Love-Ghost Tango No. 8
The Phantom Tango
One of a complete series of eight trios that tell the story of two young lovers in Argentina and can be performed as a whole. Each trio stands alone well, however, and each is about four minutes in length.
The Love-Ghost Tangos are a collection of eight trios for clarinets in B-flat (both score and parts are in B-flat). Each is a single piece lasting from 4 to 5 minutes. Even before their publication in 2017, these pieces were played by clarinetists in the New York City area. Ever since they have enjoyed universal appeal among clarinet lovers, as well as tango lovers.
Although these tangos most often will be played singly, they are part of a larger story, a mysterious tale that I heard from an elderly woman from Argentina. She told me that it happened long ago when she was young. It is the story of the Love-Ghost.
At a gathering in late afternoon, a dashing young man and a beautiful young woman are introduced to one another. It is love at first sight and both have premonitions (No. 1) that their meeting will make a great difference in their lives. Without hesitation, the youth invites his new beloved to go dancing. It is sunset (No. 2), and she ardently accepts. They dance successive tangos until well after midnight (No. 3, 4, and 5). It is time to part, but with the burning love that they now share, they cannot bear to be separated, and they retire to a ruined stone structure, long abandoned. Finally, they embrace with great passion and pledge their eternal love to one another (No. 6 and 7), but at that very moment, they are startled by a chilling sound--the haunted cry of a ghost (No. 8). Is it only a night bird, or perhaps their friends playing mischief? Or, is it really a wandering phantom from another plane of existence, a visitor from a shadowy place where spirits dwell? Dawn breaks, and they remain together and sleep through the day. By late afternoon, however, they have forgotten the phantom’s cry, and they want nothing but to go dancing again, one tango after another, into the darkness.