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Blue Work

Subtle Dances

for piano trio

Year:  2013 Instrumentation:  violin, cello and piano

Year:  2013
Instrumentation  violin, cello and piano

Composer:   Claire Cowan

Films, Audio & Samples

Claire Cowan: Appointment i...

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Claire Cowan: Subtle Dances...

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Claire Cowan: Subtle Dances...

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Upbeat interview with Justi...

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Sample Audio

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To borrow or hire parts please email SOUNZ directly at Please note that only library members in New Zealand and Australia can borrow or hire parts.


Subtle Dances is a set of three short moods for piano trio. In writing, I have tried to approach the works as intuitively as possible. For me this creates the greatest connection between me as a composer, the performers, and the audience listening. Each work features one instrument more prominently - firstly cello, then piano, then violin. The music explores my continued fascination with the space created within the music, in which a listener can engage. Both hypnotic and meditative, the pieces present themselves as a contrasting set of interior landscapes. They are: passing thoughts, memories, unsolvable problems, and explorations of headspace.

Firstly - it begins with a dance; a rhythmical and passionate interlocking of playful lines, but not without an element of danger or risk. Secondly - an elegy, the body in its slowest state. Thirdly - a struggle, an unanswered question, a cycle - and ultimately, a transition; a bursting through, into a new light.

Commissioned note

Co-commission CMNZ/NZTrio

Contents note

Three movements:
i. Subtle dances
ii. Be slow and lie low
iii. Nerve lines