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Composition has always been an important part of my life, along with publishing, bookselling , and writing about music. Partly because of those other activities, but also because I’m a very slow worker, my list of compositions is small.
Sketches for the Dance Trio date back very many years, but serious work started on it about fifteen years ago when my cousin, Carlo Ballara, who had worked on a much earlier Violin Sonata of mine, and liked it, asked for a Trio which he could play with his Trio. Although the music is quite demanding to play I intend it to be as entertaining for the players as for the listeners. It is not deliberately written in any style other than my own, but I think it probably reflects those composers I particularly admire, such as Britten, Bach, Lilburn (of course) and in the middle movement Purcell. There is also, in the rhythms and perhaps the harmony, an awareness of jazz.
The first movement is in a fairly straight-forward Sonata form, the slow movement is a series of variations over a ground bass on a song from my song cycle Waiata Aroha. The third movement is, in effect, a two part invention in which the two string players are teamed against the piano. The title, Dance Trio, is intended as a hint to players that this is an extrovert piece where rhythm is vital. It also conveys the suggestion that this is a piece that I can imagine being danced to; so if anyone wants to dance to it, go ahead and do so!
Suitable for the NZCT Chamber Music Contest