Dancing on the Walls of Jericho
- Paul Dolden
- Year of composition: 1990
- Duration: 16:15
- Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
- Commission: Montréal musiques actuelles / New Music America, with support from the CCA
Dancing on the Walls of Jericho is the second of a three-part composition, which philosophically addresses the idea of revolution. Part two continues from where part one, Below the Walls of Jericho, had ended. Part one acted as a metaphor for the idea of social change through revolution. Therefore part one was primarily concerned with the vertical monolith and its tearing down by the anonymous massed texture of four hundred tracks of sound. By contrast, part two celebrates this tearing down with a constant polyrhythmic dance on the rubble and the use of extroverted soloistic gestures.
All three parts are concerned with similar materials and gestures: the unaltered or unprocessed digital recording of hundreds of tracks of acoustic instruments from the Western and Eastern musical traditions, extensive polyrhythmic interplay between the hundreds of tracks of sound (at times fourty different tempos are used at the same time), contrasts in the way the instruments are played in a soft or loud manner, and contrasts of extreme consonance and extreme dissonance (ie: Just Intonation versus textures of seven octaves, in which each octave has fourty-eight different notes).
Dancing on the Walls of Jericho was produced at the composer’s studio in 1990. It was commissioned by Montréal musiques actuelles / New Music America festival with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA). The work was premiered at the Les Loges theatre during the Montréal musiques actuelles / New Music America festival on November 1, 1990. Of the many performers in Dancing on the Walls of Jericho and Beyond the Walls of Jericho, special mention must be made of Marko Novachcoff of Detroit (Michigan, USA) who played most of the soloistic gestures on the reeds, winds and brass instruments. The composer performed the soloistic gestures on all the bowed and plectrum string instruments.
- November 1, 1990, Montréal musiques actuelles / New Music America, Acousmonium: Concert 3: Grandes premières, Théâtre Les Loges, Montréal (Québec)