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Sean Michael Salamon

June Dances

August 2011
For Anamaria Stefan, Felix Katoka, Marian Sabo, and Tudor Biluca,
in Baia Mare, Romania,

June Dances:
No. 1: The Village— Forlane =76

No. 2: Larry Kramer’s Play— Sarabande =60

No. 3: The Joy— Tambourin =135

June Dances is trio of baroque dances which attempt to capture scenes and emotions that I
witnessed and felt in New York City during June of 2011. The final movement uses themes by Bartok and
Mahler as major material.
The opening dance, a forlane, takes us down Christopher Street in the evening, and we
experience the sights, smells, and sounds: the chattering of cheerful people, a whiff of curry, and the sight
of shops benign and not-so-benign. Before long, however, we wander into Christopher Park to sit down
and enjoy l’heure bleue. The dance ends by quietly whisking us away on the subway, and we reflect on
how we have visited a very special place.
No. 2, a sarabande, illustrates the simultaneously hopeless and exquisitely hopeful feeling I felt
while watching The Normal Heart, a transformative play which chronicles the outbreak of AIDS in the
United States, and which played in New York in June.
The final dance, a tambourin, depicts the anticipation right before the Gay Pride March, and
then, the unbridled joy as Governor Cuomo walks down the street, flanked by Council Speaker Quinn and
Mayor Bloomberg. Thousands of joyous men and women clamber over police barriers to catch a glimpse
of their hero, Andrew Cuomo, marching down Fifth Avenue. On this day, we are all New Yorkers.
Incidentally, the third movement is a development and interplay of two victorious themes, the
primary one being a variation of the opening theme from mov. 4 of Bartok’s Music for Strings,
Percussion and Celeste, and the secondary one being the triumphant final theme from Mahler’s
Symphony no. 1 (Titan).

To the performers:
This piece attempts to use baroque techniques of counterpoint and extreme economy of thematic
material. Because the ranges of the three wind instruments are inconveniently similar, I tried to make
these voices always distinct from one another. Avoid cacophony by bringing out the primary voice and be
aware of dynamics.
At the end of no. 1, let the piano fully die out before continuing. Similarly, the clarinet should
fade to nothing at the end of no. 2.

—Sean Michael Salamon