Medea's Dance of Vengeance

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Medea's Dance of Vengeance is a composition (1955, Opus 23a) by the American composer Samuel Barber derived from his earlier ballet suite Medea. Barber first created a seven-movement concert suite from this ballet (Medea, Op.23), and five years later reduced this concert suite down to a single-movement concert piece using what he felt to be the strongest portions of the work. He originally titled it Medea's Meditation and Dance of Vengeance, but shortly before his death, he changed the title to simply Medea's Dance of Vengeance.[1]

Scoring and premiere[edit]

Dance of Vengeance is scored for a larger orchestra than either preceding version (ballet or concert suite). It calls for:

3 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, E-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, snare drum, bass drum, tom tom, triangle, cymbals, tam-tam, xylophone, whip, harp, piano, and strings.

Dance of Vengeance was premiered on February 2, 1956 by the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Dimitri Mitropoulos.[1] The concert suite was recorded by the New Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Barber.


  1. ^ a b Freed, Richard. "Dance of Vengeance, Op. 23a, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts". Retrieved 2007-08-17.