Brass Choir and Percussion
4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba, 3 percussion
2 horns, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 1 euphonium, 1 tuba, 2 percussion
"Red Tango" was the first composition that I created after graduating from music school. I wrote it while I was on staff at the National Youth Orchestra of Canada - I had found out that they were planning a brass and percussion concert, and it seemed like a good opportunity for me to write something.
Sometimes a deadline can provide inspiration: I ended up creating the work over about 3 or 4 days, writing in my evenings and spare time, and sure enough it was added to the programme. I even got to conduct the premiere, and the work has gone on to a significant life of its own (perhaps most notably, Toronto Symphony principal trumpet Andrew McCandless has performed the solo part at the Ottawa Chamber Festival).
Whether this piece is a “true” tango is subject to interpretation, but most parties agree that it captures the Tango spirit closely enough. I think I was listening to a lot of Astor Piazzolla at the time I wrote it. The colour “Red” signifies fiery passion, which describes the featured solo trumpet part very well. (The work’s initial title was “Delaware” - which has nothing to do with the state or with Tango, it was the name of the residence hall where the members of the youth orchestra were staying).
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