The Music of Drew Fennell

all about Drew - just the facts
what people say about Drew

recordings featuring Drew's work
Drew's Blog

various information on Drew's work
Music Resources

do you have something to say?
Drew's music and recordings on sale

La Cumparsita
G.H. Matos Rodriguez, composer
Drew Fennell, arranger


La Cumparsita is the quintessential tango tune, known all over the world. This version came about when I was asked to create an arrangement for the River City Brass Band to which one of the band members, baritonist Koichiro Suzuki, would dance a tango. I listened to several recordings of tango in hopes of gaining insight into what makes tango the art form it is; and after identifying some of the hallmarks of great tango music, I set to work on the arrangement. I introduced the piece with a short rubato/cadenza. With this, I meant to set the scene in a sort of dark street near all the hustle and bustle of a carnival a couple of blocks away. As I presented the melody, I integrated tight harmonies and lots of rubato, in the hope of acheiving an appropriately sensual tango sound. There is a flugelhorn solo in the middle which is meant to be played as a gypsy violinist might perform it - very stylized, sliding from note to note. Also, I used some muted cornets to mimic the sound of an accordian (accordian being a common - seemingly required? - instrument in tango). The result feels pretty authentic to me, and I believe it is equally effective as a concert piece as it is as an accompaniment for a dance.

  • La Cumparsita is published by Drew Fennell Publishing.
    Available for Brass Band.

  • Hear a computer generated version of La Cumparsita [brass band version]*.

top of page

Brass Band Instrumentation

Soprano Cornet in Eb
Solo Cornet in Bb
1st Cornet in Bb
Repieno Cornet in Bb
2nd Cornet in Bb
3rd Cornet in Bb
Flugelhorn in Bb
1st Horn in Eb*
2nd Horn in Eb*
3rd Horn in Eb*

1st & 2nd Baritone*
1st Trombone*
2nd Trombone*
3rd Bass Trombone
1st & 2nd Euphonium*
1st & 2nd Tuba in Eb*
3rd & 4th Tuba in Bb*

(3 or 4 players)
Percussion includes:
crash cymbals

*Parts for Horn in F as well as parts for Baritone, Trombone, Euphonium and Tuba in bass clef also available.

top of page

Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 Drew Fennell
International Copyright Secured  All Rights Reserved