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JOHN GARDNER English Dance Suite 1977 OUP (hire)

Picc.2fl.2ob.Ebcl.3Bbcl.Ebacl.bcl.Ebcbcl.2asax.tsax.bsax.2bn.hn.3tpt.3corn.3tbn. euph.tba-timp.3-5perc-cb 23 minutes

1 Chacony upon a golden theme

2 Alman

3 Hornpipe

4 Corranto

5 Volta

6 Pavan

7 Reel

Written for the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall, this fine work was all but forgotten after its first performance in 1977. The parts were not even returned to the publisher until requested for performance at the Royal Northern College of Music on 24th June, 1992, conducted by Clark Rundell. The work is in a traditional but non-derivative style. Though the first movement clearly looks back to the Chaconne of Holst’s Suite in Eb, the remainder of the work uses dance styles as opposed to folk tunes. We hear no marches on folk material, but rather Renaissance and maritime dances. Gardner’s orchestration is expert, but his real genius lies in the instruments he leaves out. The welcome sound of Harmoniemusik in the almost Mozartian Courante is every bit as striking as the dynamic Volta for brass alone.

John Gardner was born in Manchester and studied with Gordon Jacob while still at school. His many posts include a spell as an RAF Bandsman in World War II, as repetiteur at Covent Garden and Director of Music at Morley College, and for a time he was Director of Music at St Paul’s School.