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Dances of life and death : for wind orchestra

by Ross Edwards (2017)

Work Overview

I. Ecstatic Dance
Ecstatic Dance began life as a miniature flute duet which I later expanded and arranged for many different combinations. Radiant and persistently rhythmic, I intended it simply as a joyful affirmation of life.

II. Chorale
Remote and serene, the Chorale resembles a slow, stately dance whose pensive melodic line evolves gently over a ground bass. In versions for string quartet and orchestra it is paired with the Ecstatic Dance as Chorale and Ecstatic Dance.

III. The Dance of Life and Death
This dance, which has been extracted from my Fifth Symphony, depicts a wild mythological female dancing naked on a corpse and wielding a short, curved sword to cut through all conceptual ideas. Unfettered instinct is at play here - the life force as represented by such universal images as the dancing Hindu goddess Kali and the frenzied Dionysian Maenads of Greek mythology - terrifying symbols of both the fecundity and destructive power of Mother Nature. A driving rhythm adapted from rock music invites us to break free and energize ourselves in the ecstatic world of the senses.

Work Details

Year: 2017

Instrumentation: Piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 3 clarinets in Bb (3 doubling bass clarinet), alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in Bb, 2 trombones, bass trombone, 2 tubas, timpani, percussion (3 players), harp, piano, string bass.

Duration: 18 min.

Contents note: I. Ecstatic Dance -- II. Chorale -- III. The Dance of Life and Death.

Written for: John Lynch, Sydney Conservatorium Wind Symphony

Performances of this work

23 Nov 2019: at Australian Stories (Concordia College Chapel). Featuring Adelaide Wind Orchestra, Bryan Griffiths.

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