Aurora Dances

Aurora Dances was commissioned by the Hong Kong-based Winter Band Festival, an international competition for bands of all grades, to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2018.

The three movements play without a break.


Opening with florid woodwind figures, the first movement aims to describe the bright and flowing colours of the Aurora Borealis. It consists of short repeated phrases, somewhat in the style of a fanfare, and highlights different sections of the band in turn. Eventually longer phrases coalesce to lead to a faster coda.


Starting mysteriously, flutes and bells accompany solos for clarinet and bass clarinet. These lead to a sombre chorale, which builds to a full-band climax. The mood subsides as the movement closes by recalling the opening solos.


Celebratory in mood, the finale is characterised by rhythmic, dance-like themes. A central section features a contrasting legato melody, but this canít dispel the energetic feel of the opening, which returns to close the work.