Martins' first collaboration with Torke is a three-part plotless work using three pairs of soloists. The strongly patterned choreography of the first and third movements is based on rhythmic complexities that erupt from Torke's futuristic music in a constant bombardment of frenetic, upbeat activity. The heart of the piece is a sensuous pas de deux in which unique uses of off-balanced weight and form cut across the slow movement in languorously controlled, convoluted images. Ecstatic Orange was originally a far shorter work. What is now the third movement premiered in January 1987; by June of that year, it had fully matured into a work using three Torke scores: a shortened version of Verdant Music for the first movement, the commissioned score Purple for the second movement, and Ecstatic Orange for the third. The enormous success of Ecstatic Orange has led to three more cooperative efforts between the choreographer and the composer — Black and White (1988), Echo (1989), and Ash (1991).
Michael Torke (1961- ) is a 1984 graduate of the Eastman School of Music. He enjoyed his first critical success that same year with his first work, Vanada, a chamber ensemble piece for keyboards and percussion. Torke's early exposure to jazz and rock is powerfully expressed in the propulsive rhythms and exciting energy of his colorfully classical compositions. He does in fact envision musical impulses in terms of color, vibrant ones rather than soft pastels. His orchestration for Ecstatic Orange is dappled with such images as "Orange Pekoe in Flames", "Absinthe and Apricot", and "Unripe Pumpkin".