Drawing on the folk origins of this southern Italian dance, Hallsworth’s piece evokes the frenzied movement of the poor souls who, according to legend, had been bitten by the deadly Wolf-Spider (the Tarantula).
The only antidote to the uncontrollable dance would be for townspeople to gather around the frantic victim and play tambourines, percussion and any instrument that came to hand in order to find a healing rhythm. Only once the correct rhythm and harmonies were found, could the victim be cured!
In this spirit, this Tarantella gradually modulates throughout, earnestly searching for its correct harmony. With the dissonant sections crashing through and the syncopated hemiolas a recurring theme, a slightly jilted and lilting feeling of unease emerges to eventually resolve in the chromatic grandioso section at the end.
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