These dances where written at the request of the executive director of CityMusic Cleveland. They are based and inspired by North and Sub-Saharan African Dances in addition to a reimagining of fairy tales. There are 8 movements making this the biggest project I've ever composed. This quintet may also be performed as a String Orchestra ensemble.
I - There is a story about a man named Alexander Dynis (Deniz) who is believed to have ended up in Ruthenia (modern day Ukraine) as a PoW when the Ottomans invaded the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Not much is known about his early life but we do know is that eventually afterwards he was granted the position of Starosta (town mayor/landlord) of Kozieglowy (Poland) by the Bishop of Krakow. He is the only Black starosta that we know of to this day. His story is interesting and is the basis of this movement and was inspired by the soundtrack of a game called "Hellish Quart."
II - This movement is a dance of ritual which emphasizes the different pitch intonations of the human voices hence the dissonant harmonies. Imagine walking through the savannah and hearing these voices but you are unsure of their intentions. This dance is heavy and percussive.
III - This movement is of a young woman who is kidnapped by the Vikings and dreams of escaping captivity.
IV - There are 3 distinct motives for this movement which combine to create a battle - like scene, those being the 6 quarter note triplets, the rhythmic motive, and the driving 16th notes.
V - I wanted to create the sounding of the natural horns of the Ancient and Classical Eras and to combine them with a retelling of the "Little Red Riding Hood." Her journey begins upon hearing these horns and prompted to ride out to begin her quest.
VI/VII/VIII - These movements where edited from my "Death Waltzes for the Living." There are hidden titles for number 6 and 7: "Loss of Mind" and "Hospital." These waltzes are a reimagining of Cinderella's life but instead of her story playing out as we know it, she suffers a psychotic break and is transported into our world and rushed to the hospital.
The final movement concludes the piece with a Dance of Death. I have had many close encounters with permanent oblivion and the result of this is what I call "Hitchcock Horror" harmonic language. These encounters supplimented with the dreams of the unconscious realm create an uneasy dance that ends almost as abruptly as they begin.
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