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the dancer leads the procession

for piano

Year:  1999   ·  Duration:  9m

Year:  1999
Duration:  9m

Nigel Keay

Composer:   Nigel Keay

Films, Audio & Samples

Nigel Keay: the dancer lead...

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Nigel Keay: the dancer lead...

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Sample Score

Sample: pp 1-8

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the dancer leads the procession was written for Jeffrey Grice while I was living in Caen in 1999, shortly after I had moved to France. I began working on the material for the dancer as long ago as 1989. This initial inspiration, founded on the sounds and structure of the Javanese Gamelan, was linked to a specific event.

In 1984, when in Java, I had attended a traditional-style wedding ceremony. At the start, the marriage couple were led into the venue by a dancer accompanied by the gamelan who were already installed there. The couple were young, but the dancer could have been in his fifties; he was obviously a master of his art. The trio moved very slowly passing at one stage directly in front of the Gamelan. The dancer's style was extremely graceful and refined, with many slowly moving expressive gestures of the arms and hands. When directly in front of the Gamelan the dancer turned toward the musicians for a few seconds, and instantly his style of dance changed into something quite different. Frenetically indulging in all the off-beats, he was grooving along with it. Everybody loved this brief and direct acknowledgment to the musicians, and didn't hesitate to show their enthusiasm. The dancer then returned to the previous style and carried on with the procession moving away from the Gamelan. I remained fascinated by this particular concept of a multi-levelled music and wanted to reflect the idea in the dancer without emulating specific Gamelan techniques. There seemed to be two elements, one representing the long range cycles marked by the large gongs (the slow graceful dance style), and the other of the bustling upper instruments with the constant hocketing.

Dedication note

to Jeffrey Grice

Contents note

one movement

Performance history

14 Apr 2003: Performed by Jeffrey Grice (piano)

14 Feb 2007: Piano in Paris

Keay: the dancer leads the procession; cassette

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