Danceries Set II was commissioned by Keith Allen and Birmingham Symphonic Winds, supported by PRS for Music Foundation and the RVW Trust. The world première of this work was given by Birmingham Symphonic Winds, conducted by Keith Allen, at the CBSO Centre, Birmingham in 2011.
This second set of Danceries continues the format established in Danceries (Set I), namely in using material taken from Playford's Dancing Master, a collection of folk and popular tunes published in the seventeenth century, to form the basis of an extended dance suite. In this set, the melodies have been more abstracted and project only a distant echo of their original forms, but as before, each movement is self-contained, colourful and direct, with its own distinct mood.
The outer movements – Jennie’s Bawbee and Peascod’s Galliarda – share a use of driving percussion writing with a military air. Tom Tinker’s Toye and Heart’s Ease (movements two and three) are both settings of original melodies. All movements are more extended than in the first set, with a freer use and approach to the material; melodies now occur in various keys and are supported by a greater variety of harmonic colouring. The result is a richer, even more exhilarating set of dances. Danceries has come of age!