Dance Scenes

Nicholas Maw (1935)

Dance Scenes 1995

3223 - 4330 - timp - perc(3) - strings
Duration 
19
Genre 
Publisher 

This set of four orchestral dances was written in response to a commission from Rowe and Maw for their 100th anniversary, with support from the Arts Council of England, for the opening concert of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s 50th anniversary season. The first dance, marked Molto animato e brillante, starts the work off in an exuberant carnival-like atmosphere. The second slows the tempo down to an Andante pesante; heavy repeated chords on the horns accompanied by a step-wise descending bass line alternate with an obsessive primitive sounding figure on the woodwind. A contrasting trio section presents an extended lyrical line on the oboe, later taken up by the clarinets. A cadenza flourish leads back to the dance proper. The Allegretto tranquillo of the third dance begins with a little tune on the oboes, somewhat archaic in feeling. There follow five short Intermezzi that concentrate on different sections of the orchestra: muted brass and violas, bassoons, strings and percussion, flutes, brass (unmuted) and violas repeated. The opening tune then reappears on clarinets and, more fully, on strings. The finale is a fast running dance marked Molto allegro. It is characterised by perpetuum mobile passage-work on the strings, and moves in a steady crescendo towards a grand restatement of the tune from the previous dance.

Nicholas Maw

Performances 
27.9.95, Royal Festival Hall, London: Philharmonia Orchestra/Daniel Harding
20/22/23.5.98 Minnesota, USA: Minnesota Orchestra/Lawrence Renes
19.2.04 Cheltenham Town Hall: BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Richard Hickox
20.2.04 Brangwyn Hall, Swansea: BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Richard Hickox
3
Flute
3rd piccolo
2
Oboe
2
Clarinet
2nd doubling Eb clarinet
3
Bassoon
3rd contrabassoon
4
Horn
3
Trumpet
3
Trombone
1
Timpani
3
Percussion
glockenspiel, tubular bells, 3 bongos, tubular bells, 3 bongos, side drum, tenor drum, bass drum, triangle, cymbals, suspended cymbal, tam-tam, tambourine, whip
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