Monday, 11 June 2012


A tango that recently got stuck in my head for twenty-four hours - Ventarrón, Orquesta Típica Victor. I would have posted a performance but I couldn't find one I liked.

I actually rang up a friend in another country in order to hum it to her: and just like me, she and the other tanguera sitting with her knew it perfectly well but couldn't think what it was called. The words are here; only the first two stanzas are actually sung, but the whole (as far as I can guess) appears to be about an aged warrior of the streets, his fame once, his loneliness and infirmity now.

I didn't know the words, which is why I couldn't remember what it was called. But one of the reasons it got stuck in my head was that this wonderfully rhythmic, fighting and plangent tune reminds me very strongly of the final scene of the first act of Tosca - specifically from where Scarpia (the villain, chief of police) comes into the church to the point where, after soliloquising of sex and violence (he's planning both, but sex is the current priority) with his back to the pious crowd, he joins, with magnificent baritone hypocrisy, in the Te Deum. That whole bit would be too long, but there are lots of versions on YouTube that just do the last bit of it, from "Tre sbirri, una carozza". This one is good and doesn't suffer from anything particularly bizarre in the sets or costumes. Scarpia's makeup is explained by this being a stage production - inevitably strange on screen.

I don't know exactly why the one reminds me of the other. Of course, there's a fairly close relationship between these two genres of music, only two generations apart. Something about the melody, something about the rhythm, something about the relationship between them.

There's a Lego Tosca on YouTube. If you look.

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