Summer Dances

(1981)

by Nicholas Maw

Description
orchestra
Duration
24
Genres
Full Orchestra
Instrumentation
3(III=picc).3.3.3 - 4331 - timp - perc(2/3): SD/TD/BD/cyms/tamb/susp.cym/whip/tgl/unspecified tuned perc - (pno) - strings
Commission

Commissioned by the Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools

First Performance
27.7.81, The Maltings, Snape: IAPSO/Nicholas Kraemer
Availability

Score 0-571-50712-3 on sale, parts for hire. Errata list required for fs

Programme Notes

Nicholas Maw Summer Dances Summer Dances was commissioned by the Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools. These dances were written last winter for the IAPS orchestra to play at this concert, and in them I have tried to catch something of the seasonal spirit of their premiere. Writing for young people is always a challenge, and never more so than when their musical knowledge and appreciation has outstretched their technical abilities, as is so often the case with young instrumentalists. So, I have taken as my main task in writing this work, the provision of something enjoyable for them to play that also makes certain – not unreasonable, I hope – demands on their techniques, and that gives all sections of the orchestra plenty of work to do. Although the musicians themselves have been my main consideration I shall be equally pleased if the audience enjoy the occasion too! The work opens with an Introduction, in the form of a fanfare, which reappears in various guises throughout as a Transition, to link all the dances together. First Dance: Very lively. An athletic start to the set, in duple time, which very soon runs its course. Second Dance: At a Steady Swinging Pace – a Little Stately This is a kind of round-dance, with a big tune for the strings in the middle. Third Dance: Slow and Sustained. A gentle folk-song inflected melody in triple time with a mysterious central section. Fourth Dance: Quite Fast and with Spirit The main idea of this mini-ballet is closely modelled, if not actually stolen, on a tune of one of my favourite composers, and is intended as an affectionate tribute to his memory. Fifth Dance: At a Steady Pace, but with Movement. Also rather balletic. After the Transition from the fourth dance has whipped up excitement, unison strings make a grand start but it subsides into a quiet ending, leading to … Sixth Dance: Moderately Fast, with a Good Steady Movement. This final dance has a definite Mediterranean link. It is characterised by swinging ostinato rhythms and a lively stamping tune played on violins and violas. At the end, the brass bring everything to a climax by piling several different versions of the opening fanfare on top of each other. Nicholas Maw

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