Elegy, Waltz, and Polka

originally for gamelan
also arranged for cello quintet

premiered May 9, 2004 by the Harvey Mudd American Gamelan:
Bill Alves, Katherine Hagedorn, Pete Steele, Darryl Yong, Julie Simon, Toby St. Clair,
Microfest 2003, Claremont, California

cello quintet version arranged for and premiered by the Los Angeles Violoncello Quintet
October 30, 2004, Pasadena, California

Elegy, the first of these pieces, is not intended to refer to a particular loss, but it was written in the aftermath of the Madrid train bombings and many subsequent politically motivated deaths. It seems that the daily news found its way into the piece, which, in the manner of an elegy, projects brooding resignation, dark futility, and grim determination, tempered by brighter, nostalgic moments.

Upon completion it seemed to need a companion piece, though it was unclear what. When I jokingly asked my wife Cindy "What’s the opposite of an elegy?" she suggested, without missing a beat, "a Polka?" The resulting last movement, possibly the first polka ever written for gamelan, seemed too jarring to immediately follow the Elegy, so there is a short Waltz to prepare us for the unbridled spirit of the Polka..

Although the set makes an odd sort of sense to me, the movements may be played separately, possibly to their advantage.

Elegy, Waltz, and Polka was written for Bill Alves and the members of the Harvey Mudd American Gamelan.