Performed By: the University of Wisconsin-Madison Symphonic Wind Ensemble, James Smith, conductor

I. Rock Dance II. Solo Dancing III. Dance in the Dark IV. Rag Rhythms

Concert band: piccolo, 2 flutes, oboe, 2 Bb clarinets (1 doubles Eb clarinet), alto clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, 3 Bb cornets/trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones, euphonium, tuba, 3 percussion: [1 - bass drum, claves, sleigh bells, snare drum, tambourine, tom-toms (medium, low), woodblock (medium)], [2 - bongos, crash cymbals, suspended cymbal, tam-tam (large), temple blocks, triangle (medium), woodblock (low)], [3 - (mallet): marimba, orchestra bells, tubular bells, vibraphone, xylophone], timpani, piano

Duration: 16 min

Commissioned By:
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music for their 100th Anniversary, 1995-1996

April 26, 1996 by the UW-Madison Symphonic Wind Ensemble, James Smith, conductor, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music

Available From:
Oxford University Press, rented by C.F. Peters

Composer's Notes:
In the initial stages of thinking about Concert Dances, James Smith and I had many conversations about the nature of concert winds. Listening to James lovingly describe the instruments and color potential of the wind ensemble was the inspirations of this piece. With the ears of an orchestral conductor, James talked about the symphonic possibilities of a wind ensemble -- wondering how a composer might apply the sensibilities of orchestral composition to concert winds. Through this inspiration, I eagerly began work and I was honored that this new piece would be premiered at the 1995 Centennial Celebration for the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music.

In each of the four movements of Concert Dances I focussed on a single aspect more common to orchestral composition than to wind ensemble composition. The first dance, "Rock Dance," exploits additive melody, asking the performers to blend color and extend lines by stringing together a lyric melody, fragment by fragment, choir by choir. In "Solo Dancing," I ask the opposite by giving longer solo lines to a single flute, oboe, trumpet, and euphonium. "Dance in the Dark" creates a palate of blended color, in which the flutes play a solo line while various other colors emerge and submerge in short glimpses. In this dance, I used the winds more as I would use strings in a symphonic work and in particular, I placed the piano in a chamber symphonic role. "Rag Rhythm" combines all three of these techniques -- additive melody, solo melody, and orchestral texture and color -- in a short, abstract rag for concert winds.
— Libby Larsen
To rent this piece, please visit C.F. Peters.

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