Tutued Toucan Can-can (2021)
Commissioned by the Spartan Youth Wind Symphony, Arris Golden, conductor
Concert band, Grade 4.
The majestic and noble toucan dons its tutu and prepares for its grand entrance. What will the toucan ballet entail? Nimble hops on delicate legs? Short but graceful flights across the stage? Rousing kicks? Dramatic splits? Perhaps the grand movement of its large, brightly colored beak would be the most effective use of its greatest asset. The toucan, inspired by other great birds of ballet, enters the stage, and begins to dance.
Tutued Toucan Can-can draws inspiration from several sources, including many melodies heard while watching cartoons and eating breakfast cereal in my youth. Walt Disney’s Fantasia depicted the Dance of the Hours from Amilcare Ponchielli’s opera La Gioconda with animated ostriches. Jacques Offenbach’s Galop Infernal from Orpheus in the Underworld has worked its way into the public consciousness through multiple uses in popular culture, and might be better known now simply as “the Can-can.” Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Stravinsky’s Firebird also make brief appearances. If you listen carefully and follow your nose, you might find a few other musical nods to birds of note. -Erika Svanoe