Three Dance Fantasies (2011)

for alto saxophone and piano.  dur: 12'

i. Tarantella Fantasy

ii. Tango Fantasy

iii. Polka Fantasy

Program Notes: Three Dance Fantasies was written in part as a vehicle for a good performer to shine.  Each movement is loosely inspired by a different folk dance but does not adhere strictly to the rules of that dance -- the movements are not meant to be danceable.  The Tarantella, which inspires the first movement, is a folk dance originating from Taranto, Italy, where, according to legend, frenetic dancing was once used as a folk remedy for the bite of a tarantula spider-- one would try to “dance out” the venom.  It is a fast dance in compound meter (typically 6/8 or 9/8 time).  The second movement is rooted in the dance form of tango, which first appeared in Argentina and has come to be associated with a lusty game of seduction between partners.  It is typically in 4/4 time signature at moderate tempo and is characterized by specific syncopated rhythms where the first, fourth, and the second half of the second beats are emphasized.  Finally, the polka originated as a Czech peasant dance and is characterized by the “half-step,” where one steps lightly from one foot to another.  It is typically a boisterous, upbeat dance in 2/4 time characterized by emphasis on the first three eighth notes of the measure followed by an eighth rest.  The final movement incorporates some elements of polka, but twists and mangles them into a frenzied finale.