Dance Music (Mr. Mouse Dances and Dies)
for Eb Clarinet and Piano (1995)
By Daniel Dorff
(Comments by the composer)
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
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!