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Commissioned by, and dedicated to, Garwood Whaley and the Bishop Ireton Wind Ensemble, Dance Toccata combines continuous rhythmic motion, varied textures and colors, and motives imbued with strong dance-like features in a work that is energetic and bold. Though the underlying current of pulsation is hardly ever interrupted, there are also layers of relaxed, undulating melodic materials suspended above the pulsation to create a contrasting lyricism in the work. The first example of such lyricism is heard in a series of canonic entries featuring solo statements by the oboe, clarinet and alto saxophones.
The structure of the work resembles a broad arch with a coda. Just past the midpoint of the work, the lyrical statement returns in the woodwind and brass instruments, providing a brief sense of relaxation, as if the music is winding down from the rhythmic persistence with which it so strongly identifies. Throughout the course of the work, there is a dialogue and an intentional ambiguity between major and minor sonorities, which ultimately becomes more strongly major near the conclusion. As the music presses forward into the coda, layers that remind the listener of all the prominent materials of the work are present. Past this point, the music becomes increasingly extroverted, spirited and joyful as it surges toward release.
- Frederick Speck
Clarinet 1, 2, 3
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Contrabass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone 1/2
Bb Trumpet 1, 2, 3
F Horn 1/2
F Horn 3/4
Percussion 1 (field drum, small snare drum, tambourine, medium suspended cymbal, large suspended cymbal)
Percussion 2 (bass drum, xylophone, tambourine)
Percussion 3 (medium suspended cymbal, tambourine, vibraphone, temple blocks)
Percussion 4 (temple blocks, marimba, tambourine, crash cymbals)
Percussion 5 (gong, woodblocks, suspended cymbal)