James Pickering's The Tale Of The Slightly Miffed Dancing Bear.
'A piece for Tuba and Piano.
The story of this composition really begins with another composition entitled 'Play-Time' for solo piano. I showed the score for 'Play-Time' to a friend, Boryana Petkova a very talented pianist from Bulgaria, to whom I eventually dedicated 'the Dancing Bear'. After showing her 'Play-Time' she commented that part of it sounded like a Bulgarian folk dance. The potential of this intrigued me quite a lot so I sketched out a few bars intent on writing another piano piece based around this idea (the melodic line first heard in the Tuba part in the fifth bar after letter A). However, upon discussing these sketches with Boryana she mentioned they no longer sounded particularly Bulgarian. As this was the main aim of the sketches that eventually became 'The Dancing Bear' it is fair to say I was slightly miffed. Undeterred I decided to shift focus and write for the instrument I knew best, the Tuba. The 'Bear' part of the title refers to the tendency of composers to use Tubas to represent angry bears, most famously in Stravinsky's ballet 'Petrushka'. Musically it still contains quite a few elements of eastern European dance including the use of drones, some typical scales with flattened seconds and sevenths as well as the rhythmic oscillation between bars of 2,2,2,2 and 3,3,2 quaver (8th note) division. However, the goal for me was to writes a slightly humorous piece, with a technically demanding Tuba part, that could show off the musicians abilities and still retain the feel of a rhythmical dance.' - James Pickering