Nigel Keay - the dancer leads the procession (1999)
the dancer leads the procession was written for Jeffrey Grice while I was living in Caen in 1999, shortly after I had moved to France.
I began working on the material for the dancer as long ago as 1989. This initial inspiration, founded on the sounds and structure of the Javanese Gamelan, was linked to a specific event.
In 1984, when in Java, I had attended a traditional-style wedding ceremony. At the start, the marriage couple were led into the venue by a dancer accompanied by the gamelan who were already installed there. The couple were young, but the dancer could have been in his fifties; he was obviously a master of his art. The trio moved very slowly passing at one stage directly in front of the Gamelan. The dancer’s style was extremely graceful & refined, with many slowly moving expressive gestures of the arms and hands. When directly in front of the Gamelan the dancer turned toward the musicians for a few seconds, and instantly his style of dance changed into something quite different. Frenetically indulging in all the off-beats, he was grooving along with it.
Everybody loved this brief and direct acknowledgment to the musicians, and didn’t hesitate to show their enthusiasm. The dancer then returned to the previous style and carried on with the procession moving away from the Gamelan.
I remained fascinated by this particular concept of a multi-levelled music and wanted to reflect the idea in the dancer without emulating specific gamelan techniques. There seemed to be two elements, one representing the long range cycles marked by the large gongs (the slow graceful dance style), and the other of the bustling upper instruments with the constant hocketing.
the dancer leads the procession was first performed by Jeffrey Grice on 3rd October 2002 at La Halle Saint-Pierre, Paris 18ème, then again at this same venue on 20th March 2003 (Programme PDF). Programme from premiere performance (PDF)
Jeffrey Grice performed the dancer leads the procession in the Waikanae Memorial Hall on Sunday 6 April 2003 in a concert produced by The Waikanae Music Society and at The Woolshed in a Te Awamutu Music Federation concert on the 11th April 2013.
recorded by Jeffrey Grice for Radio New Zealand in April 2003 for national broadcast shortly after being included in his programme on an Associate Music Societies Chamber Music New Zealand tour. the dancer performed by Jeffrey Grice mp3
the dancer leads the procession was performed by Jeffrey Grice at Salle Gaveau in Paris on Wednesday 14th February 2007.
Recorded by Jennifer Lee on 20th February 2015 in Paris for a CD of music by Nigel Keay.
Friday 24th April 2015, 7pm. Jennifer Lee performed the dancer leads the procession in a recital of piano music at the Conservatoire de musique, théâtre et danse, Château de Saint-Ouen, 12 rue Albert-Dhalenne, 93400 Saint-Ouen. JPG poster.
Monday 7th December 2015, 8pm. Jennifer Lee performed the dancer leads the procession at the Maison d'Italie, Cité Universitaire, Paris.