A Postcard from Buenos Aires

by Matthew Whittall

Empty sheet

Matthew Whittall

A Postcard from Buenos Aires


One of the most expensive propositions one can undertake as a tourist in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is the mailing of a postcard. For starters, the nicer cards tend to be quite costly. It is therefore preferable, in the interest of economizing, to purchase a card featuring many contrasting scenes. One must also add the cost of a bus ticket to the post office, by no means an easy place to find (neither the bus or the post office), as well as express postage, which is the only way to ensure that the card leaves the country before you do. In the end, one can end up spending a comparatively ridiculous amount of money on what should otherwise be a very simple task.

There is a great deal of ambiguity surrounding the nature of the Argentine tango. Quite often, pieces commonly thought to be tangos are actually derived from Brazilian or Cuban rhythms. Even other Argentinean dances, like the milonga, are frequently mistaken for tangos. One of the most misleading is the stylized habanera so memorably evoked by Bizet, from whose characteristic rhythmic pattern a whole group of Latin American dances evolved, including the tango. In addition, newer styles like tango nuevo, which blend influences, make it all the more difficult to distinguish the true tango.

None of this confusion, however, seems to affect the cost of mailing a postcard from Buenos Aires.

© Matthew Whittall


violin and piano (a), violin, cello and piano (b, arrangement for Szábo Trio)


Chamber Works


(a): Gabrielle Painter, violin, Staffan Sandström, piano, Stony Brook, NY, USA, October 18, 2001, Fp (b): Fp: Szábo Trio, London, UK, May 2005.

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