Three Dances, for string orchestra

Three Dances, for string orchestra
str. 12′. Review. View full score

1. Introduction and Country Dance 
2. Waltz 
3. Fuguing Tune 

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.

Here are details about the re-orchestration of this in 2013.

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, 2012-13, for a performance by the Temple University Music Preparatory Division Youth Chamber Orchestra, Aaron Picht conducting, at the Festival of Young Musicians, Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, 11 May 2013.

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