Anchorage Dances: Clear Cut, North Shore, Head First – Program Notes

My Anchorage Dances are intended to be an enjoyable serenade, perhaps encores to festive concerts.

I called the first piece Clear Cut. It is a contra dance and a square, cut out of elements from a natural linear development. A six beat ascending bass scale serves as a segment in an ascending sequence, the linear process. This sequence is presented in a 4/4 meter, however, and each four measure group gets repeated thus chopping up the natural linear process and creating different levels of a sense of being thrown back.

The next dance is a 12/8 hula which I have called North Shore. Haleiwa on O'ahu's North Shore is where I saw hula performed for the first time, and an instrument played on the Alaskan "North Shore" (at least in the eyes of the rest of the world) is the Yup'ik frame drum, or cauyaq, which lends its voice to the texture of my hula. The ever present instrument in North Shore, however, is the Korean zither, kayagûm.

The title of the last piece is taken from a review Heather Lende wrote about a CrossSound concert she attended in Haines Her comparison of CrossSound's musicians' preparedness to discover and explore new musical ideas, forms, and ways, with the adventurous spirit of the Last Frontier culminates in the metaphorical head first jump into the cold creek. In my piece, the cold creek is represented by the fast swing beat into which the flute, bass, and mandolin jump head first with breathtakingly fast solos.

(Stefan Hakenberg, 2006)