Four Norfolk Dances

Four Norfolk Dances was commissioned by the South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band, who gave the first performance on 15th September 2001.

Norfolk is one of the most beautiful counties in England, famous for its charming villages and boundless broads, a popular centre for sailing holidays.

It is also the home of one of the best known of all British composers, Sir Malcolm Arnold. The date of the premiere of this piece was to fall close to his 80th birthday, so Philip Sparke decided to write something of a birthday tribute.

Some of Arnold’s best-loved orchestral works are his sets of dances: there are two sets of English Dances, Four Scottish Dances, Four Cornish Dances etc., most of which have been arranged for concert band at one time or another. Philip Sparke thought it would be appropriate for the concert band to have its own set of dances and wrote Four Norfolk Dances very much in the style of Arnold’s suites.

The four movements are each named after a village in South Norfolk that has a particular association with the band.

 I.         Pulham Prelude is robust in nature and combines strong fanfare figures with a burlesque dance.

 II.      Diss Dance is a charming waltz, which contrasts solo passages with the full band.

 III.      Lopham Lament features a mournful oboe solo and a passionate climax for the whole band.

 IV.        Garboldisham Jig combines a lively jig with a graceful chorale tune.