Dances and Chorales

for two violins and electronics

Rob Fokkens

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for two violins and electronics

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Composer Rob Fokkens
Year of Composition 2018
Duration ca.21'

Categories (all composers) , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-rf1dac1


I. Chorale I
II. Dervish
III. Chorale II
IV. Nyanga Dance
V. Chorale III
VI. Danza dei bisonti

Dances and Chorales is a work for two violins and live electronics developed with Retorica over a number of years through both our various on-going musical collaborations and a sequence of workshops and partial performances.

The piece juxtaposes – unsurprisingly – movements which reference various types of dance-related music with a set of chorales. Dervish plays with a set of mostly fast-paced musical ideas, some of which suggest a Middle Eastern provenance, and Nyanga Dance references a communal music from Mozambique in which members of the community sing, play small sets of pipes, and breathe rhythmically in hocketted patterns, whilst also dancing. Both movements use electronic live looping with the Sooperlooper software. Danza dei bisonti was originally a shorter piece for two bassoons which was premiered in London in 2007, and subsequently arranged for two violins after Retorica requested the work for a programme which they presented at the Odessa (Ukraine) “Two days, and Two nights festival” in 2008. The title, which translates from Italian as ‘dance of the bisons’ – relates to the remarkable gifts Retorica have displayed in their vocalisations, which have become a key part of the larger piece throughout the development process. This piece has also been substantially re-worked since inclusion in the larger work.

All of the chorales explore the same musical materials, which are layered and processed differently each time using the Ableton Live software.