Two Tangos was originally written in 2009 and the current arrangement with clarinet was made in 2010. It is scored for clarinet, string quartet and accordion.
These two tangos were originally written at the request of Raluca Anastasiu from Romania for the Gotan Project. She was going to provide the words and sing (her voice being a rich contralto) to the accompaniment of local musicians. This sadly did not happen because of a series of mishaps, so when I realised that the words were not forthcoming, I made this arrangement for clarinet, replacing the voice part.
The tangos are called Tango Canyengue and Tango Orillero. The music of each tango is contrasted in style to reflect the different dancing styles, described below.
Tango Canyengue is the purest essence of the beginning of tango. Its afro meaning is “walking with cadence" and it uses the original tango embrace. It is a sensual and enjoyable style of tango with a playful gait and rhythm. Its main characteristic is its musicality, as dancing Canyengue precisely means to be in time, walking in the right musical tempo. Canyengue uses body dissociation for the lead and focuses on walking with firm ground contact and with cadence, marking the rhythm with each step, changing weight in a way that is not seen but felt. Canyengue is unstructured, free of choreographed sequences, but is danced with rapid playful movements of the feet and flexible legs, agile steps linked to the rhythm. Tango Canyengue encourages improvisation and enjoyment of the dance.
Orillero-style tango is an older style of tango whose name suggests that it may have had its origins in the streets of poor outlying tenements in Buenos Aires. Later it came to refer to the man dancing around the edge of the woman. In either case, Orillero-style tango was not considered acceptable in the refined salons of central Buenos Aires during the golden age of tango. It is danced with upright body posture with the dancers maintaining separate axes, and the embrace is typically offset in a V and can be either close or open. In the turns, the woman is allowed to move freely and pivot without requiring much independent movement between her hips and torso.