Mi Dolor (“Sorrow”) is one of the most famous songs to come from Argentina. Almost every tango orquestra had their own version – like bands doing covers of Beatles songs today. The lyrics tell of the great pain the singer feels after his love leaves him. This arrangement is loosely based on recordings done in the 1940s by Alfredo De Angelis and Julio De Caro.
As with all tangos, the extreme contrasts in dynamics and articulations are very important and should be almost comically emphasized. Staccato notes are ideally played near the frog with lots of bite and as short as possible.
Con fuoco, ma molto ritmico translates to “with fire, but very rhythmic”. The tempo should remain completely steady, but with an undercurrent of passion that makes it feel as if the music could boil over at any second.
Secco literally means dry in Italian. These staccato notes should be played using almost no bow, not at all like a ringing Mozart staccato, but a very percussive effect.
Sudden dynamic changes (like the forte in bar 27 and the pianissimo in bar 35) should be completely surprising to the audience, unlike “classical” music where a performer would naturally crescendo or diminuendo to the new dynamic.
The violin solo (m. 46) should be played with a wide, intense vibrato. It can be totally over the top - like “weeping” music in a cartoon.
Alla corda means “in the string”, and in this final violin variación (m. 79) the violins can go a little crazy using lots of bow in the upper half. Style is more important than accuracy here!
The final two notes (loud-soft) may feel a little uncomfortable, but it’s a traditional tango ending that will leave the audience smiling.
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