Maze Dances was written at the request of Michael Davis, and first performed by him at the Wigmore Hall, London, in May 1974 - the title refers to two elements which formed the basic impulse behind the composition. The first of these, the Maze idea, is simply the opening motif, a scurrying, circling theme which seems to be running around in a maze but gradually comes out of this while it descends and gets louder, breaking out into the first section proper. This idea returns to lead into the final section.
The second basic impulse was that of the dance - the work is comprised of five main sections, alternating fast and slow, influenced by two types of dance feeling: (i) the peasant-dance fiddle music which underlies the first and last movements, and (ii) the more balletic style of the central three movements, where two contrasted slow movements frame a short, flickering scherzo. The work, which lasts about 13 minutes, is played without a break.
© 1991 by John McCabe