Program notes

Stick Dance 1 for clarinet, marimba and piano, opus 22a (1987)

The piece draws its title from the tradition of the stick dance but also calls to mind a world of shadows and outlines especially in its use of microtones in the clarinet part. The alternation of lyricism with sudden rhythmic excitement, slow quiet glissandi and microtones, the sense of tempo which is fast and slow at the same time and the muffled, distant quality of the marimba part are typical features of the piece. The use of echoes and sudden outbursts suggest the following analogy: the music is played and danced on one hilltop whilst it is seen and heard from another. The effects of wind and cloud make the music sometimes clear and sharp, sometimes tranquil and distant.

Stick Dance exists in three versions – each is somewhat different to the other. It was originally written in 1987 for Floyd Williams (clarinet), Valerie Dickson (piano), and James Harper (marimba) to perform at the Musica Nova Festival in Brisbane in 1988. That first version was based on Shadow’s Dance (clarinet, violin, piano, 1985) which I wrote for my own playing as a clarinettist and which has since been withdrawn. Stick Dance 2 was a 1989 reworking of Stick Dance for the Musica Troppo ensemble with a scoring of clarinet, viola and piano; Stick Dance 2 was subsequently revised in 2005 for Dean-Emmerson-Dean for an international tour with the same scoring of clarinet, viola and piano.  Stick Dance 3 (clarinet, violin, piano, 1993) is another later version written for Zanfonia Trio for the Park Lane Group concerts at the Purcell Room in London in January 1993.  It should be noted that each version is more than a re-orchestration but a reworking of the original ideas and material.

© Andrew Schultz, 2012.