Three Dances, for orchestra

Three Dances, for orchestra
2/.2.2.2-2.2.0.0-1perc-str. 12′. Review

1. Introduction and Country dance View full score 

2. Waltz View full score 

3. Fuguing Tune View full score 

The melody in the Introduction is the first half of the Lutheran chorale “Eins ist Not, ach Herr, dies Eine.” In the Country Dance, the recurring melody, carried mostly by the lower voices, is a variant on an early American fuguing tune called “Eternal Day.”

The Waltz is actually a passacaglia employing six pitches: D, F#, G, G#, A, C#. Every note in the movement is from this group. Whether the pitches create a scale or give the impression of the outline of a scale is debatable, but the large gaps and the reliance on the tritone abet the feeling of absence and longing.

The beginning of the Fuguing Tune repeats the truncated chorale of the Introduction, leaving the long 6/8 section as the fuguing part. The melody here is a variant of the English carol “A Virgin most Pure.” The second half of the Lutheran chorale appears as the repeating bass line in this movement at, for example, measures 21-25.

Commissioned by the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, Donald Spieth, Music Director, and premiered March 9, 10, 11, 1995. The string orchestra version, with percussion, was premiered by the Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia November 8, 1998. Revised and percussion removed, 2012, for a performance by the Temple University Music Preparatory Division Festival of Young Musicians, Youth Chamber Orchestra, Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia
11 May 2013, Aaron Picht conducting.

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