Redline Tango (2003, revised 2005)
Commissioned by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Robert Spano, Music Director.
Premiered February 21 & 22, 2003.
Additional performances by the Dallas Symphony with Andrew Litton in June 2004 (Dallas, Texas) and July 2004 (Vail, Colorado); The Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Litton, in July 2005; The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, conducted by Marin Alsop, in August 2005; the Bergen Philharmonic of Norway, conducted by Andrew Litton, in October 2006; the Eastern Music Festival Orchestra, conducted by Christian Knapp, in July 2007; the BBC Scottish Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Litton, in October 2008; the Grand Rapids Symphony, conducted by David Lockington; the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Peter Stafford Wilson; The Sydney Conservatory of Music, conducted by Luke Gilmour; the Annapolis Symphony, conducted by Jose-Luis Novo.
"Redline Tango" takes its title from two sources. The first is the common term of "redlining an engine," or, pushing it to the limit. In the case of this score, "redline" also refers to the "red line," or the IRT subway line (2 & 3 trains) of the New York subway system, which is the train that goes between my apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and BAM, where this work was premiered.
The work is in three sections. The first section is the initial virtuosic "redlining" section, with constantly-driving 16th-notes and a gradual increase in intensity. After the peak comes the second section, the "tango," which is rather light but demented, and even a bit sleazy. The material for the tango is derived directly from the first section of the work. A transition leads us back to an even "redder" version of the first section, with one final pop at the end.