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This set of pieces follows on from two previous works written for groups of students at New Plymouth Boys' High School (occasionally joined by students from the city's Girls' High School). The previous works were Undercurrent (2008) and Kristallnacht (2009). In each case the works were tailored to a specific group of students, for performance in the national chamber music competition.
Imagined Dances is a set of four pieces using traditional dance forms. The first is the slow and stately sarabands from the Baroque period. This dance form has a tendency to accentuate the second beat of the bar, and in this sarabande there is a constant shift from major to minor and back again. The second dance is Argentina's tango - a seductive and sensual dance with its distinctive accompaniment rhythm heard first in the guitar. The third dance is a fast waltz, although in the middle the energy slackens off a little for a while before resuming its hectic pace through to the last bar.
The final piece of the set is titled Mexicana and doesn't use any specific dance form, but does use rhythms typical of Mexican folk music and dances, especially the huapango with tis mix of duple and triple rhythms. It is lively and repetitive piece which dashes to the end of the cycle at top speed.
Imagined Dances was written for, and is dedicated to, Jocelyn Beath who retired as Head of Music at New Plymouth Boys' High School at the end of 2009.
It was previously been performed in the Schools' Chamber Music Contest.
Written for and dedicated to Jocelyn Beath