SONG AND DANCE (1997) Op.44

Opus number: 44

Title: Song and Dance

Instrumentation: 1-1-1-1;1-1-1-0; solo strings: 2-1-1-1

Date written: 1996, Boston

Length: twenty minutes

Commissioner and dedicatee: Fred Cohen for Currents

Premiere performance: Fred Cohen for Currents, University of Richmond, Virginia, March 21, 1997, Richmond, Virginia

Important subsequent performances: November 21, 1999, Boston Conservatory Wind Ensemble, Larry Bell, conductor.

Recording: CD in progress with the Maravian Philharmonic, Joel Suben, condcutor; tape of Boston performance at Boston Conservatory library

Program notes: “Song and Dance” was commissioned by Fred Cohen for his Currents ensemble at the University of Richmond. Written during the last two weeks of 1996, it was completed on New Years’ Eve 1997. The work is scored for an ensemble of thirteen soloists: woodwind quartet, brass trio, string quintet, and piano.

The titles of the work’s four movements–First Dance, Sing-a-long, Call and Response, and Last Dance–give the listener a sense of the popular style, or vernacular idiom, that influenced the composition. The titles also suggest a kind of participation asked of the listener; an invitation to sing and dance with the performers.

The phrase Song and Dance can also mean a put-on, something not quite what it appears to be. This “Song and Dance” is partly wistful, partly comic, playfully criss-crossing the border between seriousness and fun.