luis Naón

France musique – Emission  ‘ALLA BREVE’
Recorded in september 2015 at Radio France
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