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"…a dance record playing of Old Vienna" - a fragment from poet Louis MacNiece's ironic, off key parody "Bagpipe Music" - led me to naively ask myself just what might "a dance record playing of Old Vienna" be playing? Well, with such a variety of music to choose from I thought this "dance record" would be playing music from fin d'siecle Vienna - the end of the 19th C. through the beginning of the 20th C.
The music is all original or as original as I can make it and there are no intentional quotes from existing music. My melodies and fragments of melodies come and go continually - introducing themselves at first in identifiable contexts and later returning in rather unexpected contexts. Perhaps, during the performance you will recognize the "Es war einmal" (once upon a time) introduction, then a soft Schatten Waltz,
tiny Tyrolean yodel, a Landler, lots of Viennese expressionism, a 9/8 waltz, a snatch of string quartet and at the end a tear-in-the-eye endlosse Melodie played by an off-stage flugelhorn. All this, hopefully, comes fancifully together to suggest a little childhood Marchen of turn of the centruy Alt Wien.
"Annie MacDougal went to milk, caught her foot in the heather,
Woke to hear a dance record playing of Old Vienna."
(from Bagpipe Music by Louis MacNiece, Random House 1937)
The commission and premier performance of "…a dance record playing of Old Vienna"
was partially subsidized by a grant from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University.
First performance Hadyn Chamber Orchestra of London, 1995
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