Danceries Set II, arranged for brass band, was first commission by Keith Allen for the Birmingham Symphonic Winds. This second set of Danceries continues the format, established in the popular Danceries (Set I), of using tunes and dances from Playford’s Dancing Master (17th century) to form the basis of an extended dancesuite. In this set, the melodies have become more abstracted and project only a distant echo of their original forms. 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 driving percussion 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.