The Masochist's Tango
Whitney George - Whitney George
The Masochist's Tango is broken into three movements in the classical style, although it lacks any clear formal precedent. Eschewing the standard fast-slow-fast structure, the opening movement is a lugubrious quasi-improvisational journey, an exploration of color and line. Double stops and tremolo contribute a deathly pallor to the work, unfolding in layers of pulsating bow work, as though the dance cannot seem to commence. The second movement arrives attacca, containing the eponymous dance, a col legno celebration of tango rhythms and affections. The third section, to be played "with great lust and wanton desire," is an apotheosis of the two preceding movements, marrying the mood of the first movement with the sultry rhythms of the second, whilst exploring the uppermost register of the instrument. In places, it almost seems as though George's spirit dances on the tip of the bow, brazenly defying the fate that was her lot.