Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester

UPS brought an exciting package today. No, it wasn’t a new watch (although I now have my eye on these incredibly awful holiday watches from QVC). It was the return shipment of parts for the orchestra version of “Redline Tango,” just back from their exciting trip to Bergen, Norway.

Being a European orchestra, there are none of those silly “composers can’t have a recording, or if they do get one, it’ll be crippled, or if it’s not, and they ever make a copy for anybody, we’ll sue them for more than they could ever make in a lifetime” union rules. As such, tucked between the string parts, I found a CD of the orchestra’s performance from October 5. No waiver to sign, no restrictions on use, nothing. Just, “here’s your piece. Enjoy.”

If you’ve never heard the original orchestral version of “Redline Tango,” I encourage you to check this out. Even if you have, but you’d only heard the recording that was previously posted here, please give this a listen. It’s spectacular, from the big violin solo in the tango (I think the best I’ve heard it), to the Eb clarinet soloist (this Norwegian guy sure gets klezmer), to the waa-waa trumpet moment (where the player goes for it with such conviction that the tiniest little squawk sounds like it must be written in the part — and maybe it should be).

This is the third orchestra with whom Andrew Litton has performed the piece — having previously conducted it twice with the Dallas Symphony and once with the Minnesota Orchestra. He gave two performances in Norway, and he tells me that the second night — which, sadly, was not recorded — was even better. Considering this recording from the first night is probably the best the piece has ever sounded, I can’t even imagine what the second night was like. As an added bonus, it’s pretty cool to read one’s bio in Norwegian. (“John Mackey ey fra New Philadelphia i Ohio, og er utdannet ved Juilliard Scool of Music i New York og Cleveland Institute of Music. Han er spesielt opptatt av musikk som har med dans a gjore, og har levert en rekke komposisjoner til blant mange andre New York City Ballet.” It also proclaims, “Redline Tango har tre avsnitt.” That it does, my friends. That it does.)

Now I just have to decide if these QVC watches are too cool. I mean, this one has major holiday bling with those fake diamonds inside. It kind of completely screams “tacky and gay,” but it might be so over-the-top that it ends up pulling the fashion mind trick of proclaiming, “I’m so cool that I can wear this incredibly stupid watch and make you think it’s cool, even though it is the lamest watch ever produced.” It’s going to be a tough decision.


jim says

Call me overly-conservative, but unless you're a 58 year-old "festively-plump" Midwestern Caucasian woman who lives with at least 12 cats in a house entirely made of marzipan, I don't think you can pull this watch off.

Daniel Montoya, Jr. says

I have to respectivly disagree... if I had to pick one person to wear this watch, it would be you.

Midwest unveiling, perhaps?!

cory says

somewhere in southeast asia, children are having nightmares due to this watch... the wristband alone sears the psyche...

Cathy says

My verdict is out about the watch still.

This recording of Redline Tango is GREAT!! Even with a band arrangement of "Shook Me All Night Long" going in the background. I do have to have my computer speakers all the way out to make the soft section a listening priority, however.

Add comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.