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DANSE SATANIQUE for WIND ORCHESTRA by Alexander Kosmicki (France,1978)

[#12] October 14, 2019

2015 | Wind Orchestra | Grade 5 | 5’- 10’ | Tone poem

Alexander Kosmicki

The work opens with a brief, magnificent and incantatory horn solo, “calling for the hidden, diabolic forces”. A litany theme on the clarinets follows, declining into halftone trills on the woodwinds and menacing glissandi on the trombones.

This mysterious, somewhat chaotic atmosphere will suddenly change, after a short litany’s souvenir on the flute, giving inevitable entrance to the satanic dance.

The latter represents Satan’s universe with twisted rhythms, brilliant woodwind runs and complex textures, usually using a very rich, yet colourful orchestration, demanding extremely careful ensemble balance. This “organized chaos” prepares the frantic appearance of Satan’s Theme in bar 202 presented by the low brass. It will only sound once on the entire piece, but powerfully, accompanied by tremolos and triplets, as well as a subsidiary subject in the flutes.

The main incantation subject returns at last at measure 360, but it will be soon swept away by sharp and harsh rhythmic mockeries, confirming the violence and the insolence of the satanic world.

Danse Satanique represents the very best of the French tradition: lightness of articulation, richness of orchestration, rhythm sophistication as well as a very developed harmonic language. Kosmicki creates a fascinating sound world, not far away of that of Florent Schmitt’s Dionysiaques.

This work is very demanding, suitable for high level academic ensembles as well as ambitious wind orchestras around the world.

The score calls for a rather large band, including two Solo Clarinet parts (following the French tradition of band orchestration), plus E-flat Clarinet and two tutti Clarinet parts. Two tenor saxophone parts, 4 trumpets, 4 horns, 4 trombones, 2 euphonium and 2 tuba parts, as well as Double Bass, Timpani and 6 percussion parts.

Danse Satanique, written in 2015, is cast in one single movement, having a duration of about 10 minutes.

It was commissioned by and dedicated to Louis Martinus, owner of HAFABRA Music, a company based in Voeren, Belgium close to the Dutch border.

Alexander Kosmicki (b. 1978, France) is a French composer, conductor, educator and clarinettist.

Kosmicki began his musical studies at the Conservatory of Douai (Northern France). After a degree in clarinet, he studied composition, orchestration and conducting.

In 2001, he entered the Conservatoire National Superior de Musique de Paris where he worked with internationally renowned teachers such as Bernard De Crépy, Jean-François Zygel and Thierry Escaich.

Holder of the prize of the city of Paris in musical analysis, he worked as a conductor with Roger Boutry, renowned composer and former conductor of the Garde Républicaine.

Kosmicki is currently Chief Conductor of Brest’s Fleet Crews Band.

Deeply attached to the repertoire of wind orchestras, his works are imbued with a French aesthetic and are performed well beyond the European borders.

Other works for wind orchestra worth exploring are: Fantasmagorie, Les maîtres sorciers, Mouvements frénétiques, Réminiscence diabolique and Turbulences.

His music is published exclusively by Hafabra Music.


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