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Polo Piatti

Last Tango in Hastings : Part One

Hastings tango dancers are becoming a common sight, whether it is along the De la Warr terraces or filling up Hastings Museum at night. There are classes on Sundays and Tuesdays and all sorts of other opportunities. Hastings Tango Club are further honoured by having music specially dedicated to them by Hastings own renowned composer, Polo Piatti, to be played as a World premier at the Hastings Museum Valentine Tango event this Friday 15 February, writes HOT’s Chris Cormack.

The name of the piece is ‘Melancolia’ (‘melancholy’ in Spanish) and, as the name implies, Polo Piatti describes it as ‘soft, quite evocative and melancholic’. It is specially dedicated to the Hastings Tango Club.  The Argentine born Polo, who spent his childhood in the very district of Buenos Aires where the tango originated, wrote  it for a sextet of piano, violin, clarinet, flute and two violoncellos. Polo will lead on piano with Harriet Wilder (violin), Trevor Sheldrake (clarinet), Sayzharn Westward (flute), Martin Bradshaw and Jonathan Bruce (violoncellos). This may be an early  chance to hear some core members of the newly formed Hastings Sinfonia orchestra, whose formation was inspired by our celebrated pianist, Polo. Harriet Wilder was appointed leader and Jonathan Bruce is the orchestra librarian.  The orchestra still  actively seeks musicians.  They need more violas, winds and brass as well as (ideally) a harp, another double bass and some percussion according to their website.

Polo is very busy this year  with:

  • a new album, Sentimental Journey, to be  released in 2013, which features music composed for his Japan Tour
  • a commission by Musica Sacra, to compose the first ever All-Faiths Oratorio
  • recordings of three  beautiful songs from his Love Songs Cycle with mezzo soprano Chloe Hinton;
  • an Illustrated Talk entitled ‘The Power Of Music’, using examples from the old masters and his own compositions, taking place on Friday 22 March 2013 at ‘The Beacon’
  • and a likely UK tour of the Osaka Concert Orchestra with Polo playing and conducting. This would  include an appearance at the International Composer’s Festival in Hastings and another at Fairlight Hall (both together with members of the Hastings Sinfonia)

Guillermo and Gerard

This is not the only musical delight for us to enjoy at the Valentine Tango event. The Pinta Brava Trio will accompany an evening of Tango dancing. The trio consists of London-based Argentine singer, Guillermo Rozenthuler, Dutch bandoneon player, Gerard van Duinen and features on this occasion, the outstanding Denmark-based Argentine guitarist, Alejandro Sancho. They play tangos, milongas and valses with that passion and melancholy so typical of Argentine Tango, together with the amazing energy that inspires tango dancers worldwide.  The combination of bandoneon, guitar and vocals has been at the core of the tango tradition for many decades. The bandoneon is a small, square concertina or accordion with buttons instead of a keyboard, used especially in Latin America for tango music. The Pinta Brava Trio bring their new compositions to the dance floor, and perform them alongside well-loved classics and hidden gems of the tango repertoire.

Guillermo Rozenthuler is a soulful singer and a versatile improviser, known across Europe and the UK for his performances with Tango Siempre, the London Tango Orchestra and Tango Clasico trio. He recently toured the UK with Strictly Come Dancing’s Vincent and Flavia’s box- office success show, Midnight Tango.  Trained at Rotterdam Conservatorium, Gerard is a versatile musician, who likes to make crossovers to jazz, pop and even Portuguese fado. Often commissioned as an arranger specializing in tango, Gerard conducts various amateur orchestras in Holland and  in 2010 he was awarded the International Tango Music Award for his composition, La Maca.  Based in Copenhagen, Alejandro Sancho has played guitar in Argentina with  some of the greatest tango musicians and singers. Between 2004 and 2008, Alejandro was the artistic producer and programmer of the Vraa Tango Festival in Denmark.

The ‘Night of Tango Music and Dance‘  takes place at the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery from 7.00pm to 10.30pm.  There is an introduction to tango for beginners from 7.15pm t0 8pm, although this needs to be pre-booked soon, as last year demand far outstripped available space. Phone Phil on 01424  720213  for a place, as I am reliably informed that it is almost fully booked. Men especially welcome. Tickets are £10 in advance or £12 at the door.

The second part of this article to be published shortly will cover ‘Exploring the Tango Embrace’  and ‘Three Hat Tango’

Posted 15:17 Monday, Feb 11, 2013 In: Performance