String Quintet – Courtly Dances

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Basically it is a set of three dances loosely described as Allemande, Courante and Jygg. Orchestration is for string quintet (Violins 1 & 2, Viola, Cello and Contrabass)

The style of the first dance is pesante, with a touch of irony! The Contrabass leads with an Alberti pattern followed by the first melodic idea stated on the Cello. This motif is eventually taken up by all the instruments. The melody then
morphs into a lovely little B-section tune on the 1st Violin with an obbligato  on Violin 2 before the DS. Surprisingly simple, but 3 mins long.

Movement 2 plays on the meaning of courante (running). It’s in 3, as courantes were. Each instrument has an important role in keeping the music flowing – even the Contrabass and Cello. The middle section has a mournful
Double Bass melody with weaving contrapuntal lines from all the others. There’s a bridge into the DS and the first section is repeated, leading eventually to the short coda.

Movement 3 is the hardest movement. It’s in 9/8 and requires lots of dynamism. It also has a few modern touches. After the short (2 bars) 12/8 section, there is a Berlioz-esque dance of the witches type of fever about the music. Then DS to fine

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Ensemble Type



Baroque Period


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