from: The Agency Animal Show (7/11/04)

Dance Music (Mr. Mouse Dances and Dies)
for Eb Clarinet and Piano
By Daniel Dorff

(Comments by the composer)

In 1999, Daniel Dorff wrote an e-mail reply to UNL clarinet professor Diane Cawein Barger's inquiry about "Dance Music."  Here is the transcript of that email:

The piece now known as "Dance Music" has been through a whole lot of transformations of program music vs. no program.  Here's the whole story:

In 1981, when I was fresh out of school, and Eb Clarinetist in Philadelphia (Sherry hartman-Apgar) asked me to write her a recital piece for Eb, and just as I was starting I saw a magazine ad for a stereo with controls so smooth that even a mouse could turn the dials.  There was an adorable photo of a  mouse standing up and playing with the stereo controls.

That was good timing!  It gave me the idea to write the Eb piece about a mouse, but sort of like a Straussian tone poem, and sort of like a cartoon.

The original concept of the piece was called "Mr. Mouse Dances and Dies" and it had this scenario:

Part 1:  Mr. Mouse goes to a dance  hall and is very taken by a glamorous and chic mouse, they flirt a bit, but he's distracted by another sophisticated lady mouse.
Part 2:  Dancing and flirting with the 2nd mouse.
Part 3:  But he really falls for (a third) gentle unassuming one.
Part 4:  Much as he's truly smitten by the 3rd dance partner, a 4th one comes and sweeps him away, full of pep, and they dance themselves into a frenzy until Mr. Mouse keels over...the coda ends with his ascent to heaven.

I thought it would be great to have an animation go with this, although nothing ever came of that idea.

Gradually, I got further and further away from the original program, which I don't like anymore.  At one point I retitled it "Dance Mouce for Mr. Mouse" and eventually purged the program altogether, just just plain "Dance Music."  The music itself never changed, just the titles.

I hope you're glad you asked!