Thea Dances

for clarinet, bassoon, horn, two violins, viola, cello and double bass

Ian Stephens

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for clarinet, bassoon, horn, two violins, viola, cello and double bass

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Composer Ian Stephens
Year of Composition 2013
Duration ca.20'
ISMN 9790570680337
Student Difficulty int-adv
Categories (all composers) , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-is1td1


I was commissioned to write Thea Dances  in 2012 by Gina Fullerlove, whose aunt was Dame Thea King (1925-2007), ‘the doyenne of English clarinettists’. The piece was commissioned with funds from Thea’s estate, and is dedicated to the memory of Thea King and her husband Frederick Jack Thurston (1901-1953), also a clarinettist of worldwide renown.

Gina, an excellent horn player, asked for a piece that used the same instruments that Schubert had written for in his Octet of 1824. I’ve played the Schubert Octet both on the cello and the bass, and I was delighted to be given an opportunity to write a large-scale piece for this versatile combination.

In addition, Gina asked if I’d be able to allude in some way to Thea and Jack within the music, though she left it up to me how I was to go about this. Throughout the piece I’ve used a melodic motif derived from the name ‘Thea’. In sol-fa, ‘te’ equates to the note B in a C major scale. H, in German usage, is B natural. E and A speak for themselves. So this gives the theme B-B-E-A. This is worked thoroughly into the fabric of the piece, and has a large impact on many of its harmonic and melodic characteristics.

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