work details

Tarantella

  • Instrumentation: cello
  • Completed: April 2009
  • Duration: 7 minutes
  • Audio:
  • Dedication:

    To Laura Usiskin

  • Program Note:

    Tarantella for solo cello is not meant to be an authentic representation of the folk tradition from Taranto, Italy; rather, it attempts to distill the essence of this folk-lorical healing dance through the lens of the virtuoso show piece. The idea that rhythm could ward off evil spirits is a very ancient concept--the dance would have been improvised, created in the moment as a response to the situation. This music is meant to evoke that same sense of urgency, as if dancing a fandango with the very spider whose poison one is trying to escape.

    The Tarantella consists of two main parts: an opening lament and a frenzied dance. It is dedicated gratefully to Laura Usiskin, whose intelligence, musicality, and passion were instrumental in the genesis of this work.

  • Performances:
    • May 9, 2009 (Premiere)
      Elective Cello Recital
      Laura Usiskin, cello
      Yale University - Sudler Hall - New Haven, CT
    • January 27, 2012 
      The Fifth Floor Collective Special Engagement
      Justin Dougherty, cello 
      Boston Conservatory - Boston, MA
    • January 28, 2012 
      The Fifth Floor Collective Special Engagement
      Justin Dougherty, cello 
      Carroll & Sons Art Gallery - Boston, MA
    • February 9, 2012
      "Queering the Pitch: music for solo cello"
      Justin Dougherty in Residenct at the University of South Florida
      Justin Dougherty, cello
      Barness Hall - University of South Florida - Tampa, FL
    • March 16, 2012
      Penn State University Common Hour
      Justin Dougherty, cello
      Penn State University - University Park, PA
    • March 31, 2012
      "Queering the Pitch: music for solo cello"
      Justin Dougherty, cello
      AvantGarden - Houston, TX
    • November 7, 2013
      "Queering the Pitch: music for solo cello"
      Justin Dougherty, cello
      Dancz Hall - University of Georgia - Athens, GA