“Eccentric Dances” was commissioned by Swiss tuba soloist Remo Capra. The idea of “dances” for tuba was irresistible, giving the lowest brass instrument a chance to show off its expressive versatility and technical agility. The “eccentric” adjective promises the performer and listener the chance to hear the tuba in some unusual musical settings.
The movements are unnamed, but the key to the mood of each “dance” is given by an indication at the beginning. The first is labeled ponderous/impudent, which alternates bold, aggressive statements with lighter, sassier responses in a quasi-dialogue effect. Movement 2 is insouciant – nimble, agile, light-hearted, dance-like in character. The English/American holiday of Halloween may have influenced Movement 3, spooky, as soft, angular phrases alternate with violent interjections and fluttertongued/trilled notes. In Movement 4, con ritmo latino, the tubist (accompanied by himself toe-tapping offbeats) has a rare opportunity to show what he can do with some lively Latin rhythms and melodic lines. Bluesy, Movement 5, starts off lazily, but picks up in energy, requiring some agile leaps to jazzy rhythms. The last movement begins as a declamation, then moves abruptly into a fast, syncopated sections that alternate with more lyrical passages. After a recapitulation of the main theme, the movement closes with a blazing run of triplets.