Greek Folk Dances by Bruce Fraser. For concert band (Flute 1, Flute 2, Oboe, Bb Clarinet 1, Bb Clarinet 2, Bb Clarinet 3, Bb Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, Alto Saxophone 1/2, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Horn in F 1/2, Bb Trumpet 1, Bb Trumpet 2, Bb Trumpet 3, Trombone 1/2, Euphonium, Baritone T.C., Tuba,). Grade 3.5. Score and parts. Duration 5:30. Published by C. Alan Publications (CN.R10295).
Greek Folk Dances captures the excitement of two dance styles the composer encountered while on holiday in the Greek Islands - the Hasapiko and the Syrto. The first is slow and dramatic dance that plods along showcasing the solo clarinet, while the second is a blazing fast fire dance that alternates between 4/4, 3/4 and 7/8.
The inspiration for these dances came from my first proper cruise in 2007, when we traveled around Greek islands and spent a week on the island of Corfu. Traditional music was all around us and we had the chance to watch and take part in some dancing. I began to formulate mu own ideas into two of the dance styles I had encountered - the Hasapiko and the Syrto. The Hasapiko is a butcher dance where the dancers put their arms around each other's shoulders and move in a slow side to side motion, dragging the insides of their feet on the ground. The music often speeds up, but not necessarily. The Syrto is much faster, again with arms around shoulders. Often a solo dancer breaks away, doing acrobatic dance tricks in the middle of the circle. I observed solo fire dancing among flames sprayed onto the ground using some flammable liquid. I have tried to capture some of the excitement of this. The Syrto can be in 3/4 time or 7/8 time, or a mixture of the two. I have used all three options in a gradual speeding up process charging towards a hugely energetic ending.