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Dance Me Through the Panic

    CHAMBER MUSIC viola quintet
    solo viola, 2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello

    Duration: ca. 20 minutes
    Composed: 1996

    Programme Note: Dance Me Through the Panic was commissioned by Rivka Golani, to whom it is dedicated, and Le Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc.  A grant from the Canada Council for the Arts made the work possible.

    The title comes from a poem called “Dance Me to the End of Love” by Leonard Cohen, which I found set to a series of Matisse cutouts in a book of the same name.  The “panic” as it applies to my piece refers to the anxiety of separation: either the physical separation from familiar people and things, or the perceived shortfall between accomplishments and aspirations, ideas and their fulfillment.

    The 20 minute piece was written between February and August of 1996 and has 5 movements:
    I     Sorrow and Distance
    II    Palpitations
    III    Interlude
    IV    Pas de Cinq
    V    Into. . .merging. . .   

    The odd-numbered movements are slow and the even-numbered movements are fast.  Throughout the work the viola is featured as a solo instrument.

    Premiere: First performance by Rivka Golani and le Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc, Jane Mallett Theatre, Toronto , Feb. 26, 1998

    Kelly-Marie Murphy, composer