For Dancing Hearts and Tunes


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For Dancing Hearts and Tunes

SATB Chorus, orchestra

Duration: 5:15

Text: John Kryder

Premiere: March, 2000 Erie County High School Chorus and Erie County Teacher’s Orchestra, Amherst, New York, Robert Isgro, conductor

October 2013: Performed by the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and Churchville Chili high School Combined Choirs

Commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the Erie County (Buffalo, NY) Music Educators Association (ECMEA) in 2000.

John Kryder’s sparkling poem, “For Dancing Hearts and Tunes,” marvelously proclaims the wonders of music. I found this poem to be perfect for the 50th anniversary celebration of one of the country’s finest group of music educators.

The work is both optimistic and festive, its moods alternating between a dance-like and lyrical spirit, which coalesce at the end in a triumphant climax. Each statement of “sing with the sun” is presented in the unison voices over a sustained tone in the orchestra. Individual words are highlighted with text painting throughout. For example, the syncopated “clap your hands” is echoed by the tambourine: “strings,” “flutes,” “drums,” “cymbals sound,” and “trumpets tell triumphant day,” are echoed by their named instruments. The voices sing a forte octave leap over “raise your voices now,” and “shout cry out” is accompanied by forteflutter tonguing in the winds. In “O even in the darkness of the night,” the section briefly switches into minor tonality immediately juxtaposed with the ensuing “you can hear the green breeze of hope” represented by an ascending French horn solo. A jazz dance section ostinato builds out of “for dazzling jazz and glad sharps.” The voices trade back and forth over this 5/4 dance, while the instruments continue to add into the climax. The majestic opening line “Sing with the Sun” is repeated three times over a sonorous orchestral forte bringing the work to a close.