Suite of Orchestral Dances
"...the common air that bathes the globe"
for Orchestra (1992/6)
by Ron Hannah
  1. Croatian Melody
  2. Ivory Coast Melody
    World Premier of Ron Hannah's
    Review by J.A. CREAGHAN
    ...for more reviews, click here.

    On Friday, October the 11th
    and Saturday the 12th, 1996, conductor Neal
    Gittleman and the Edmonton Symphony
    Orchestra gave the World Premiere of
    Ron Hannah's "Suite of Orchestral Dances
    (... the common air that bathes the globe)".
    This 20 minute work for full orchestra
    was given a warm and enthusiastic
    reception from the audience at the
    Jubilee Auditorium, and deservedly so.

    This is a work which has its roots in
    folksong, taking a melody from each of the
    six inhabited continents. The melodies were
    expressed in well-realized forms and handled
    with a sense of clarity and ease capturing
    their character and beauty.

    The compositional style used was not
    that of arrangement of folksong, as these
    melodies were mixed with the composer's own
    innate sense of melody. These contrasting
    melodies, accompanying figures, and contra-
    puntal themes provided the building blocks out
    of which these works were created. Here the
    composer handled these themes just as they
    should be, with breadth and simplicity,
    organizing them into a refined statement.

    The six movements were played without
    a break conveying a sense of unity between
    the movements and empathy to its foreign
    melodies. This helped give a sense of
    rhythmic and linear integration to the
    composition. The movements were short for
    the orchestral medium, their power and
    effectiveness coming from their size.

    One senses in this work a synthesis
    of an attraction to reality and a desire
    for the exotic. The work was splendidly
    orchestrated with always a hint of
    impressionism. "Suite of Orchestral Dances"
    is a welcome addition to the Canadian
    repertoire and deserves many performances.

    -- THE ALBERTAN COMPOSER, Spring 1997

  3. Balinese Lullaby
  4. Australian Melody
  5. North American Melody
  6. Venezuelan Melody

Duration: about 19 minutes

    This suite is a labour of love, indeed. I had long wanted to write a suite for orchestra, and when David Hoyt, assistant conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, suggested turning my already-begun work into a commission, I was delighted.

    I had started writing it during a trip to Austria with the Da Camera Singers in 1992. We were staying in Eisenstadt, not far from Vienna, where Haydn got his first real job with the Esterhazy family, and we rehearsed each day in the Haydnsaal where the master himself worked. During an extended lunch break one day, I found a shady spot on


to this and many other
orchestral works!

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the palace grounds and started writing. I wanted to write something in a folkish vein, and later this idea was expanded to include the quotation of folk melodies throughout the suite. But I won't put all of that here. The buttons on the left will take you to the program notes which explain everything. There, you will also find listening files and downloadable sample scores. The full score and parts are available from the
Canadian Music Centre, or by sending me an email (below).

NOTE TO CONDUCTORS: You can hear all of my orchestral music by clicking the "Listen" button.

     Interestingly, Eisenstadt is where I presently live, having married singer/director Andrea Mellis not so long ago. She has pursued a successful operatic and directing career in Europe for years. We live just up the street from the Esterhazy palace!

    This suite was premièred in the fall of 1996 by the Edmonton Symphony, under the direction of guest conductor, Neal Gittleman, who did an incredible job of bringing it to life! The orchestration is as follows: 2,2,2,2; 4,2,3, tuba; timp, 3 perc.; strings

     Should anyone decide to perform this piece, my only stipulation is that I be informed so that I can keep this website up-to-date.