Danse of the Wooden Toys was written as part of the Duo Rodina Songbook project, but also composed specifically with two high school students in mind … one a private percussion student of mine and the other, my clarinetist daughter. The overall form of the piece is a rondo – A B A C A – with each of the individual sections typically containing two or more phrases. The danse (or dance) begins immediately with a solo statement by the clarinet, followed by a complementary response in the percussion. These two voices then join together to present the A theme as a duo, completing the initial refrain. The first episode begins in measure 25 with a lyrical line in the clarinet which is then repeated an octave lower. This B section is then extended with an embellished (or dance-like) version of this lyrical episode, allowing the clarinetist to stretch her fingers a bit. After a two-phrase reprise of the refrain and a brief transitional percussion interlude, the second episode begins in measure 79 and departs temporarily from the 7/8 time signature. This C section contains the most interplay between the two voices, with only occasional rhythmic unison statements. The final refrain is only one phrase in length, essentially functioning as a brief coda to the duet. Danse of the Wooden Toys was premiered in the summer of 2016 by Robert & Emily.
This piece is fun and dance-like, as the title implies, and features equally challenging parts with complementary melodic lines…an appropriate pedagogical piece to introduce students to chamber ensemble playing, “Danse of the Wooden Toys” would also be a nice addition to a high school band concert to show off two talented players. – Julie Licata
Printed by permission of the Percussive Arts Society, inc.
Gottry’s choice and use of percussion instruments gives a variety of different colors that match the qualities of the clarinet. The melodies are well-thought-out and contribute to the playful exchange between clarinet and percussion … a wonderful piece for clarinetists and percussionists to perform. – Kristine Dizon
Printed by permission of the International Clarinet Association