arranged by Tony Turrill from the suite for strings
2 Ob., 2 Cl., 2 Bsn, 2 Hn
click on the quaver sign to hear a full performance of all 6 dances
(Most of the dances are too short to make extracts sensible)
This setting was described by the Clarinet and Sax. Society magazine as a “welcome addition to the repertoire which will give performers considerable pleasure”
It is Warlock’s best known work, written firstly for piano, then for strings and finally in 1928 for full orchestra. It was inspired by melodies from a discourse on dancing, Orchésographie, written in the 16th century by a French priest named Arbeau. Capriol is a fictitious lawyer who wishes to learn to dance. The book records the subsequent dialogue between Capriol and Arbeau.
The suite’s mediaeval character is well suited to wind instruments and sits well on a standard wind octet . The suite is in six short movements:
1. Basse Danse a dance for older folk, in which the dancers’ feet for the most part slide along the floor.
2. Pavane the familiar stately dance.
3. Tordion: a brief movement, in 6/4 time, originally the concluding figure of the basse danse, dying away to nothing at the end.
4.Bransles (a ‘brawl’) The most substantial movement. Originally, a fast country dance in duple time pressing on at ever increasing speed - still danced at the court of Charles II.
5.Pieds en l’air justifiably the Suite’s most popular and frequently arranged movement. In 9/4 time, the dancers’ feet move so gently that they barely touch the floor, hence the title.
6.Mattachins: a sword dance, four men in pretend combat, climaxing in violent dissonance.
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An orchestration for chamber orchestra, strings, double woodwind and two horns is also available for purchase or hire £P.O.A.