Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite I
1. Balletto detto "Il Conte Orlando"
4. Passo mezzo e Mascherada - 4:20
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra Alto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
- Bass Drum
- Snare Drum
- Crash Cymbals
None discovered thus far.
Respighi was also a scholar of early music, editing the works of Claudio Monteverdi and Tomaso Antonio Vitali, as well as transcribing works by many Renaissance and early Baroque composers. He also delighted in arranging obscure early music for modern performance. The originals of these older works were, in Respighi’s time, seldom if ever heard, and his efforts brought this rich period of music back to life for many listeners. As Respighi and a group of nine fellow composers stated in a manifesto, countering the claims of the more dissonant sounds then becoming commonplace in the concert hail: “A logical chain binds the past and the future the romanticism of yesterday will again be the romanticism of tomorrow.”
His three suites of Ancient Airs and Dances are based on Italian and French lute music, mostly from the early seventeenth century, to accompany dancers and singers.
Suite No. 1 opens with the Balletto detto “Il Conte Orlando,” published in 1599 by the composer Simone Molinaro (c. 1570-1633). The first section grows from a gentle opening to a stirring climax. A quieter interlude based on the same theme follows, then the opening panel is repeated.
Vincenzo Galilei (c. 1520-1591) (an amateur composer and lute player best known as the father of Galileo) composed the following Gagliarda. This type of dance, also known as a galliard, was executed with exaggerated leaps. This is a bold, strongly accented number with richer scoring than the preceding Balletto. Respighi uses a sweet anonymous Italian tune as the contrasting middle section.
The composer of the third section, Villanella, is unknown. A villanella was a street song, derived from an earlier Spanish vocal form that came to popularity in Naples. It flourished side by side with, and in contrast to, the more refined madrigal.
The finale, Passo mezzo e Mascherada, combines two contrasting forms, both a dance and an air, through a pair of anonymous melodies. The name of the opening, fast-paced passo mezzo remains obscure. It might mean step-and-a-half, referring to the pattern of the dance it accompanied. Respighi alternates it with a mascherada, a type of villanella designed to be sung and played at a masked ball or by street players during Carnival season. It often contained an element of caricature. This flowing, melodic mascherada/villanella isn’t as gloomy as the one heard in the third movement. The passo mezzo keeps interrupting it, gleefully and vivaciously. Eventually, the passo mezzo carries the day.
This arrangement for wind orchestra is designed to provide an additional setting of Respighi’s magnificent orchestral work. It seeks to capture the spirit of the Renaissance era that employed such instruments as the lute, shawm, dulcian, sackbut, recorder, crumhorn, cornetto, and serpent, but with the addition of the rich, colorful sounds available to the late Romantic orchestra with its huge array of modern wind, string, and percussion instruments.
-'Program Note by William V. Johnson for the San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble concert program, 2 March 2016
- Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1 has been recommended as interesting, serious and distinctive music by members of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE).
(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)
None discovered thus far.
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) Wind Ensemble (Randall Ogren Coleman, conductor) – 30 March 2017
- California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Ensemble (William V. Johnson, conductor) - 2 March 2016 (81st Annual ABA National Convention)
- San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra (William V. Johnson, conductor) - 16 November 2013 (Premier performance)
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Airs of the Court (arr. Longfield) (1931/2009)
- Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite I (tr. Johnson)
- Ancient Airs and Dances (arr. Marlatt) (2008)
- Belkis, Regina di Saba (arr. Kimura) (1931/1995)
- Belkis, Regina di Saba (trans. Nefs) (1931/2016)
- Bergomasca from Ancient Airs
- Church Windows (arr. Schyns) (1926/2007)
- Feste Romane (arr. Van Grevenbroek) (1928/2013)
- Feste Romane (arr. Kimura) (1928/2006)
- Feste Romane (arr. Schaefer) (1928/1976)
- Fontane di Roma (arr. Van Grevenbroek) (1916/2013)
- The Fountains of Rome (arr. Junkin) (1916)
- The Fountains of Rome (tr. Odom) (1916)
- Huntingtower (1932)
- Huntingtower (orch. Cesarini) (1932/1987)
- Huntingtower (arr. Suzuki) (1932/2001)
- Huntingtower (ed. Binney) (1932/1991)
- I pini della via Appia (arr. Suijkerbuijk) (1924/1987)
- La Boutique Fantasque (as arranger; tr. Mahaffey) (2009)
- La Boutique Fantasque (as arranger) (1922)
- Pines of Rome (arr. Kimura) (1924)
- Pines of Rome (trans. Duker) (1924/1966)
- Pines of the Appian Way (ed. Leidzen) (1924/1948)
- Pini di Roma (arr. Van Grevenbroek) (1924/)
- Pini di Roma (tr. Nefs) (1924/2012)
- Roman Festivals (arr. Patterson) (1928)
- Trittico Botticelliano (arr. Hanna) (1927/201?)