May I have this dance?

Philharmonia Northwest invites you to be our date to the dance with our upcoming program on November 23rd!

Our program beings with Carol Maria von Weber’s Aufforderung zum Tanz, or Invitation to the Dance.  Unlike earlier composers, Weber’s music was not for dancing, but rather a description of the dancers themselves:

“First approach of the dancer to whom the lady gives an evasive answer. His more pressing invitation; her acceptance of his request. Now they converse in greater detail; he begins; she answers him with heightened expression; she responds more warmly; now for the dance! His remarks concerning it; her answer; their coming together; their going forward; expectation of the beginning of the dance. The Dance. End: his thanks, her reply and their parting. Silence.”

Waltz1816_72 walktz box


From the waltz we stake a step back and let our partner lead us to the Gavotte, a dance originating as a French folk dance. The gavotte’s distinctive feature is a two-step upbeat to the main  material:


The gavotte remained a popular form of for both dancers and composers through the Baroque era. Mozart, in his Violin Concerto Number 4, employs a gavotte in the final movement, as the violin “dances” with the orchestra. (The gavotte beings at 3:30 in the video!)



The final dance of our concert comes from Beethoven. Although Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony is not a dance work, per se, the first and last movements have a kinetic energy that is undeniably moving. The first movement has been described as a rustic, peasant dance, brought out by a jovial A Major key and plenty of dotted, skipping rhythms. Richard Wagner once described the symphony as the “apotheosis of dance.”


Of course, not everyone was as enthralled with the symphony’s relentless energy: critics said that Beethoven must have composed the symphony in a drunken state, and that Beethoven was “ripe for the madhouse.” One even asked, “What can you do with it? It’s like a lot of yaks jumping about.” Despite his critics, Beethoven seems to have won out in the end, with fans young and old finding something to dance to in his music: 



As for myself, the fourth movement of the 7th Symphony provides plenty of opportunity to rock out: