Commissioned by the University College, Cardiff

  • 2 pianos
  • 3(pic)33(bcl)3(cbn)/432+btbn.1/timp.3perc/
  • 12 min

Programme Note

BASSE DANSE for two pianos (1970)

This 12-minute work was commissioned by University College, Cardiff, and is dedicated to Ian Bruce, with whom I gave the first performance in January 1971. The basic idea came from the renaissance dance type, which had as its basis a two-part form, one part slow and the other quick - it was often the case that the second part was a quicker version (sometimes simply at double speed) of the first.

These ideas became somewhat changed in my piece, but the relationships between the various sections are of a similar kind, with the basic pulse remaining the same throughout the work. After a short, quick introduction, there is a slow section (containing a kind of scherzo-like middle part) and a final quick "movement", closing with a return to the opening introduction. It might be added that although the work was commissioned and written for two pianos, once I started composing it I found myself increasingly determined to make an orchestral version of it, which was done in 1973. I hope that I have reflected in this music both the dance element and a certain degree of forthrightness characteristic of the Middle Ages.

© 1991 by John McCabe


Basse Danse
Basse danse