“Ti tiri ririti!” the flutist sings out loud a difficult passage by Piazzolla. “¡Lo tengo!” Immediately her fingers begin to dance on the keys as she confesses to the pianist, energetically and out of breath, “The only way to play this music is to get a little tango in my blood!”
That flutist from so many years ago in Patagonia, Argentina, was me.
It was over two decades ago when I performed and taught as an artist-in-residence in Argentina, giving concerts and masterclasses through much of the country, soaking up the intricacies of this fascinating culture. The experience made an indelible mark on me, both personally and professionally. This was especially evident through my collaboration with a fiery pianist from Buenos Aires who acted as guide through the intense rhythms and emotion of the Argentine soul. The pinnacle for both of us was a review that stated, Alison Young, con algo de tango en la sangre suggesting that tango – and Argentina itself, at least a bit – is in my blood.
Naturally I next invited her to the United States for a sold out tour of concerts and classes followed by a recording, featuring my arrangements of tangos, and milongas, a fugue by the internationally famous Astor Piazzolla and three multi-movement works by Alberto Ginastera, Angel Lasala and Horacio Salgán. Most of these works are now available in print in the successful A Little Tango in her Blood, Music from Argentina for flute and piano.
Fast forward to today when the Upper Midwest Flute Association asked if I might consider arranging one of the tangos from the flute and piano edition for flute choir. I chose the classic work by Horacio Salgán, Don Agustin Bardi. Salgán pays homage to the performer/composer who helped usher the tango out of its sordid past to become the signature music of an entire culture. Salgán himself was a legendary tango musician who performed with his celebrated trio until his death at the age of 100. To capture the vigorous swagger of the bandonéon, I give the flutists a few, fun beat-boxing techniques plus their own moments to shine as soloists.
UMFA FLUTE CHOIR SHOWCASE 2020
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Immanuel Lutheran Church
Eden Prairie, Minnesota
UMFA Board Flute Ensemble
Karen Baumgartner, Piccolo; Tara Meade & Steve Comingdeer, Flute; Mary Hollerich, Alto Flute; Peggy Doerrie, Bass Flute
Don Agustin Bardi* by Horacio Salgán, arr. Alison Young | Ellis Road Press
*World Premiere, Commissioned for Flute Choir by the Upper Midwest Flute Association