Four Short Dances (2003)

Four Short Dances for flute and clarinet


Joanna and Kennen White, flute and clarinet respectively, are my colleagues at CMU. They were preparing a release party for their CD Flights of Fancy and wanted a few new things to perform. They commissioned me to write a piece, stressing (I paraphrase here) they liked flashy stuff, but not to get TOO crazy because they had limited rehearsal time. Also, they liked slow, lyrical passages as well. Oh, and let them show off a bit, because their parents would be in the audience. (Sheesh!) This request demanded multiple short movements and, great recycler that I am, I chose this opportunity to indulge my already-present desire to investigate a traditional Baroque dance suite from a modern standpoint. Originally titled Five Short Dances, I cut it down to four due to time constraints. The Allemande, Sarabande and Gigue all use classic elements of their respective forms, put into updated melodic and harmonic settings. The freer Air gave them their desired lyrical music within the framework of flip-flopped roles: here, the clarinet is way up in the altissimo register, while the flute is breathy and sonorous below.  Four Short Dances was recorded by the Crescent Duo on the CD Woodwind Echoes for White Pine Music.

(Available from C. Alan Publications)