Date: 1979, revised 2020
Instrumentation: Concert Band
Difficulty: level 5, medium advanced
Dance Etudes, composed in 1979, was commissioned for Festliche Musiktage Uster 1981. The international festival had been held in Uster, Switzerland, a sizeable town in the canton of Zürich, every four years between 1956 and 1999. Its purpose was to promote the performance and study of wind music. Along with symposia led by experts in the field, the weekend-long festival offered three concerts of five works each for both concert band and brass band. The emphasis on the call for music was on moderate difficulty, providing for broader performance opportunities throughout the wind music community worldwide.
The original version of the piece was conceived with this spirit in mind. The 2020 version was expanded to include instruments rarely found in smaller bands. The original had no timpani or mallet percussion parts. Piano especially was added for color; and, for example, those passages for mallet percussion and piano in the second section of the work were incorporated for exactly that reason.
The piece is in the form of a four-movement symphony, with all four movements contained within one large movement and played without pause. The architecture of the original was preserved, and each of the four large sections that comprise the piece was treated to considerable expansion. Examples from prior festivals revealed a leaning toward folkish elements, and Dance Etudes was composed with an ear toward that particular appeal.
The premier performance was played by Stabsmusikkorps der Bundeswehr, conducted by Andreas Lukacsy.