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Dancing With My Shadow
ostinato and 8+ players (open instrumentation) | Mount Allison New Music Ensemble | $25.00
Writing this work for the Mount Allison New Music Ensemble was a challenge mentally more than musically. Composing for a group to perform in the midst of a pandemic is almost unheard of; coming together musically will always be a pleasure for me, but I can't not acknowledge the loneliness I feel as I navigate these environments. I decided to draw on those feelings of loneliness and thought about dancing alone. Specifically, the way that one's shadow follows them and mimics their moves is a really comforting image to me—in that way, I never dance alone. The different parts in this piece mimic each other through improvisation, dancing together to the rhythm of the ostinato.
This work is written for open instrumentation: as long as all parts are covered, the piece can be played. The parts can be played by any instruments, or even by the same instruments, but consideration should be taken for the range and balance of the different parts. Octaves can be displaced if necessary, but there should still be distinction between low and high.
Ostinato: played by one percussionist or pianist, amplified if necessary. They continue playing eighth notes at q =132 for the entirety of the piece, ignoring any ensemble ritardando or fermata until the final measure of the piece, where the player(s) will start to slow down on their own time. Coming out of a fermata, the conductor should try to align with the ostinato. The ostinato follows the ensemble's dynamic level loosely. In the ostinato part, the pitch starts on Eb4 and shifts over time. For instance, from mm. 18-24, the player(s) can play Eb, F, Bb4, or D. In parts 1-4 from mm. 77-101, players are to improvise only on the notes given, unsynchronized and out of time. Black noteheads are short and white noteheads are long. At, mm. 121-122, parts 1-8 repeat Eb independently from each other, gradually softening to nothing.
Video: premiere performance by Mount Allison New Music Ensemble cond. Nicole Strum, April 2 2022, Brunton Auditorium, Mount Allison University.
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