Selections from "Suite of Old American Dances"
Robert Russell Bennett (setting. James Curnow)
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Year: 1950 / 2005
Duration: c. 6:00
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $75.00 | Score Only (print) - $10.00
1. Western One-Step
3. Wallflower Rag
N.B. The three movements may be published and available separately.
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 Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II
Tuba (String Bass)
(percussion detail desired)
None discovered thus far.
Carefully adapted from the original classic, this edition is designed for younger players. Three of the original five movements: Western One-Step; Wallflower Rag and Cakewalk are featured in this new setting.
- Program Note from publisher
Suite of Old American Dances was inspired after the composer heard a performance by the Goldman Band in 1948. The original title was Electric Park, an amusement park Bennett went to while growing up in Kansas City. Each movement of the work is based on a dance from the beginning of the 20th Century.
Suite of Old American Dances demonstrates that folk music can be both entertaining for listeners and musically substantive for performers. This rhythmically challenging piece is suitable for both high school and university ensembles, and select movements can work well for strong honor bands. Extended syncopated lines, frequently disjunct melodies, and parallel ninth and eleventh chords give this piece a ragtime sensibility that audiences generally enjoy.
- Program Note from Great Music for Wind Band
The Cakewalk dance originated on the Southern plantations, where slaves often imitated their plantation owners. The dance of “strut” was danced to jig-like banjo/fiddle music, usually done by a couple who, with a backward sway, strutted in a medium high step or low kicking fashion. Plantation owners would encourage their workers by presenting prizes for the best couples. The prize was often a cake, usually shared with the other participants. The men would often dress in long coats with high collars and the women in frilly gowns, to mimic their owners.
The Western One Step included in the Suite of Old American Dances, is a somewhat misleading title. As Frederick Fennell points out, “The composer informed me that this is also a dance known as the Texas Tommy, an obviously bright-eyed tune with an equally bright-eyed tempo.” Little is known about the Texas Tommy, one of the obsolete forms of the one-step. This dance, from the early 20th century, is believed to have originated in brothels and saloons, where ladies of the evening were known as “tommies.” There is a record of the Texas Tommy appearing in the New York Lafayette Theatre production of Darktown Follies in 1913.
Although the beginning of the 20th century represented a new cultural era, replete with new dance steps, the time-honored tradition of the Wallflower Waltz still reigned as king of the ballroom dance scene.
- Program Note by Edward Higgins
- Audio CD: Clarksville Middle School Wind Ensemble (John Mitchell, conductor) - 2009
- Audio: Reference recording. Japan Air Self-Defense Force Western Air Band (Hiroyuki Kayo, conductor)
- Michigan: Senior High C
To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project
- Clarksville (Md.) Middle School Wind Ensemble (John Mitchell, conductor) – 16 December 2009 (2009 Midwest Clinic)
Works for Winds by This Composer
- Autobiography (1979)
- Carousel Waltz (as arranger) (1945/1957)
- Christmas Overture (1981)
- Cinderella Waltz (as arranger)
- Concerto Grosso (1958/1959)
- Down to the Sea in Ships (ed. Glaser) (1954/2016)
- SS Eagle March (1969/2016)
- The Fabulous Country (1975)
- Fanfare for the AWSO
- Four Preludes (1974)
- Gigi (as arranger) (1957/)
- The Gondoliers (as arranger) (1889/1962)
- King and I, The, Selections (as arranger) (1951)
- The Many Moods of Christmas (arr. Rehbein) (2002)
- The Many Moods of Christmas, Suite II (arr. Rogers) (1971/2019)
- The Many Moods of Christmas, Suite IV (arr. Rogers) (1962/2019)
- March of the Siamese Children (as arranger)
- Oklahoma! (as arranger)
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (as arranger) (1970)
- Picasso Suite Sketch (as arranger) (1974)
- Porgy and Bess: Selections (as arranger) (1934/1942)
- Rose Variations (1956)
- Selections from "Suite of Old American Dances" (arr. Curnow) (1950/2005)
- Cake Walk (arr. Curnow) (1992)
- Western One-Step (arr. Curnow) (1989)
- Western One-Step (arr. Curnow) (1989)
- Soap Box Derby March (1966)
- The Sound of Music -- Selections (as arranger) (1959/1960)
- South Pacific Symphonic Scenario (as arranger; adapt. Rogers) (1949/1999)
- Suite of Old American Dances (1949)
- Suite of Old American Dances (ed. Higgins) (1949/1952)
- Symphonic Songs for Band (ed. Ferencz) (1958)
- Three Humoresques
- Track Meet (1961)
- Twain and the River
- Victory at Sea
- White Christmas (as arranger) (1940/1948)
- Nicholson, Chad. (2009). Great Music for Wind Band: A Guide to the Top 100 Works in Grades IV, V, VI. Galesville, MD: Meredith Music Publications. pp 20-21.
- Suite of Old American Dances, Wikipedia. Accessed 17 December 2019