Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund


Tango - (2011)    


for medium voice and piano


Tango tönt durch Nacht und Flieder.
Ist's im Kurhaus die Kapelle?
Doch es springt mir in die Glieder,
Und ich dreh mich schnell und schnelle.
Tango – alle Muskeln spannt er.
Urwald und Lianentriebe,
Jagd und Kampf – und wie ein Panther
Schleich ich durch die Nacht nach Liebe.

[ 5 pages, circa 2' 45" ]

Klabund (pseudonym of Alfred Henschke)


Tango sounds through night and lilacs.
Is it in the dance hall, in the band?
Wherever, it dances in my limbs,
And I turn myself fast and faster.
Tango - it stretches all the muscles.
Jungles and liana vines,
The hunt, the fight - and, like a panther
I slither through the night for love.





The tango is a style of ballroom dance music in duple meter that is said to have originated among European immigrant populations of South America. As with the immigrant German brew masters who also affected Central and South American beer making, this rhythmic style spans continents. There is even now a strong tradition of tango in Finland, while the languages and Central and South America as well as the Caribbean may properly said to be European languages. Languages and arts colonize and cross-pollinate as well as political ideas, and this sharing of cultures is some of the charm of many positive changes in we find. Here a German poet captures images of woody liane vines and jungles, things properly not a part of the German landscape, any more than are panthers.


An opening gambit of chords introduces the tango rhythm, normally thought of as divisions of 3+3+2, with the verses beginning as at measure ten. Some short bridge material breaks the repetition of the textual elements, and "tango" is repeated regularly.



The image of the dancer  moving faster is set into music through a set of accelerandi, in reprises of the verse.


The score for Tango is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.