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Saltatio et Saltatus, Op. 15

for string quartet

Year:  2004   ·  Duration:  21m 40s
Instrumentation:  2 violins, viola, cello

Year:  2004
Duration:  21m 40s
Instrumentation  2 violins, viola, cello


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Saltatio et Saltatus Dancing (female) and Dancing (male)

There are many reasons to dance and as many for a dance. Each of the three movements is centred on different aspects of dance. This work could be choreographed as a ballet, either as individual movements or as a complete work.

The first movement Allegro is the energetic throbbing dance of youth with its forward motion, which every so often becomes checked and momentarily questioned or slows down dance until the energy is recharged and refocused of youthful exploits, pulsating, ecstatic and joyful, with the occasional hint of reflection and of the youthful playground; of the hurdy-gurdy and the helter-skelter of dance itself.

The second movement Adagio is the dance of reflection, of recognition, of contemplation, of sadness and death, the dance of the morning after and of memories that eventually recede. References to Shostakovich are made as he danced his way around or through the USSR authorities.

The third movement has several sections, which embodies the dance of the puppeteer, as the various strings are pulled conveying differing moods and mirrors, but again ending in the playground of life.

a swirl of smoke solidifies and stills
the scent of rain echoes aloft
foot drums whisper
rumble then roar
words become song
swelling above the pulse
as shadows start to stir
curving in rhythm
individual and at one
cadences sweep skyward
sound, sight, and song
merge in movement
until.., at last
the drums quieten and stillness returns
leaving only the will-o ‘-the-wisp dressed in rain
still dancing

Poem: The Dance by Glynne MacLean (a former pupil)

Difficulty note

Suitable for tertiary students and professionals

Contents note

in three movements:
l. Allegro
ll. Adagio
lll. Moderato – Allegro – Moderato – Molto Allegro