ensemble baroque violin, gamba, and harpsichord
duration 13 minutes
written spring 2010
commissioned by Flying Forms
premièred February 11, 2008, Stony Brook, NY
published by Andres & Sons Bakery
Until recently, I’ve had very few experiences in the world of period instruments or historical performance practice, so when Marie Dalby asked me to write a piece for her baroque trio, I was a bit at sea. Listening to Marais and Buxtehude recordings, I immediately grew enamored of the “straight-tone” quality of the string playing, as well as the refined sense of gesture evident in the dance movements.
Talking About Dancing is part suite, part conversation, part theme and variations. Initially, the instruments breathe together in drawn-out versions of Baroque figurations, which are first ornamented and later stripped down. The music becomes more repetitive and mechanistic, finally winding itself down altogether in short spasms.