Prairie Polka

flute, clarinet, violin, viola, piano, and percussion

6′ 30″

Written for the 2014 Fresh Inc Festival.

Premiered June 21, 2014, by Zoe Sorrell, Allison Schafernak, Andrew Williams, Hannah Meyer, Maggie Morrison, and Kevin Rank.

Prairie Polka is a discordant gallop through tall grasses juxtaposed with high-spirited fun. The polka has been a humorous fascination of mine since visiting an Oktoberfest celebration years ago. The jubilant dance never fails to lift spirits, no matter how minor the melody or foul the mood.

This work is written for Pierrot ensemble as part of the Fresh Inc Festival in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Both woodwinds and strings alternate (and at times overlap) coloristic gestures with driving melodies. The work opens with a gently rolling expanse punctuated by strident motives and eventually progresses to more noticeable melodies. As suddenly as they appear, the dances and cacophony converge and dissipate.