Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Practica del Centro with QTANGO, June 2015

Erskine Maytorena, Olga Tikhovidova, and Natalia Tikhovidova of QTANGO Orchestra may not need an introduction to the Salt Lake Tango community, they are our old friends. On their June road tour, QTANGO planned a 4-night stay in Utah before continuing to Idaho, Montana, Alberta CA, and Colorado. I was to provide recorded music support on the 2nd night of the workshop, in the loft of Squatters Pub where we scheduled a musicality class and a practica with a long live music segment.

For a pre-class warm-up, Erskine asked me to play a set of different orchestras with strong contrasts, and oh, how about starting it with El Recodo? I had to think real quick and I probably had a deeply puzzled look of my face - well, how do you get contrast and continuity at the same time?? - before picking Di Sarli's 1951 "El recodo", D'Arienzo's 1970s "La torcacita", and 1942 "Trasnochando" of Miguel Caló with Raúl Berón.

The class was themed "How each orchestra can change your dance", and Olga and Natalia wonderfully conjured up the spirits of the steady-matching Canaro, the fiery rhythmic D'Arienzo coming to the rescue of the moribund pre-Golden Age tango scene and evolving over the years, and the dramatic, accelerating and slowing, passionate Pugliese. Actually, the topics of the class ranged even farther, with an intro on the tango instruments and their staccato and melodic abilities and roles - piano vs violin and bass, the voice of the bandoneon and the human voice - and with segments about stimulating female musicality, even in such traditionally lead-dominated contexts as the song endings ("the poses of the cha-chan") !
Focusing on piano...
... and on violin!
Then it's time for the musicians to take a short break, and for me, to play a few tandas which, I assume, will keep the energy strong without an overlap with QTango's repertoire and style.

01. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental "Derecho viejo" 1939 2:24
02. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental "Joaquina" 1935 3:01
03. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental "Champagne tango" 1938 2:26
04. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos "A media luz" 1941 2:31
05. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos y Romeo Gavioli "Amando en silencio" 1941 2:52
06. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos "Lagrimas" 1939 2:50
07. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "El torito" 1950 2:20
08. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "Orillera" 1960 2:24
09. Quinteto Pirincho - Refran "El esquinazo" 1951 2:28
10. Carlos di Sarli - Alberto Podestá "Nido gaucho" 1942 3:22
11. Carlos di Sarli - Alberto Podestá "Tu el cielo y tu" 1944 2:59
12. Carlos di Sarli - Alberto Podestá "Lloran las campanas" 1944 2:58
13. Enrique Rodríguez - Armando Moreno "Tango argentino" 1942 2:37

QTango start super-rhythmically and the floor literally bursts with energy with the opening bars of their signature Felicia. And then the second tanda pumps pure unadulterated Old Guard drive with the trio of El Garron, 9 de julio, & El choclo. This is a practica after a class about orchestras and styles, and Erskin often precedes the songs with a short talk-through about what's special about these pieces, and this format works great with the dancing crowd.

The cooldown tanda starts from a supposedly slow-and-steady vals, Adios juventud, and ends with an officially slow one (subtitled "vals lento"), Piazzolla's Chiquilin de Bachin - buy you gotta listen to these arrangements, they breath fire over the facade of slow steadiness. An hour later comes another amazing lyrical and sad cooldown tanda, a QTango's trademark set of Adios Nonino and Milonga triste. And in the final set, a timeless favorite, El pañuelito. But no Cumparsita even though the time is 10 pm and the practica is supposed to be over. So I keep on playing with a transition tanda, a Pugliese crowning tanda, and the final "exclamation mark and ellipses" for this great night.

14. Enrique Rodríguez - Armando Moreno "Como se pianta la vida" 1940 2:25
15. Enrique Rodríguez - Armando Moreno "Como has cambiado pebeta" 1942 2:37
16. Enrique Rodríguez - Armando Moreno "Danza Maligna" 1940 2:27
17. Osváldo Pugliese - Jorge Maciel "Remembranza" 1956 3:41
18. Osváldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel "Rondando Tu Esquina" 1945 2:49
19. Osváldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel "Farol" 1943 3:22
20. Pedro Láurenz - Pedro Mafia "La cumparsita" 1926 3:01
21. Damour Vocal Band "SWAY" 3:49

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