Albert de la Fuente

FANTASTIC DANCES, for orchestra, Op.1

Instrumentation

Piccolo & 2 flutes, 2 oboes (II=english horn), 2 clarinets & bass clarinet, 2 bassoons

4 Horns, 3 trumpets in C, 2 trombones & bass trombone, tuba

Timpani, percussion (3 players)*, piano (=celesta), harp

Strings

*Percussionist 1: Kit (cowbell, suspended cymbal, snare drum, high tom, medium tom, tenor drum). Percussionists 2 and 3: Triangle, glockenspiel, xilophone, ratchet, 2 temple blocks (high and low), tambourine, bass drum, tam-tam.

About the piece

This is a suite in four movements originally written for solo piano in 2015. Although the symphonic potential of the music was evident to me from the beginning, at that time I thought I wasn’t ready to orchestrate it. In 2023, the suite was thoroughly revised and orchestrated.

“Hunt”, the first movement, is dense, frenetic and full of rhythmic intricacies. Initially inspired by the asymmetric rhythms of Bulgarian music, this unrelenting movement won’t give the listener a single moment of respite until the very end.

In contrast, “Ironies,” the second movement, is comical and tongue-in-cheek, with playful melodies and unexpected harmonies. The central episode provides a contrast with tense passages reminiscent of the character of the first movement, although humor will soon prevail.

“Charm”, the third movement, is slow and enigmatic, offering moments of apparent calm although the jagged nature of the rhythms gives it a certain instability. The central episode, based on the guitar open string chord, offers a small break, although it will eventually lead to a massive climax before returning to the character of the beginning.

“Witche’s Sabbath”, the fourth movement, brings the suite to a vibrant conclusion, with a lively and sardonically festive character that incorporates strong folk influences. It’s conceived as a free monothematic sonata form. It begins with an introduction and a boisterous first theme, but will be followed by a cold and robotic second theme. The central development culminates in a fugue where the potential of all the motifs of the piece are squeezed to the limit. After an abbreviated recapitulation, the final coda brings the movement, and the entire suite, to a frenzied conclusion.

In general, this suite wishes to be a witness to the rich and varied traditions of classical music, and aims at not leaving anyone indifferent.

Listen