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Michael Sweeney

Michael Sweeney

General Info

Year: 2012
Duration: c. 9:30
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts - $85.00   |   Score Only - $10.00


Full Score
C Piccolo I-II
Flute I-II
B-flat Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion I-II-III-IV, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Crotales
  • Finger Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-Tam
  • Toms (2)
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Wind Chimes
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Stardance explores the effects of sounds and patterns as they interact within blocks of time, and also spatially within the performance hall. The opening section of the work finds brass and woodwind players placed around the auditorium performing prescribed notes and phrases, but in a random fashion. The audience is immersed in an otherworldly "stardance" of sounds and moods. A driving rhythmic ostinato, stated first by the percussion section and built using an irregular meter, propels the fast portion of the work. A group of soloists then present a freely stated commentary over an ethereal backdrop of richly sustained chords from the ensemble. The fast section returns with layers of patterns and rapid figures before the ensemble splits into two sections performing at different, yet simultaneous tempos. A random "dance" of sounds and rhythms gives the piece a final atmosphere of surrealism and mystery.

Stardance was commissioned by the Muskego (Wisc.) High School Wind Ensemble, directed by James Beckman and Jennifer Climer. It was premiered on May 8, 2012.

- Program Note from score

This innovative composition uses such uncommon compositional devices as unmeasured time blocks and duel tempos. The optional staging at the beginning places the brass and woodwind players except for tuba, bassoon and bass clarinet in the performance space among the audience. Much of the work is in an energetic 7/8 (quarter note = 160) with periodic meter shifts that keep it interesting. Later in the work a brief contrasting solo section in 4/4 (quarter note = 68), marked “Slowly, very freely,” provides a respite from the intense material that surrounds it and has solos for soprano saxophone, oboe (cued for clarinet), trumpet, baritone, and clarinet. Soloists are instructed to add bluesy inflections to the written figures.

- Program Note from The Instrumentalist, December 2012

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

Media Links

Audio: Reference recording. Ensemble and conductor unknown

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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