Dance Scenes


Full Orchestra
picc.2.2.2(II=Ebcl).2.cbsn – 4330 – timp – perc(3): glsp/t.bells/3 bongos/SD/TD/BD/tgl/cyms/susp.cym/tam-t/tamb/whip – strings

Commissioned by Rowe & Maw for their 100th anniversary, with support from the Arts Council of England for the opening of the Philharmonia Orchestra's 50th anniversary season

First Performance
27.9.95, Royal Festival Hall, London: Philharmonia Orchestra/Daniel Harding

Score 0-571-51784-6 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes
This set of four orchestral dances was written in response to a commission from Rowe and Maw for their 100th anniversary, with support from the Arts Council of England, for the opening concert of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s 50th anniversary season. The first dance, marked Molto animato e brillante, starts the work off in an exuberant carnival-like atmosphere. The second slows the tempo down to an Andante pesante; heavy repeated chords on the horns accompanied by a step-wise descending bass line alternate with an obsessive primitive sounding figure on the woodwind. A contrasting trio section presents an extended lyrical line on the oboe, later taken up by the clarinets. A cadenza flourish leads back to the dance proper. The Allegretto tranquillo of the third dance begins with a little tune on the oboes, somewhat archaic in feeling. There follow five short Intermezzi that concentrate on different sections of the orchestra: muted brass and violas, bassoons, strings and percussion, flutes, brass (unmuted) and violas repeated. The opening tune then reappears on clarinets and, more fully, on strings. The finale is a fast running dance marked Molto allegro. It is characterised by perpetuum mobile passage-work on the strings, and moves in a steady crescendo towards a grand restatement of the tune from the previous dance. Nicholas Maw

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News & Reviews

'Dance Scenes' reviews

'It is written to please and does not put a foot wrong, as it dances energetically along to some singable themes, with invigorating rhythms, cast in a clear structure, and above all flourishing a masterly grasp of orchestration. The brassy extravagance of the first dance sounds like Walton and the tangy woodwind writing later like Britten, so Maw's debts to his English forebears are clearly signposted.' Financial Times (Richard Fairman), 27 September 1995 Read more

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