Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane

Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane

Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane

for mixed flute quartet

Program Notes

The title, of course, is stolen from Debussy’s famous work for harp and strings and my piece is definitely a bit of an homage both to Debussy and to that specific work. There is also a hint or two of Satie, especially in the first movement, but I don’t think anyone will mistake my music for theirs.

Debussy was almost certainly not thinking of how the title would be translated into English when he bestowed it on his beautiful piece, and it is often wrongly characterized. “Profane” does not mean what it does in English, blasphemous or sacrilegious, but rather something secular or worldly, in contrast with, but not necessarily in opposition to, the sacred. I have attempted to capture the dichotomy between sacred and secular worlds in these two dances. The first is slow, beginning and ending serenely, while the second is fast and lively, with dramatic contrasts in range and dynamics.

Each player plays two instruments, one higher and one lower, so the total array goes from piccolo down to bass flute, with a span of five octaves. There are a couple of percussive effects and harmonics are used extensively, but most of the playing is straightforward.

Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane was written for the quartet Flûtes Symphoniques.

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