Tango music is slightly strange to north american ears. The oldest music (say from 1910 to 1930) is variously staccato, dramatic, and sentimental, and famous orchestra directors developed different aspects of the music. The orchestras of Osvaldo Pugliese and Carlos di Sarli played complex, dramatic music, favored by stage performers. The orchestra of Juan D'Arienzo is my favorite -- it's solid and snappy and D'Arienzo's arrangements typically features a soloist on the violin who breaks away by playing slower, sustained notes, rather than playing more complex notes, while the pianist plays little runs around the edges of the rest of the orchestra. Simply delightful! Noders may have heard of Astor Piazzolla, a composer of the so-called "New Tango" school, but in my opinion he's not of the first rank. The long and the short of it is that Piazzolla's compositions are for the orchestra and the listener, and not for the dancer. By the way, the soundtrack of the movie "The Tango Lesson" (sort of a chick flick, but I liked it) features songs recorded by the Pugliese, di Sarli, D'Arienzo, and Piazzolla orchestras; it's a good introduction to tango music.

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