The title of this work refers to King David of ancient Israel, who, upon the recapture of the Ark of the Covenant from Israel's enemies, "danced before the Lord with all his might" (II Samuel 6:14). This music is a depiction of the elation and exhilaration described in this Old Testament scene as this warrior-poet leads his people in praise and thanksgiving.
The composition is in modified ternary form with two transitional passages preceding the mid-section: A-x-y-B-A-Coda. Rhythm is the dominant element, providing drive and energy, with harmonic components contributing to the sense of joy and jubilation. In each section, the accompaniment was composed first, then the solo line.
The piece was begun in 1978 at the request of classmate Frank Banton for a piece for his grauduate recital. It was about 90% complete, but I was unsure of the instrumentation I wanted for the accompaniment. Piano was an obvious but overused choice, and was not really the tone color I wanted. Mallet percussion would require two players using 4-mallet technique. Two players dealing with an unrelenting accompaniment of sixteenth notes in mixed meters while contending with 4-mallets could be a recipe for piece-stopping disaster, not good for a piece whose purpose is to showcase the tuba. Unable to tunnel under or scale over this quandry, I laid the piece aside. Then about 10 years later I had my first experience with a MIDI keyboard with an on-board sequencer, a now ancient Ensoniq ESQ-1. After experimenting with its sounds and recording possibilities, I remembered my tuba piece still hiding safely in my briefcase, and began work on the accompaniment. Pieces for solo instrument and tape were nothing new then, but the ones I had heard up until this time tended to be the "outer space" sounds of the 1960s experimental electronic music.
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