Augusta Read Thomas: Acrobats for Flute, Bass Clarinet, Violin, Cello & Piano
There are only six dynamics used in this score (pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff) so that each “level” of volume has a clear meaning and sound. Very often dynamics are staggered and layered; thus it is especially important that musicians play their individual dynamics and not be swayed to change their dynamic if someone is playing a great deal quieter or louder. The words “sempre” and “subito” are used to help clarify the layered dynamic textures. Occasionally, where there are short instrumental soli, the term "rubato" is used and means that it is not necessary to mechanically play the exact rhythm (sextuplet, quintuplet, small triplet, etc.) but rather that one can consider those rhythms more gesturally. "Rubato" does not mean to drastically slow down or speed up the tempo.
This music should be performed along with acrobats or dancers when feasible.
Flute can be substituted by soprano saxophone, oboe or clarinet; Bass clarinet can be substituted by tenor saxophone or bassoon.