Faye-Ellen Silverman

Pas de Deux

Year: 1991

Duration (in minutes): 6'39;

Difficulty: High (professional)

Category: mixed instrument ensemble, small chamber ensembles - 2 to 4 players, solo instrument with piano

Instruments: marimba, piano

Publisher: Subito Music Corporation

Description: In the world of dance, a pas de deux is a dance for two dancers. Here, it is a two movement “dance” for two instrumentalists, with the form playfully originating in the human mating ritual. In the first movement, the marimba begins alone. Before the first phrase is finished, the piano notices the marimba, and finishes its phrase. There is then some friendly dialogue and flirtation. As the movement progresses, both instrumental parts become more complex, as each tries to attract (and put a best foot forward for) the other. In this section, some of the piano figures are taken from traditional virtuosic piano patterns, such as parallel double thirds, and one hand crossing over the other. At the very last minute, as both instruments join together excitedly, the piano runs away, and the marimba rushes to catch up. The movement ends with the piano encircling the marimba.
In the second movement, which remains at a steady tempo, the piano and marimba support each other throughout - sometimes with similar musical material. When the marimba moves to establish its independence, the piano lets it do so (just as the marimba had done for the piano earlier), but stays softly supportive in the background. When the marimba seems too far from the piano, the piano picks up the marimba material and moves to join it. The movement ends with the piano and marimba merging into one - playing the same notes in the same range.

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