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.

Bruce Crossman “Dancing Deep Sadness” Concierto de apertura “Terra Australis Incognita” “Festival Puente” IV versión 2022 Liceo Politécnico de Concón, Chile 15-11-2022

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)

Dancing Deep-Sadness performed (see: 1:01:52) by Luis José Recart Echenique (conductor) and Orquesta Marga Marga at Festival Puente, Liceo Politécnico, Concón, Valparaíso, Chile on 15 November 2022 (Photo: Vincent Tay & Orquesta Marga Marga)

“Highlights of this concert (attended by Concón mayor Freddy Ramírez Villalobos) included the highly emotive and figurative expressiveness of Crossman’s Dancing Deep Sadness”

Andrián Pertout, in “A Latin American Adventure with an Australian Presence,” Resonate, Australian Music Centre, 20 December 2022
Dancing Deep-Sadness performed by Luis José Recart Echenique (conductor) and Orquesta Marga Marga at 2022 Festival Puente

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