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Hellas: A Suite of Ancient Greece

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John Foulds

John Foulds (trans. Keane Southard)

General Info

Year: 1932/2014
Duration: c. 13:00
Difficulty: II-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Double string orchestra, percussion and harp
Publisher: Spindrift Pages
Cost: Score and Parts (Complete Suite - PDF) - $150.00 Score and Parts (Single Movement - PDF) - $50.00   |   Score Only (Complete Suite - PDF) - $25.00


1. Solemn Temple Dance - c. 2:20
2. Processional - c. 4:15
3. Dirge for a Hero - c. 3:20
4. Song of Argive Helen - c. 2:45
5. Temple Chant - c. 2:20


Full Score
Flute I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F
Trombone I-II
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Marimba
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine (or Sleigh Bells)
  • Tam-tam (or Suspended Cymbal)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Hellas: A Suite of Ancient Greece by British composer John Foulds reached its final version in 1932 for double string orchestra, harp, and percussion. Ever since hearing his “April-England” on the radio one morning in graduate school, I have been fascinated with this incredible composer who was unjustly neglected for nearly fifty years, despite experimenting with micro-tones before almost anyone else, being a Western pioneer of Indian classical music, foreshadowing minimalism, and, above all else, writing great music.

“Hellas” is an exploration of the Gregorian modes (sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Greek modes. Although their names are Greek, they have nothing to do with ancient Greek music, and it seems that Foulds himself believed this myth as well.) Each movement explores a different mode while keeping the same key signature (although there are a few notes from outside the mode introduced briefly in the first two movements.)

I created this concert band arrangement of “Hellas” both because I thought it would work well in an arrangement for beginner concert bands and because I wanted to share his fantastic music with more people, as he deserves to be recognized as one of Britain’s greatest composers.

I should note that I have not included the sixth and final movement of the original suite, “Corybantes,” as this brief movement is at a much higher difficulty level than the rest of the suite, and such an arrangement for band would be out of reach for beginning bands.

-' 'Program Note by Keane Southard


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


  • New Mexico State University (Las Cruces) Symphonic Band (Ingrid Larragoity-Martin, conductor) - 28 April 2015

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Keane Southard website Accessed 15 April 2022
  • MacDonald, Malcolm. John Foulds: His Life in Music: with a Detailed Catalogue of His Works, a Discography, a Bibliographical Note, and with Music Examples and Illustrations. Triad Press., 1975
  • MacDonald, Malcolm. John Foulds and His Music: An Introduction. Pro/Am Music Resources, 1989.