Upside Dances

ENS.098 | 4.13.08-4.15.08 | 9’

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Upside Dances

  1. Stumbling Dance
  2. Running Dance

Timothy Andres, for whom this work was written, thought the movement order was Running Dance and then Stumbling Dance, which is a lot funnier and better and more optimistic and I wish I’d thought of that. But it’s too late, it can’t work that way because structurally this is my first symmetrical piece, featuring a variation form where melodic cells are assigned harmonies according to a system of nested musical boxes that revolve around each other, changing in aspect each time like a Calder mobile, and reversing the order of the movements would fuck that up. Also, it begins moderately and quietly and gets faster and louder and then sparser again at the end, which is always nice. The two movements mirror each other but also interlock, so that the end of Stumbling Dance reappears transformed at the beginning of Running Dance, and musical ideas are shared in both movements. One of my favorite things about this variation form of mine is there’s no fundamental version of each little theme; everything is a variation of a variation, like different translations of a poem originally written in a language you can’t read. Hopefully the musical language of Upside Dances – the title means what you think it means – is a language that’s not too hard to understand and enjoy; this is more what Graham Greene called an ‘entertainment’ than some dark rumbling from the chthonic deeps of the pianistic repertoire.