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Program Notes

Incantation and Dance

John Barnes Chance, composer

The title suggests a religious orientation, but not toward any of the established religions of Western or Eastern cultures. To the standard deities one offers prayers. Incantations are uttered in rituals of magic, demonic rites, the conjuring up of spirits evil and benign. And when the spirit comes and the worshiper is possessed, there is dancing, wild and abandoned. The Incantation, full of mystery and expectation, serves as an introduction to the piece. The Dance begins quietly with percussion instruments but soon grows wild and frenzied with brass instruments hammering out ferocious snarls and woodwinds flying in whirling scales. Here is no pretty tune but a paroxysm of rhythm, a convulsion of syncopation that drives on and on, mounting to a shattering climax of exaltation.

WGM

Incantation and Dance by John Barnes Chance is one of the masterpieces of contemporary concert band literature. The title of this piece suggests a religious orientation, but not towards any of the established religions of Western or Eastern culture. Incantations are uttered in rituals of magic, demonic rites, the conjuring up of spirits evil and benign. And when the spirit comes and the worshipper is possessed, there is dancing wild and abandoned. The Incantation, full of mystery and expectation, serves as a formal introduction. The Dance also begins quietly but grows wilder and more frenzied finally reaching a shattering climax of exultation.

—Band Music Notes

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