English Waltz

From Wind Repertory Project
Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger (trans. R Mark Rogers)

Subtitle: 5th Movement from Youthful Suite

General Info

Year: 1899-1901 / 1940-1947 / 1999
Duration: c. 4:45
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Southern Music Company distributed through Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $95.00   |   Score Only (print) - $17.95


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

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Marimba (2 players)
  • Orchestra Bells
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Swiss Hand Bells
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The working methods of Percy Grainger, like the man himself, were somewhat unorthodox. He was an incurable "tinkerer," constantly re-working pieces that had been sketched out years before, often producing a myriad of different settings of the same piece, sometimes taking decades to bring a work to its final form. The years 1895 through 1922 were years of feverish activity, with many projects begun, but only a few finished. In 1922, Grainger was devastated by the suicide of his beloved mother, and he fell into a creative slump that lasted for the remainder of his life. Had it not been for the raw materials laid up during his early years, which were to occupy him for the remaining 39 years of his life, Grainger might have ended his life in the living obscurity that befell his contemporaries Jean Sibelius and Charles Ives.

Grainger's Youthful Suite for orchestra was compiled in the 1940s and consists of five pieces: Northern March, Rustic Dance, Norse Dirge, Eastern Intermezzo, and English Waltz, all begun shortly before the turn of the century. English Waltz was sketched for orchestra from 1899 to1903, and in 1940-42 Grainger worked on it again with the intention of using it as the finale to the suite. Somewhat later (1943-45) the piece was "dished-up" for two pianos/four hands, a common procedure for Grainger, allowing him to hear the piece performed in "real time" to make certain that the form and structure of the piece were satisfactory. In late 1948, during a visit to Sweden (home to Percy's wife Ella), the final touches were added to the orchestral score and parts.

In Grainger's own words: "English Waltz reflects, to some extent, popular English waltz-types of the 1890s. Some of its phrases are cast in the five-tone (pentatonic) scale so characteristic of English-speaking melody, instead of the seven-tone (diatonic) scale more usual in Viennese, German, French, Belgian, Spanish, and Russian waltzes. No folk-tunes or popular tune-stuffs are used in any part of the English Waltz."

John Bird, the great biographer of Percy Grainger, has written this about the suite:

"These pieces show a preoccupation with unusual harmonic organization -- for example, there extended passages of parallel triads … and a fondness for closing on added sixth or secondary seventh chords … Apart from the purely academic interest of Youthful Suite, however, it is a most appealing work and it is strange that some of the constituent movements have not become favorites with the Promenade (Pops) audiences. Any single piece of the suite's five movements or any combination thereof could easily be performed in concert, and the multi-metric high-kicking English Waltz makes a wonderful conclusion to this sadly neglected work."

- Program Note by R. Mark Rogers


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class AA
  • Florida: V
  • Georgia: V
  • Kansas: V
  • Louisiana: v
  • North Carolina: V
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: VI


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


  • Rapp, W. (2005). "The Wind Band Masterworks of Holst, Vaughan Williams, and Grainger [book]. Meredith Music Publications: Galesville, Md.