Fuga de Juan Moreira
Instrumentation: Piano Quintet (string quartet + piano)
Date Completed: July 2018
Notes: Juan Moreira was a nineteenth century folk hero, outlaw, and gaucho (skilled horseman, similar to a cowboy) from eastern Argentina. His life of crime began when the Deputy Mayor Don Francisco, who was jealous of his wife Vicenta, charged him with imaginary fines. When a grocery-store owner borrowed 10,000 of Moreira's pesos and refused to pay them back, the deputy jailed Moreira for two days for attempted robbery. Moreira challenged the grocer to a duel, won, and killed Don Francisco as he escaped. He never lost a knifefight (though he avoided conflicts whenever possible) and he never removed his saddle from his horse so he would always be ready to flee trouble. In April 1874, a band of men surrounded him, and a soldier named Sgt. Chirino bayoneted him in the lung as he was scaling a wall. Even with a fatal wound, he managed to shoot out his killer's eye and injure another man.
This piece recounts the wild life of Moreira through a fast-paced tango quasi-fugue that has plenty of dissonance and a few moments of sweeping heroism. The title has two meanings, as fuga can be translated as either "fugue" or "escape." The glissando in measure 144 represents Chirino's fatal attack, and the two accented chords in meausre 118 represent the final two injuries Moreira inflicted.