program notes by composition > F > Four Scottish Dances

Four Scottish Dances

Malcolm Arnold, Opus 59/arr. John P. Paynter

Four Scottish Dances Composer Sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) was born in Northampton, England. Originally a trumpet performer, he is known for his conducting and uninhibited writing. His works include ballets, symphonies, concertos, chamber music and film scores. Arranger John Paynter (1928-1996), past Director of Bands at Northwestern University, transcribed this work for band. These dances are all based on original melodies except one composed by Robert Burns. Evoking the music of Scotland, they utilize sounds intended to imitate bagpipes.

Pesante : The first dance is in the style of a slow strathspey (“ strath ” (valley) of the river Spey), in 4/4 meter, with many dotted notes, frequently in the inverted (reversed) arrangement of the "Scottish snap."

Vivace : This lively reel begins in E-flat and rises a semitone each time until the “tipsy” bassoon plays it at a greatly reduced speed, in G. The final statement is at the original speed in the home key of E-flat.

Allegretto : Conveying an impression of the sea and mountain scenery on a calm summer's day in the Hebrides.

Con Brio : A lively fling which makes a great deal of use of the open string pitches of the violin (saxophones in the band edition).

Last updated on July 26, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band