From the composer: This was written for Christopher Boatwright, a principal male dancer with the Stuttgart Ballet – one of the first black dancers to achieve recognition at this level in Germany. Much to his frustration, media coverage of his performances focused on his colour rather than his talent. When he wanted a piece of music that could be choreographed, I avoided ethnic music clichés (despite the title, which means “black dancer”) and went for a Germanic fusion of Weill and oompah band.
The sax and piano version was the original version, but while my sax quintet “Saxtet” was busking in Germany I re-arranged it for saxophone quintet which was eventually recorded on the “Safer Sax” album. Its popularity led to its regular inclusion in concert programmes and its performance at the World Saxophone Congress in Italy in 1992. This sax quartet version was written more than ten years after the sax & piano version was written.
Although Schwarzer Tänzer has been musically performed many times, the dancer’s untimely death means that it remains undanced.
The E-Edition PDF bundle comes with the following parts:
“Schwarzer Tänzer” is also available in hard-copy from June Emerson Wind Music.
This is the original version of a piece that is currently on the Associated Board syllabus in its tenor/piano guise. The structure of this work is simply beautiful and Nigel Wood has managed to seamlessly blend many different ideas together. The opening is powerful and passionate. The title means black dancer and the piece is dedicated to a great friend of Saxtet’s called Chris Boatwright. Chris was a ballet dancer and the flowing lines of the work’s main themes are a tribute to his grace on the stage. This is a challenging work to play and would suit an advanced level group. There is also an excellent and preferable version for quintet.
Gerard McChrystal – Clarinet & Saxophone Magazine, Summer 2006