Slow Tango, Perky Waltz

For flute, violin, viola, cello
fl, vln, vla, cello
  • Program Notes

    Written for the Cara Quartet in the Spring of 2021, Slow Tango, Perky Waltz is the second movement of CARA. A contrast to the slow, meditative and somewhat dramatic CARA, Slow Tango, Perky Waltz travels through time to recall the flavor of the origins and cultures which co-created these dance styles.

    The Tango derives from the Cuban habanera, the Argentine milonga and Uruguayan candombe, and is said to contain elements from the African community in Buenos Aires, influenced both by ancient African rhythms and the music from Europe. Even though the present forms developed in Argentina and Uruguay from the mid 19th century, there are earlier written records of Tango dances in Cuba and Spain, while there is a flamenco Tangos dance that may share a common ancestor in a minuet-style European dance. All sources stress the influence of the African communities and their rhythms, while the instruments and techniques brought in by European immigrants played a major role in its final definition, relating it to the Salon music styles to which Tango would contribute back at a later stage, when it became fashionable in early 20th century Paris. *

    By 1912, dancers and musicians from Buenos Aires travelled to Europe and the first European tango craze took place in Paris, soon followed by London, Berlin, and other capitals. Towards the end of 1913 it hit New York in the US, and Finland. These exported versions of Tango were modified to have less body contact ("Ballroom Tango"); however, the dance was still thought shocking by many, as had earlier been the case with dances such as the Waltz*

    As the dance form became wildly popular with upper and middle classes around the world, Argentine high society adopted the previously low-class dance form as their own. In 1913, tango began to move from the dark side of town to elegant dance palaces.*

    Originally danced in Germany and Austria in the 13th century, the Waltz was considered 'Forbidden dance' because of its close-hold and quick rotations.**

    The form we know today was born in the suburbs of Vienna and Austria's mountain regions. During the 17th century it was played and danced in ballrooms of the Habsburg court. By the end of eighteenth century this once Austrian peasant dance had been accepted by high class. **

    Despite its popularity, the dance was not completely accepted throughout the nation. Many dancing masters considered the Waltz as a threat to the profession. Its basic steps could be learned in no time, as opposed to other court dances like minuet, which took a fair amount of time to learn and master. **

    Before the Waltz, people danced around each other with little or no contact at all. As the dance started gaining popularity, it was criticised on moral grounds due to its close-hold stance and fast turning movements. Religious leaders regarded it as vulgar and sinful. The dance was criticised to the point where people were threatened with death from waltzing. **

    * Wikipedia

    **Concert Vienna