Asking a Shadow to Dance
for clarinet, viola and piano
Commissioned by Trio Con Brio - Gary Whitman, Misha Galaganov, John Owings
Recorded by Trio Con Brio - Gary Whitman, clarinet, Misha Galaganov, viola, and John Owings, piano.

Asking a Shadow to Dance
  • Bb Clarinet
  • Viola
  • Piano
Duration: 8 minutes
Full Score pdf
To order parts or printed score, please see contact page
Composer's Notes:
Asking a Shadow to Dance was written for Trio Con Brio of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, at the request of clarinetist Gary Whitman. The musical material is based on themes from the opera My New Voice, formally structured on the concept of communication between the three main characters: Trevor, an inventor and artist who is disabled and cannot speak; his inner ego, Trevor Shadow; and Elizabeth, his Personal Care Assistant. The musical motives are traded between the three performers, evolving and changing with each iteration, becoming a dance of frustration, understanding and compromise, eventually finding laughter and love in the process.

The title reflects both the theme and character of the opera, and also refers to a partial quote from Carl Sandburg regarding the ethereal and ambiguous aspects of poetry:

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.

- James Scott Balentine