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English Dances, Book One

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Malcolm Arnold

Malcolm Arnold (trans. 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


Movements

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


Instrumentation

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
Cornets I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Timpani
Percussion, including:

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


Errata

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


Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project


Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources

  • 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.