Northumbrian Dances

From Wind Repertory Project
Martin Ellerby

Martin Ellerby

General Info

Year: 2019 / 2021
Duration: c. 10:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: MEM Publications, through Cane River Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $120.00; (digital) - $100.00   |   Score Only (print) - $32.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass 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
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
Tuba I-II
String Bass
Percussion (5 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Mark Tree
  • Ride Cymbal
  • Side Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tam-tam
  • Tenor Drum
  • Triangle
  • Tubular Bells
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block (suspended)
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

My Northumbrian Dances were commissioned by, and are dedicated to, the Northwestern State University Wind Symphony, (Nachitoches, Louisiana, USA) and their conductor Jeffrey C. Mathews. They were written in draft form in 2019, after a trip that took in all the locations of the four movements, and fully orchestrated in January 2021.

The English ceremonial and historic county of Northumberland is located by the North Sea, more or less between the River Coquet estuary in the south and Berwick-upon-Tweed in the north. It boasts some of the most magnificent coastline and beaches in England, is generally sparsely populated, and beholds much scenery of rural beauty. This brief dance suite is cast in four movements each with a descriptive subtitle:

1. Alnwick Town – This historic market town has an impressive castle, founded in Norman times, but is now a magnificently preserved private residence open to public access. Several film companies have filmed there including the famous Harry Potter series. This dance reflects all this within its brief overture status.

2. Bamburgh Beach – Another glorious castle is present here, but by the coast, and aside one of the best of the golden beaches England can deliver! It also provides rich sunsets, which looking up to Lindisfarne (Holy Island) north, or the Farne Islands out to the east, the effect is of a complete serenity. A folk song idiom is adapted with a brass chorale to represent the ever-present if now less daunting fortress on the cliff.

3. Flodden Field – Fought on 9 September 1513, this battle between the Scots and English armies resulted in a victory for the English side. It remains to this day a preserved site and from the monument a visitor can appreciate the struggle of both armies on this fateful day. The dead are remembered by a pipe tune Flowers of the Forest,’ but this is so well known I decided not to quote it. What I have tried to provide is a fitting elegy for the lost that day – all of them. Flodden is a sad place because of the battle – but like so many Northumbrian vistas it bleeds a solitude to relish.

4. Alnmouth Bay – This coastal village, to the south of the county, is a most picturesque resort with a beach to match Bamburgh in its own way. Having paced these sands over many years the last time I did so a brilliant wind was present which caused a sandstorm of miniature proportions to develop and there is a moment in this finale movement where this is openly represented. However, I conclude my tribute to this ‘county of counties’ in pure celebration and in D major, which I note was the opening movement key, the second movement key and, in the minor, the third movement key – one for the academics to ponder!

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer