Redline Tango – Orchestra

“Redline Tango” exists in three versions. First I wrote the chamber version, “Breakdown Tango,” in 2000 for choreographer Robert Battle. It’s scored for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. The group for whom I wrote it, Antares, has played the original version nearly 150 times, and commercially recorded the piece on the Innova label.

In 2002, I rewrote the piece for orchestra on commission from the Brooklyn Philharmonic. That version, the first to be called “Redline Tango,” premiered in early 2003.

In 2004, I made the band version, which has received about 95 performances.

Number of performances of the orchestra version: 6.

For some reason, this really started to bug me within the past few days. I have three great live recordings of the piece, but for whatever reason, I’ve never sent them out to try to generate more performances. (I think I’ve become spoiled by the band world, to tell the truth.) So, that’s the project for today. Scores and CDs are going to every conductor or orchestra with whom I have any personal connection, whether direct or indirect. It’s unlikely anything will come of it, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

And for those who are curious, I just posted one of the recordings — officially — to the site. This is the performance from last summer at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, conducted by Marin Alsop (now the Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony, and recent winner of a MacArthur Genius Grant — although I kind of doubt the MacArthur committee was particularly impressed that she had done “Redline Tango”). I hadn’t posted this recording before because I didn’t know if it was okay. Union orchestras have incredibly tight restrictions on the use of audio recordings. Fortunately, the Cabrillo orchestra is not a union orchestra. If you’ve never heard the orchestra version of “Redline Tango,” check it out!

As for me — I’m off to the post office. Here goes nothin’!


wu says

Dear John,

I have received your email, but when I reply to you, the email still could not deliever. I don't know what happen. But when I email to other person, it is fine... Anyway, I am very interested in your music "Rush Hour", "Mood Indigo" and "Concerto for Percussion". In the end of this year I will have recital tour in Taiwan. I hope to play "Rush Hour" at that time. Please tell me how to have them, thank you very much! Or if you could email me the music through PDF file and email me how to pay will be fine too. Does it sounds good for you? Thank you again for your help.


wu says

Dear John,

It's me again. I forgot that I like "Juba" very much too. So I am thinking of play either "Juba mov.II" or "Rush Hour" in my recital. So, I also want to order "Juba". Thanks a lot.

jim says

Good luck and God speed, John! GO REDLINE TANGO FOR ORCHESTRA!!!

Cathy says

I'm really hoping you aren't counting all the marching band arrangements as performances. As nice as that is financially, it's just a bastardized version of your fabulous piece. Orchestra directors do not have that "luxury". Of course, you're probably speaking of college and professional groups in general, huh?

I'm sure once these orchestra directors hear it, they'll want to conduct it!

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