Redline Tango

From Wind Repertory Project
John Mackey

John Mackey (transcribed by composer)

General Info

Year: 2004
Duration: c. 9:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Symphony Orchestra
Publisher: Osti Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $375.00 (Rental)   |   Score only (print) - $60.00


Full Score
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV-V-VI, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Hi-Hat
  • Marimba
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tom-Toms (4)
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


In Score:

  • B-flat Bass Clarinet, m.303: A half rest is missing from the final bar.
  • Timpani, m.303: A half rest is missing from the final bar.

Program Notes

Redline Tango takes its title from two sources. The first is the common term of "redlining an engine," or pushing it to the limit. In the case of this score, "redline" also refers to the "red line," or the IRT subway line (2 and 3 trains) of the New York subway system, which is the train that goes between my apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and BAM, where this work was premiered.

The work is in three sections. The first section is the initial virtuosic "redlining" section, with constantly-driving 16th-notes and a gradual increase in intensity. After the peak comes the second section, the "tango," which is rather light but demented, and even a bit sleazy. The material for the tango is derived directly from the first section of the work. A transition leads us back to an even "redder" version of the first section, with one final pop at the end.

Originally commissioned by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, this is the re-worked, or "windstrated" version.

Redline Tango was commissioned by Emory University, Lamar University, Arizona State University, Florida State University, Louisiana State University, Illinois State University, University of Kansas, and Mercer University. Consortium organized by Scott A. Stewart of Emory University and Scott Weiss of Lamar University.

The work was premiered February 26, 2004, by the Emory University Wind Ensemble, Scott Stewart, conductor.

- Program Note by composer

As the title implies, Redline Tango is based on and contains elements of the Argentine dance form tango. It is in single-movement sonata form and incorporates elements of the tango, a reflection of Mackey's extensive experience writing for dance companies in New York.

- Program Note from Teaching Music through Performance in Band



State Ratings

  • Texas: V


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Florida (Gainesville) Symphonic Band (John M. Watkins, Jr., conductor) - 19 April 2023
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City) Wind Ensemble (Scott Hagen, conductor) – 5 February 2020
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, All College Band (Carrie Pawelski, conductor) – 19 November 2019
  • Abilene (Tx.) Christian University Wind Ensemble (Steven D. Ward, conductor) – 25 April 2019
  • Penn State University (University Park) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dennis Glocke, conductor) – 18 April 2019
  • Brock University (St. Catharines, Ont.) Wind Ensemble (Zoltan Kalman, conductor)– 2 April 2019
  • Lone Star Wind Orchestra (Dallas, TX) (Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor) – 27 January 2019
  • University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) Wind Ensemble (Evan Feldman, conductor) – 5 December 2018
  • Texas Christian University (Fort Worth) Symphonic Band (Matthew Garrett, conductor) – 18 October 2018
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Wind Symphony (Stephen G. Peterson, conductor) – 12 October 2018
  • Grand Street Community Band (Brooklyn, N.Y.) (Brian Worsdale, conductor) – 4 May 2018 (ACB 2018 Annual Convention (Buffalo, N.Y.))
  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Symphony Band (David Thornton, conductor) – 20 March 2018
  • Grand Street (New York) Community Band (Brian Worsdale, conductor) – 11 March 2018
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Wind Ensemble (Frank Wickes, conductor) – 20 February 2018
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Band (Sarah McKoin, conductor) – 12 February 2018
  • Baldwin-Wallace College (Berea, Ohio) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Dwight Oltman, conductor) – 21 April 2017
  • United States Coast Guard Band (New London, Conn.) (Richard Wyman, conductor) – 19 March 2017
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Onsby C. Rose, conductor) – 3 November 2016
  • Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.) Wind Symphony (James Spinazzola, conductor) – 6 March 2016

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