Just finished a new piece. Well, it’s an old piece that I can’t seem to leave alone. For a performance in the spring of 2013, it’s my third take on Three Dances.
That’s me, to the left, after hitting the double bar.
Three Dances was originally commissioned by the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, and premiered by them in 1995. That version is for double winds (2nd flute alternating with piccolo), pairs of horns and trumpets, one percussionist, and strings.
I then re-orchestrated it for string orchestra with one percussionist, and the Chamber Orchestra (then the Concerto Soloists) of Philadelphia premiered that in 1998. It has had a few hearings, and the chamber orchestra original has been performed multiple times—my most-played orchestral work, in fact.
But I was dissatisfied with the string orchestra version, and rewrote it again, now eliminating the percussion altogether, and simplifying the string writing, for this 2013 performance. I even got rid of the foot-stomping in the Country Dance (yes, the players stomp their feet, seemingly with enjoyment, at least that’s what they tell me), not because it displeased me so much, but more to see if I could retain the character of the work while transforming it into a vehicle for a traditional string ensemble.
The three dances after the Introduction are a Country Dance, Waltz, and Fuguing Tune. I work a chorale and an early American hymn tune into the proceedings. For the Waltz I found myself beset by a novel concept and wrote my own tune. Here are the original program notes.
1. Introduction and Country Dance
3. Fuguing Tune