Tango de Manchachicoj
Instrumentation: String Quartet (violin, violin, viola, & cello)
Date Completed: July 2016
Awards: Winner of the MTNA Composition Contest, Northeast Region and State of PA (Senior Division)
The Gabriel Chamber Ensemble
Interlochen's Advanced String Quartet
Tiffany Chang, violin
Christophe Koenig, violin
Mikel Rollet, viola
Bence Temesvári, cello
Notes: "Tango de Manchachicoj" is my response to Argentine 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 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 play the part of the pursuer and the unfortunate pursued.
"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 and a whole lot of fun working with them! The piece was also performed by the Gabriel Chamber Ensemble, the premier chamber music group in my area, at their winter concert on Sunday, December 4, 2016. Thank you to the GCE for picking up the piece and performing it spectacularly!