'Where Spirits & Demons Dance' was written for Saxophonia, a saxophone choir which evolved out of the National Youth Wind Orchestra, and was premiered by them in their debut concert in April 1995, at the Purcell Room. It was a luxury to have such a large group of accomplished saxophonists at my disposal so I made few compromises over scoring or technical demands, which are relatively evenly spread throughout the ensemble.
The inspiration came from the haunting and sinister sounds of an old barrel-organ heard in the Bohemian heart of Amsterdam, and the choir's homogenous timbres suggest the organ's reedy pipes. The picture of Amsterdam's street life I've portrayed is one of the conflict between its superficial charm and the sleazier undertones of the environment.
The Dallas Wind Symphony is one of the leading professional wind bands in the United States, so when it approached me for a clarinet version of the work, I had, if anything, even fewer technical constraints. The relatively few modifications I have introduced have been for purely musical reasons in order to take into account the special qualities of the clarinet, particularly the deep contras. The clarinet version was premiered by the Dallas Wind Symphony in New Orleans on 19th August at the ClarinetFest 2001, organized by the International Clarinet Association. It has been recorded by the British Clarinet Ensemble on their latest CD.