Instrumentation: Clarinet, Viola, Double Bass
When NOW Ensemble was first getting off the ground, we had a "mixed bag" concert, featuring works for various instrumental combinations. Summer Dances was the new work on that program, written as a celebration of spontaneous summer music-making - both the concert and the piece came together on very short notice. The combination of instruments was chosen from a limited group of players who were on hand and available in New Haven that summer, but the ensemble is very well-balanced and fun to write for. I had recently returned from the Catskill Mountains when I began the work, and the first movement is a musical response to a favorite swimming hole (this is the sort of thing that I don't usually do). The second movement is an homage to the heat of summer, which we each year eventually learn to accept, and possibly even enjoy. The third movement is a preposterous romp that imagines the consequences of purchasing a robotic moyl, who in this case eventually gets out of control, with unspoken consequences. Yiddishkeit, indeed.