The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance performed annually by the Morris Men of Thaxted, has inspired the use of folk and dance melodies in my 2nd string quartet.

The work features traditional dances from around the world, and is in 6 short movements.

Our dance journey starts at Abbots Bromley and ends in Cornwall, but goes via exotic locations- America, the Mediterranean, Arabia and as far as Australia! For each movement I take a dance theme from the country and transform it completely into a new image that gives the melody a new and different environment.

The first movement begins with the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance; the very recognisable opening motifs are manipulated and given a symphonic treatment that becomes very robust and passionate!  In sharp contrast the 2nd movement is cool and groovy as we experience an American Boogie! As we move east the 3rd movement indulges in exotic Arabian modes and rhythms. The 4th movement, ”Ausie Waltz?” is a touch confused as this famous so-called ‘waltz’ is not originally written in 3/4 waltz time; but this version is!! Various solutions to this conundrum are explored as you will hear! The slow 5th movement recalls the Abbots Bromley theme again but this time is moulded into a Venetian Barcarola where the charm and elegance of noble Italian life is experienced.  To end our travels we return to the U.K. to encounter a fast and wild reworking of the Helston Floral Dance!

© Paul Patterson, 2011


Written 2011

String Quartet

Length 28′

Commission: Thaxted Festival
Dedication: ‘To Gareth Stainer’
Publisher: Joseph Weinberger

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