Dancing Deep-Sadness details

Orquesta Marga Marga in Chile (Photo: FOMM: Marga Marga Orchestra Foundation)

Dancing Deep-Sadness for string orchestra (2022)

string chamber orchestra:

dedication note:

Luis José Recart Echenique (conductor and artistic director) and Orquesta Marga Marga, Valparaíso, Chile

program note

Dancing Deep-Sadness was developed for the Orquesta Marga Marga in Chile during a time of sadness for me, after the passing of my father before the chaos of the worldwide pandemic numbed emotions. The music works as a type of sad emotional residue in its static chromatic sonorities where hints of dance energies—Afro-Cuban salsa son clave and free-jazz energy—crash into distilled spectrums of interval-rich clusters and shimmer chords in slow slabs of sound, inspired by the ritualised stasis of Japanese Gagaku music. The living life thread through these oppositions is a changing timbre coloured solo viola line inflected with Korean gayageum-like rough ‘inside-the-note’ colour changes that gradually accelerando to an intensification dance moment and then rallentando to almost nothing, ended by a sudden salsa flourish. Its musical form is an intensification structure inspired by Korean gayageum sanjo—an accelerating instrumental duo form. My music uses contrasts of salsa-derived dance material against linear colour-inflected line within periodic spacings of gagaku-derived slow stasis cluster richness that accrue motif elaborations and speed towards a rhythmic dance intensification golden section point, and then dissipates back to a slow stasis. Hints of cluster underpin the dance; whilst touches of dance underpin the clusters to interrelate sections. Formally it is: A (a1+a2), A’, A’’ (b), 1/A’, B, A’’’, A’’’’ (dance), A’’’’’, B (a1+a2), A’’ (b), B (a1+a2). The salsa and gagaku harmonies sit statically frozen around sonority centres whilst the music intensifies and passes as if life and sorrow had passed through the sound.

Figure 1: Dancing Deep-Sadness, bars 1-4

first performance:

Dancing Deep-Sadness was commissioned by Dr. Andrián Pertout for the 2022 PUENTE Festival Interoceánico: Encuentro interoceánico de culturas (2022 BRIDGE Interoceanic Festival: Interoceanic Meeting of Cultures), Valparaíso, Chile, 14 November 2022

score available from

Australian Music Centre


Bruce Crossman within the inspiring Mulgoa Nature Reserve in Western Sydney (photo: Colleen Crossman)

Luis José Recart Echenique (conductor) and Orquesta Marga Marga at Festival Puente, Liceo Politécnico, Concón, Valparaíso, Chile on 15 November 2022 (Photos: Orquesta Marga Marga)

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