Joshua Robison, husband of Michael Tilson Thomas, was a gymnast in high school and in later life became an expert swing dancer. I asked him not long ago about it, and he replied “I still dance.” As is frequently the case with me, I thought “that’s a title that needs a piece,” and thus this high-energy, eight-minute virtuoso orchestra work was born.
Upon completing it, I realized that the music has more in common with a toccata than any particular dance form. The meters are largely in four or 6/8, and the energy surges forward, barely relaxing at all until the final moments when we experience a “soft landing” to close the piece.
The orchestration includes a demanding part for bass guitar and a percussion section with taiko drums.