Tandem Spaces (1994)
Commissioned by Richmond Ballet, William Soleau, choreographer
One night, in spring 1993, I was leaving the Carpenter Center Theatre in Richmond, Virginia, where I had just experienced the Richmond (Virginia) Ballet and Richmond Symphony’s outstanding premiere performance of an exciting new ballet by New-York-based choreographer, William Soleau. On my way, I ran into a friend who worked with the ballet. She was with Soleau and introduced us as fellow artists. The following week, I sent recordings of some of my music to Soleau and soon after, he called me to say he liked what he heard and wanted to discuss collaborating on a new ballet to be called Tandem Spaces, and to be premiered by the Richmond Ballet and Richmond Symphony the following year.
With Soleau at his home in New York City, and me at my studio in Richmond, we engaged in an extensive series of telephone conversations, in which we discussed the process of assembling the music and the choreography, and I sent reference recordings of the piece as it developed. As is often the case, the timeframe we were dealing with was tight, and it was in a mad rush to get the 21-minute score completed in time for rehearsals. But those rehearsals saw the work come to life, both as a work of music and as a choreographic creation, and the process was filled with excitement about and expectations of the production. To our delight, the premiere was met with critical acclaim, and the ballet was staged several more times in the following few years.
This piece holds a special place in my heart. I couldn’t help but make it the priority of many projects occupying me during that period; I was working with the most intense, vibrant, and colorful palette that a composer can have: the orchestra. It was in 2023, however, that I revised the piece with my friend, mentor, editor, and New-York-City-based conductor John Yaffé, and it was then that the score came into ultra-sharp focus. The process of revisiting this piece, written thirty years ago, was thrilling, as it rekindled memories of an incredible period in my creative life when I was fully immersed in the magical world of ballet and orchestra.
Premiere performance: Richmond Ballet and Richmond Symphony, David Commanday, conductor, William Soleau, choreographer, Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts, Richmond, VA, 1994
MIDI Realization (computer rendering)