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Deep Funk, Pt. 2  Dance Sonata for Solo Viola

As a bass clarinetist, the Bach cello suites are my favorite repertoire to practice, especially the D Minor suite; they are unbelievably constructed, and thrilling to perform, like a puzzle with a new solution every time I work on them. The concept of such ornate and developed recital music evolving from dance patterns has long been a fascination for me. My first composition in this mold was IN A DEEP FUNK: DANCE SET FOR CONTRABASSOON, which is exactly as the title suggests.

During her years at Curtis, Mara Gearman was principal violist of the Haddonfield Symphony (now Symphony In C), where I was bass clarinetist and composer-in-residence. In her senior year, Mara offered that if I wrote her a solo piece, she'd perform it on her graduation recital. When we met to go over some rough ideas, Mara opened her case and started playing the Bach D Minor suite. With all the viola music in the world, when Mara spontaneously started playing the same Bach suite that I gravitate towards, I knew we had a meeting of the minds, and that I had to write another dance suite in the mold of IN A DEEP FUNK.

The slightly different title DEEP FUNK, PT. 2 is a reference to the many James Brown songs with PT. 2 in the title, and the 4 movements again are a developed recital piece emanating from dance rhythms. There are also many "Tonic dim7" to "Tonic major" chord progressions throughout, a reference to one of George Harrison's favorite recurring fingerprints, paying homage to one of my great inspirations who had died just before I began work on the suite.

last updated February 20, 2020