Igor Stravinsky

Tango, for chamber orchestra

    Description by James Leonard

    Stravinsky's Tango of 1940 was the first work he composed completely in America (the slightly earlier Symphony in C had been begun in Paris). Written in straight 4/4 time with a structure built on four-bar phrases, Stravinsky's Tango is perhaps the most rhythmically regular piece he ever composed. Originally composed for the piano, the Tango seems from the start to have been envisioned as a work for ensemble. The first version for full orchestra (three flutes and clarinets, two oboes and bassoons, three saxophones, two horns, three trumpets and trombones, one tuba, percussion, piano, guitar, and strings) was made by Felix Guenther, but was apparently examined and approved by Stravinsky. This routine version was premiered with Benny Goodman conducting in July, 1941. The second version for a much more unusual ensemble (four clarinets, bass clarinet, four trumpets, three trombones, guitar, three violins, one viola, one cello, and bass) was done by Stravinsky in 1953 and premiered with Robert Craft conducting in October 1953. Apparently, Stravinsky also hoped for a dance band version and even a popular song version of the Tango. In the event, neither ever materialized.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2015 Sony Classical 88875026162
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon B002398272
    2012 Decca / Mercury Living Presence 001653302
    2012 Decca 4764832
    2007 Sony Classical Essential Classics 103112
    2005 BIS BISCD 1175
    2004 Mercury 000215036
    2003 Sony Classical 89910
    2001 Sony Music Distribution 46297
    2000 DG Deutsche Grammophon 453 458-2GH
    2000 Delos DE 3251
    1999 Sony Music Distribution 64136
    1993 GHA 126016
    1991 Sony Music Distribution 46290
    1991 Mercury 432012
    Arkadia 145
    MusicMasters 67195
    Viveza 50212
    London 425214