Snegglish Dances (2000)

For orchestra


3 Flutes (3 dbl Picc)
3 Oboes (3 dbl EH)
3 Clarinets in Bb (2 dbl Eb)
3 Bassoons (2 dbl Cbsn)
4 Horns in F
3 Trumpets in C
2 Tenor Trombones
1 Bass Trombone
1 Tuba
3 Percussionists*
1 Piano

4 Timpani
Temple Blocks
2 Triangles
Bell Plate
2 Suspended Cymbals
Medium Maraca
4 Toms
Bass Drum
Lion’s Roar


Snegglish Dances was commissioned by the Louisville Orchestra as part of an educational project designed to develop creative listening skills in young audiences. the project won the 2001 Leonard Bernstein Award for Educational Programming from the American Symphony Orchestra League and ASCAP. Enlisting the cooperation of area schools, the orchestra assisted teachers in exploring the connection between composing music and writing stories. Basic components of both disciplines were compared and demonstrated, including setting, character, plot, conflict, and resolution.

The culmination of this cooperative enterprise was a concert by the Louisville Orchestra, in which excerpts from Peer Gynt Suite, Scheherezade and Metropolis Symphony were performed. The concert concluded with a performance of Snegglish Dances, a work that pulls together the principles of character, setting, conflict and resolution into a colorful, six-minute showcase for orchestra.

Snegglish Dances tells a story involving two characters: Loris and Mr. Snegglish. Loris is a mischievous spirit, always looking for ways to cause trouble. Mr. Snegglish is an old philosopher pondering the meaning of life.

After a brief introduction that establishes the magical setting of the piece, four sections ensue. The first two parts introduce the characters, the last two function as development and resolution:

Part 1 (mm 6-27) Loris’s music is capricious, mischievous, mercurial, as she flies about seeking victims for her pranks.

Part 2 (mm 28-52) Loris discovers Mr. Snegglish sitting alone, deep in thought.

Part 3 (mm 53-113) She decides to have a little fun. Reciting a magic formula, she enters Mr. Snegglish’s mind. She makes him stand up and, after a few stumbling efforts, he begins to bounce about in an awkward, silly dance that combines the music from the first two sections. The dance becomes wilder and wilder, building up into a chaotic frenzy.

In the final section (mm 114-142), the music from Part 2 returns, but with a different personality. In the performance, members of the audience were encouraged to listen closely and decide for themselves what happens to Loris and Snegglish in the end. Their assignment was to write the conclusion to the story, based on what they’d heard. Future performances need not follow the same format, as the music is adaptable to any concert setting.

My favorite piece of music was Snegglish Dances, this piece really was exciting because it described how each character was feeling and how they acted. Loris was always happy and jumped inside the philosopher to make him dance because the music was always tinkly, also there was fun and exciting parts in it. The philosopher was always having ideas and had fast moving
Zach Motes, 4th grade

She taught Mr. Snegglish how to dance. She taught him how to do the Cancan, the Cha-Cha, and the Hokey Pokey.
Lauren Davis, 4th grade

Loris was tossed about in Mr. Snegglish’s mind. She felt as though she was a bouncy-ball bouncing back and forth between two walls. While Loris was thinking about this thought, Mr. Snegglish took a HUGE leap in the air that was so big that it threw Loris right out of Mr. Snegglish’s mind!
Haley Cade, 4th grade