Academic journal article Notes

A Different Way: Tango with Rodolfo Mederos

Academic journal article Notes

A Different Way: Tango with Rodolfo Mederos

Article excerpt

A Different Way: Tango with Rodolfo Mederos. DVD. Directed by Gabriel Szollosy. [Berlin]:EuroArts, 2011. 2058378. $24.99.

In the film, A Different Way, director Gabriel Szollosy has created an affectionate and respectful portrait of contemporary tango composer, arranger and master bandoneonist, Rodolfo Mederos, a gifted musician who leads a new generation of tango music. His tango is not the stereotype of "Fernando's Hideaway" and Carlos Gardel, of an intense rake dipping a supple damsel (with a rose in her teeth). It is not even in the same vein as his predecessor and mentor, Astor Piazzolla.

Mederos honors the roots of tango though, and the traditional tango feel is always present, softly woven into the background of his music, though it is subtle and barely noticeable among the other threads of music. His music is always melodic and lovely ... joyfully lovely at times and bittersweet lovely at others. His compositions are fresh and modern without sacrificing consonance and beauty.

He uses a broad timbral palette for his compositions, ranging from a chamber orchestra to solo works. During the course of the film, he showcases his stylistic performing with a trio, quartet, small orchestra (stringed instruments, violins, cello, and nylon string guitar), a bandoneon ensemble, flamenco singers, and a tango singer.

His solo bandonetin performances are pensive, harmonically rich and expressive as he composes harmonies, bass runs or counterpoint with his left hand and melodies with his right. He said of his bandoneon, "For me, the bandoneon is the source of life. It breathes (as he stretches the bellows). It is very much alive. …

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