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Three Celtic Dances

By Brian Balmages

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Detailed Description

Three Celtic Dances by Brian Balmages. For concert band. Concert Band. FJH Symphonic Band. Score only. Full set (score and parts) also available: B1358. Grade 4. Score only. Duration 7 minutes. Published by The FJH Music Company Inc (FJ.B1358S).

This three-movement work is based on various Scottish dance forms and includes a combination of authentic and original music. The opening Reel begins with a light-hearted presentation of the melody in typical Scottish fashion. As the movement develops, rhythms and harmonies become more intense and driving before a burst of percussion brings it to a sudden close. The second movement, Air, uses solo alto saxophone in a lush and lyrical setting of Well May I Behold My Faithful Brown-Hair'd Maid. The theme, presented in two contrasting settings, becomes extremely powerful with soaring countermelodies before returning to the tranquility of the opening. The final movement, Jig, makes use of expansive percussion as it celebrates one of the most well-known Celtic dance forms. The composer layers themes and various sounds throughout as the work builds to a furious conclusion supported by an enormous battery of percussion. Thrilling!
Based on three different Scottish dance forms, this work explores a wide variety of Celtic styles using both authentic dance tunes and original material. The first movement, Reel, is in cut time as is typical of all reels. It is based on the tune The Last Pint of Ale, a lively, spirited tune. In this case, the melody itself never changes - the movement is constantly developed with surrounding material. The second movement, Air, is based on the tune Well May I Behold My Faithful Brown-Hair'd Maid, a slow lyrical tune in 4/4. It presents the melody in two contrasting settings - the first in a chamber music setting with solo saxophone before a brief transition to a full ensemble presentation in an emotional and powerful setting. The movement closes with a brief return to solo saxophone in a delicate texture. The final movement, Jig, is a lively dance in 6/8 and is one of the most recognized Celtic dance forms. Loosely based on the tune Highlander's Jig, the movement weaves in and out of the source material as it also explores original ideas. All three movements stand on their own and may be performed individually if desired. Of particular interest is the last movement, which may be used as a short concert closer or encore.

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