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John Corigliano

June 7, 2010

On our February concert, we will perform John Corigliano's Two Tarantellas. In light of this, this write-up on his Gazebo Dances by the Composers Datebook through American Public Media might prove to be very interesting to some of you.

 

Gazebo Dances (originally written for piano four hands) includes, as its last movement, a tarantella, that precedes the one found in his Symphony No. 1. These two tarantellas, both of which have been arranged for band, make up the two tarantellas that will be performed in February.

 

Merriam-Webster's defines a "gazebo" as "a freestanding roofed structure usually open on the sides," and suggests the word's etymology might derive from the combination of the word "gaze" plus the Latin verb ending "-ebo" resulting in "gaze-ebo" or "I shall gaze."

 

To most Americans, however, "gazebo" conjures up warm, summer days spent out-of-doors: if you imagine yourself inside a gazebo, you're probably enjoying a cool beverage while gazing out at the greenery; or, if you fancy yourself outside one, you're probably seated in a lawn chair, gazing at a group of gazebo-sheltered band musicians playing a pops concert for your entertainment.

 

In the early 1970’'s, the American composer John Corigliano wrote a series of whimsical four-hand piano dances he dedicated to certain of his pianist friends, and later arranged these same pieces for concert band, entitling the resulting suite Gazebo Dances.

 

"The title," explained Corigliano, "was suggested by the pavilions often seen on village greens in towns throughout the countryside, where public band concerts are given in the summer. The delights of that sort of entertainment are portrayed in this set of dances, which begins with a Rossini-like 'Overture,' followed by a rather peg-legged 'Waltz,' a long-lined 'Adagio,' and a bouncy 'Tarantella.'"

 

The concert band version of Corigliano's Gazebo Dances was first performed in Indiana on today's date in 1973, by the University of Evansville Wind Ensemble, with Robert Bailey conducting.

 

Tarantella from Symphony No. 1

 

Tarantella from Gazebo Dances

 

 

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