Tango de Manchachicoj
Year of composition
"Tango de Manchachicoj" is my ode to Argentine nuevo tango. Several years ago, I met the Argentine composer and bandoneonist J.P. Jofre when he performed with the Gabriel Chamber Ensemble, and he introduced me to the incredible nuevo tango of Astor Piazzolla and to his own beautifully expressive music.
Manchachicoj is a figure from northwestern Argentine folklore. The son of a demon and a witch, he is described as being small and deformed yet strangely elegant and seductive. This piece tries to paint a scene of the titular creature scampering through the night, causing mischief, and trying to win the hearts of humans. The time signature is a "deformed" 4/4 + 3/4 instead of the traditional tango 2/4 or 4/4. Much of the piece is a passacaglia in which the viola and cello repeat Manchachicoj's motif while the violins chase each other about.
"Tango" was performed at the second of two reading sessions at the Interlochen Public Radio Station by the top string quartet at 2016 Interlochen Summer Arts Camp: Tiffany Chang, violin; Christophe Koenig, violin; Mikel Rollet, viola; and Bence Temesvári, cello. It was an incredible honor working with them! The piece was also performed by the Gabriel Chamber Ensemble at their winter concert on Sunday, December 4, 2016.