March 17, 2020

Skating to the Music

Tomoko's daughter Beata performs and coaches ice dancing, echoing Tomoko's double professional life as piano performer and teacher. Both of them have a long-long love of music. Both choose their music pieces carefully to showcase their own performance expertise.

Among Beata's accomplishments was her -- and husband Charles' -- performances at the 2002 Olympics. That year their show performances included: "Tango: Fugata" by Astor Piazzolla and "Samson and Delilah" by Camille Saint-Saëns.

 Astor Piazzolla was a 20th century Argentinian tango composer, possibly the world's greatest. He created a new style of tango, which incorporated classical music and jazz. His new sound was controversial in his country, but his music was accepted in North America and Europe.. Written in the 1980s for a virtuoso guitar duo, Piazzolla's Tango Suite includes Fugata (meaning "fugue"), Milonga, and Libertango. "Fugata" introduces a short melody that is developed by interweaving several parts. The piece offered a suspenseful way to build up dance drama and showcase final bravura performance by Beata and Charles.

French composer Saint-Saëns wrote the opera "Sanson and Delilah" as choral music was experiencing high interest, although Biblical subjects were not popular on the French stage. Instead, in 1877 the opera opened in Weimar, Germany, thanks to Liszt's support. The work is framed as a duet between the protagonists, which Beata and Charles leveraged in their dance routine.  

The pieces also echo Beata's and Charles' -- as well as Tomoko's -- years of work to be accepted and applauded.

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