ed. John Michael Cooper

  • Piano
  • 3 min

Programme Note

By genre, the Tarantella is the iconic folk dance of Southern Italy and Italians everywhere of southern-Italian provenance, a vernacular idiom that is also frequently used in concert music ranging from Chopin, Gottschalk, and Liszt through Mendelssohn (the third theme in the last movement of the "Italian" Symphony). In modern times it is a couples' dance wherein one couple is surrounded by a ring of other dancers, but popular legend — discredited, but perhaps not known to Price as discredited — has it that the dance was to cure the toxic bite of the tarantula. In concert music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the tarantella is always rapid and features running scales that lead to strong punctuating chords — as seen in the Price composition presented here. The work is in the rondo over A – B – A – Coda form typical of dance movements in concert music, with the central section being in the parallel major and presenting a lyrical theme first as a solo melody and then as a harmonized duet in parallel thirds over a more relaxed, but still rapid accompaniment.

— John Michael Cooper