A suite of five unrelated dances, Delusional Dances, is actually a bandstration of short works for small ensembles. In all cases, these “dances” are my delusional take on specific traditional or vernacular dance-types, all laced with some semblance of humor. The parts of this suite were created during the spring and summer of 2019 as fun little individual projects between commissions. I realized during this process that the sum of these parts might work well as either a suite, or a series of standalone pieces that could be spread out over the course of a single concert.
The five dances are as follows:
• Scherzo Psycho: Originally composed for saxophone quartet in 2005, this expanded version is precisely what the title suggests. Aside from the opening and its reprise at the conclusion, the highly-charged chromatic music within is relentless, driving, and loud.
• Ever Constant: This quasi-minimal-foxtrot is a stark contrast to the dances that surround it. It is a rescoring of the fourth movement of The Space Between Us, commissioned in 2016 by Akropolis Reed Quintet.
• Mosh: In the mid 1980s, I once snuck away in my teens to see Black Flag play in New York City. It was loud and there was a “pit” of “dancers” slamming into each other on the floor. It was awesome. I originally composed Mosh for a couple of friends in 2011 as a gift. They laughed and told me, in not so many words, that they would never play it. In 2019, I made this version for wind ensemble. Oy!
• Asymmetrical Waltz: Perhaps the simplest of the movements, this waltz in 3+3+2, is structurally the most traditional of these five dances, and makes a nice palate cleanser after Mosh. In its original form, Asymmetrical Waltz was composed as part of a suite of Joyful Noises in 2010 for the Adirondack Youth Orchestra.
• Tarantasia is a fantasy-variations on original tarantella-style themes. Originally composed for alto saxophone and piano, this closing movement is a virtuoso work for band with sudden shifts in tempo, texture, and instrumentation.
Delusional Dances is neither a commission nor a request. Its total duration is approximately 18 minutes.
November 21, 2022 at the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, Potsdam, NY
Crane Wind Ensemble – Brian Doyle, conductor