Times Square Dance
for 2 identical orchestras (1996-98)
10 minutes – no.21
The symphony orchestra for Times Square Dance is divided into two identical chamber orchestras of 43 musicians each. With the stereophonic setup of the two orchestral forces in mind, one might perhaps expect an abundant use of hoqueting gestures. And although there are a lot of chords jumping from one orchestra to the other, hoquet is not the main element of the piece.
So what is the main element, what is the piece about? Perhaps it is better to rephrase the question: what is the piece not about? To give an example: the listener will look in vain for sheer melodic material. The only thing that we hear are chords: short chords, shorter chords, soft chords, loud chords, even louder ones, low chords, high chords, connecting chords, chords without connection, etcetera.
Additionally, each of the two orchestras plays in rhythmic unison, there is no sign of polyphony, nor a dramatic form. The work is a sequence of thirteen parts that follow one another without a break. Repetition is a key element, or rather: "crippled" repetition. Times Square Dance starts off in a relatively high tempo. Soon the first repetition occurs, but the tempo of the repeated section is less fast. The piece continues in this new tempo until another section is repeated. This time the repeated music jumps back to the former faster tempo, etc.
At the end of the piece a quotation rushes by. It fits so neatly in the idiom of Times Square Dance that it might be easily overlooked.