English Dances, Book One

From Wind Repertory Project
Malcolm Arnold

Malcolm Arnold (trans. Maurice Johnstone)

This work bears the designation Opus 27.

General Info

Year: 1950 / 1965
Duration: c. 8:35
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Lengnick & Co.
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $152.00   |   Score Only (print) - $29.00


1. Andantino - 2:55
2. Vivace - 1:45
3. Mesto - 2:30
4. Allegro Risoluto - 1:35


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Tam-Tam
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


In Parts:

  • Flute II: Mvt. 3, m. 11, b. 3 should be a written A-natural
  • Oboe I-II: Mvt. 3, Movement title should be "III"
  • Oboe I-II: Mvt. 4, Movement title should be "IV"
  • Oboe I: Mvt. 3, m.21, b. 4 should be a written A-Natural
  • Clarinet I: Mvt. 1, m. 31, "li" of b. 1 should be a written B-flat
  • Clarinet I: Mvt. 3, m. 17, Rhythm should be quarter note followed by a quarter rest

Program Notes

Malcolm Arnold’s publisher, Bernard de Nevers, suggested that a suite of dances be composed to provide an English counterpart to Antonin Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances or Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances. Arnold developed eight original melodies that seemed firmly rooted in traditional English dance and song.

Written in 1950, English Dances was dedicated to de Nevers. The melodies were divided into two sets of four. The first movement, Andantino, opens quietly to four-part chords played by the French horns and a melody introduced by the oboe. The melody is reminiscent of the gentle movement of a country breeze or the slowly flowing streams, sometimes becoming agitated when encountering obstacles. The second movement, Vivace, begins with bell tones that seem to signal the start of festivities in a village town. Mesto, the third movement, translates as sad or melancholy. The final movement, Allegro risoluto, is characterized by a driving and determined rhythm in the brass with ornamentation from the woodwinds.

- Program Note by Kennesaw State University Wind Ensemble concert program, 12 October 2015

Arnold's mastery of instrumentation in evident in every page of English Dances, the first set of which was completed in 1950 and the second in 1951. Although the listener might think that the composer had resurrected several folk tunes, every theme in these boisterous, good-humored dances is original with Arnold.

Three modes, characteristic of folk music, are used in this first set. The first dance, Andantino, is in the Dorian mode. The lilting theme is first heard by flute and oboe against an ostinato accompaniment by horns, timpani, and muted trumpets. The second dance, Vivace, is Mixolydian, having a flattened seven degree of an otherwise major scale. The gloomy third dance, Mesto, is in Aeolian mode and has a simple pentatonic theme which rises a major third each of the four times it is played. In the Mixolydian mode finale, Allegro Risoluto, the theme goes from one section to another with the brass playing the chief role.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

  • Texas: II. (Any one movement)
  • Texas: III. (Any two movements)
  • Texas: IV. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Texas, Arlington, Symphonic Winds (Christopher Evans, conductor) - 26 February 2023
  • River Valley Wind Ensemble (Kankakee County, Ill.) (David Conrad, conductor) – 30 October 2022
  • Westerville (Ohio) Concert Band (Larry Klabunde, conductor) - 12 October 2022
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts (Michigan) Adult Band Camp (Thomas Riccobono, conductor) - 14 August 2022
  • Atlanta (Ga.) Wind Symphony (David Kehler, conductor) - 20 March 2022
  • Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Symphonic Band (Kelvin Jones, conductor) - 22 April 2021
  • University of Central Arkansas (Conway) Wind Ensemble (Ricky Brooks, conductor) - 16 March 2021
  • Wando High School (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.) Band (Bobby Lambert, conductor) - 19 December 2019 (2019 Midwest Clinic)
  • State University of New York, Potsdam, Symphonic Band (Brian K. Doyle, conductor) – 21 November 2019
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 19 November 2019
  • Baylor University (Waco, Texas) Wind Ensemble (Eric Wilson, conductor) – 22 October 2019
  • Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, Tx.) Symphonic Band (Chris Kaatz, conductor) – 15 October 2019
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence) Wind Ensemble (Paul W. Popiel, conductor) – 1 October 2019
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 26 September 2019
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 16 June 2019
  • Northshore Concert Band (Evanston, Ill.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 9 May 2019
  • Henderson State University (Arkadelphia, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Steven M. Knight, conductor) – 14 April 2019
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Ensemble (Danny Brock, conductor) – 19 February 2019
  • University of Illinois (Champaign) Hindsley Symphonic Band (Will Sugg, conductor) – 5 October 2018
  • University of Colorado Boulder Symphonic Band (Hannah Rudy, conductor)– 18 April 2018
  • University of Chicago (Ill.) Wind Ensemble (Chip De Stafano, conductor) – 18 February 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Arnold, M.; Johnstone, M. (1965). English Dances for Band [score]. Mills: New York.
  • Sir Malcolm Arnold website
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 19.