Seduction: “I Want To Have Sex With You”

Seduction: “I Want To Have Sex With You”
Tango for Mixed Chamber Ensemble
Violin, Viola, Cello, Vibraphone, Piano 

Score and Parts available from
Voice House Publishing

Program Note:

Seduction: “I Want To Have Sex With You”
Like all tangos, the theme of this work is seduction and the lure of sex in all its complexity and shades of emotion, from flirtatious to cruel, delight to despair, domination to submissiveness, real and symbolic, animal and robotic, sensual sex and cyber-sex, sex alone and with others, self-destructive and self-transcendent, foolish, obsessive, political, personal and charismatic. The music revolves on a melodic mantra set to the words “I Want To Have Sex With You”. The mantra appears continuously in various guises throughout the work along with six other themes, which comment on it in various ways. At times the mantra functions as a subtext, and at other times it is a domineering musical force. Ultimately the mantra merges with the other material. Hoping to add something of at least idiosyncratic curiosity to the repertoire of Tango, I sought out the works of Astor Piazzolla for guidance, fearing that otherwise the work might veer instead into strange lands or simplistic mimicry. I needed to know how far one could expand the fabric of this folk genre without rendering it incomprehensible. I do not think that the resulting work sounds the least bit like Piazzolla, and I offer to his memory my gratitude, respect and apologies. I may have ended up instead in a strange land after all! I also attempted, from a contemporary post-modernist viewpoint, to understand and reflect something of the spirit of the dance. Tango, with its’ dramatic gestures and surprising shifts of dynamics, can be regarded (as arguably all dance can be) as a highly mannered mating ritual. Thus the theme gets right to the point, with the subversiveness of an advertising campaign and the determination of a sex researcher, and is pushed, pulled, parried, teased, satirized and charmed by the competing motives until finally they attain a sort of musical coitus.
Joseph Waters, December 19, 2004


Joseph Waters is Full Professor of Music Composition and Director of Electro-Acoustic and Media Composition at San Diego State University. He studied composition at Yale University, the Universities of Oregon and Minnesota, and Stockholms Musikpedagogiska Institut. His primary teachers were Jacob Druckman, Bernard Rands, Roger Reynolds, Dominick Argento, and Martin Bresnick. He is a member of the first generation of American classical composers who grew up playing in rock bands. Throughout his career he has been intrigued by the confluence and tensions that entangle and bind the music of Europe and Africa. Much of his work involves interactions between electronic and acoustic instruments. He has been involved in inter-disciplinary and collaborative works since the early 1980’s. His works are performed widely, both in the U.S.A. and abroad. He has received numerous awards in composition, including National Endowment for the Arts/Rockefeller Foundation, Regional Arts and Culture Council (OR) and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants.

© 2004 Joseph Waters
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