Doug Opel


Bodacious Gaits

for piano

Written: 2011
Duration: 6:00
Instrumentation: piano
Commissioned By: Robert Satterlee

View Score

Program Notes

My favorite moments in William Albright’s music are when wild and lucid come together and somehow logically occupy the same space. In those moments, there’s a sense of something wanting to break loose and run amok, of something that quite frequently comes close to escaping, or better still, is purposely let loose and then masterfuly reined in again. With bodacious gaits, I attempted to capture that same mix through my own language while paying homage to Albright by hinting at his love of rags, boogie-woogie, and other popular American, piano-based idioms. From my earliest drafts, I came up with an altered stride piano lick and gradually slowed it down to emphasize the groove resulting from changing the octave/chord/octave/chord sequence of the traditional stride left hand to an octave/octave/chord sequence. The term “stride” then became the impetus for deriving the sequence of musical interpretations based on various manners of walking or moving on foot that make up the piece in toto:  skip - tip-toe/stomp - hobble - saunter and finally - strut.

Bodacious gaits was commissioned by pianist Robert Satterlee and premiered March 20th, 2011 at  Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, Michigan as a launch to Remembering William Albright;  a concert tour honoring the memory of composer William Albright featuring his Five Chromatic Dances as well as new works from his colleagues and former students.