America Slow Dance | Sandow

That’s the name of a variation on “America the Beautiful” that I wrote for Min Kwon’s America/Beautiful project…

But wait…what IS that?

Min commissioned variations from more than 70 composers. I wrote two. 

Pause now…to imagine her learning them all. 

That’s what I wrote in my newsletter. Adding that Min’s got boundless energy. And that she’s a pleasure to work with!

 She’ll unveil her commissions from July 4 to July 9, streaming and live. With my pieces coming July 8, both ways. The live performance is on Andrew Ousley’s “Death of Classical”series at Green-wood Cemetery in New York. Info and tickets here.

And you can read my newsletter here.

About my two variations, a little teaser: 

One of them turns “America the Beautiful” into 1950s rock & roll. A doowop ballad, of the kind I danced to in 7th grade. With the lights out! Still the sexiest music I know. (Well, except for Prince’s “Slow Love.” I’ll have to post more on that hot and sultry song.) 

The other variation uses fragments of  “America the Beautiful” as the backbone of a playful 12-tone piece. Let’s call it another tribute to the 1950s, since (in the new music bubble inside classical music) 12-tone music was big then. 

There’s a joke in the rock & roll piece. Midway through, I jack up the key a half step. An old pop song trick, to build a big climax. 

But I turn that around. I use the new key to calm the piece down, so it ends very quietly. Almost with the sound of bells, fading into a peaceful dance beat. 

More on all this coming!


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