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Dinner dances : for string orchestra

by Tim Dargaville (2004, this version: 2009)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Tim Dargaville, Michelle Ruffolo, Christine Marnane, Andrew Jakopanec, Rosanne Hunt, Ivan Rosa from the CD Invisible dances and other works

This sample is of the Quintets: 2 Violins, viola, cello, double bass version of this work

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Invisible dances and other works


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Invisible dances and other works / Tim Dargaville

Version: This product features the Quintets: 2 Violins, viola, cello, double bass version of this work

Library shelf no. CD 2067 [Available for loan]

Dinner dances


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Dinner dances : for string orchestra / by Tim Dargaville.

Library shelf no. 784.7/DAR 1 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (3 more)  

Work Overview

In 2004 I was commissioned by the Melbourne Theatre Company to provide music for the production of "Dinner" by English playwright Moira Buffini. The play, essentially a very black comedy of manners, is set around a large dinner table containing several courses of disgustingly inedible food. As the invited guests dissect each other in polite (and not so polite) conversation whilst trying to digest the primordial slime soup entrée and the frozen waste dessert, we learn that the storyline to "Dinner" has some very dark and disturbing twists. Humour is used to deliver some nasty existential punches, as we witness how the hosts despise each other, how a vegetarian guest is forced to kill and then eat her main course, and how the waiter reveals himself to be a hired assassin.

The music for this production of "Dinner" was conceived to be a series of short interludes interspersed between scenes, sometimes allowing for reflection, sometimes ramping up the drama. The six pieces, originally scored for string quintet, are intended to be strangely familiar, but with unexpected twists and turns, as if they were recorded background music being influenced by the action. In the version of "Dinner Dances" for string orchestra, I have taken the same material from the original quintet, and reorchestrated it, treating it spatially within the ensemble, exploring conversational patterns that are so much a part of the original play.

Work Details

Year: 2004, this version: 2009

Instrumentation: 8 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, double bass.

Difficulty: Medium

Contents note: In 6 movements.

First performance: by Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Timothy Phillips at Pulling Strings (Richmond Uniting Church) on 30 May 2009


Resonate article: Arcko Symphonic Project - Pulling Strings by Mark Viggiani

Performances of this work

30 Apr 2011: at Arcko Symphonic Project: Pulling Strings II (Fitzroy Town Hall). Featuring Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Timothy Phillips.

30 May 2009: at Pulling Strings (Richmond Uniting Church). Featuring Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Timothy Phillips.

2004: Performed during premiere season of the play 'Dinner', at Fairfax Studio, Victorian Arts Centre, Melbourne, April/May 2004

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