I gave Decadance its title in an innumerate state of mind, in which I simply miscounted the number of parts it has; I only remembered to count the five wind parts and the five string parts, and forgot the percussion and piano.  I counted ten, and it is a set of dances, hence the title, along with the obvious play on words referring to “decadence.”  Since there are actually 12 parts in the ensemble, it is obviously misnamed.  Nevertheless, I didn’t want to name it Dodecadance, for fear someone would think it is a serial composition.  So I stuck with the original title.

Decadance is a set of three dance movements borrowing from old and newer styles.  The first movement, “Bossa Blue,” alternates between 8- and 7-beat patters, and has a distinct blues flavor, with some moderately pointillistic elements .  I think of it as a bent bossa, both rhythmically and harmonically.  The second movement, “Courante,” is modeled after a common member of the 17th– and 18th-century dance suite, the French courante, with its shifting accents (between two groups of three and three groups of two),  lyrical character and blurring of edges and textures.  The third movement, “Cartoon Choreography,” is a kaleidoscopic mixture of watusi and disco, with infrequent elements of boogie-woogie, fox trot, and warped jazz, and nary a serious moment.  Think of some cartoon characters, sitting around the set after a hard day of shooting film and violating the laws of physics, who decide to dance awhile.  They run into each other and aren’t hurt, they suspend impossibly long in the air after leaping off tables, and one dance melds into another in metamorphic madness….  Until at last, they all collapse in a heap.


I.  Bossa Blue    [esplayer url=”http://www.philshackleton.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/I.-Bossa-Blue-EQ.mp3″ width=”200″ height=”20″]

II.  Courante      [esplayer url=”http://www.philshackleton.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/II.-Courante-EQ.mp3″ width=”200″ height=”20″]

III.  Cartoon Choreography     [esplayer url=”http://www.philshackleton.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/III.-Cartoon-Choreography-EQ.mp3″ width=”200″ height=”20″]

for chamber orchestra:   Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, F Horn, Violins I and II, Viola, Cello, Bass, Piano, two Percussionsts (or one really busy one)

Decadence was recorded by the Claremont Chamber Orchestra, and has been performed by the Azusa Pacific University Chamber Orchestra.  It can be performed with the five wind players, strings from or more (ideal is approximately, a pianist, and percussion.