Three Dances for Clarinet Choir

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three dances for clarinet choir

  1. Allegro moderato
  2. Andante con moto
  3. Allegro

Commissioned by the British Federation of Music Festivals, with funds provided by Yorkshire Arts Association, Three Dances for Clarinet Choir received its first performance under the direction of John Reynolds, to whom it is dedicated, in July 1985 in Harrogate.

The first movement, with its constantly changing metre and infectious rhythms, is based on a dance originally sketched for the masque in an abandoned production of Troilus and Cressida. The Andante con moto, with its alternating passages of three-four and three-eight time, is suggestive of a ‘pas de deux’ where a gentle, slow waltz-like tune is contrasted with a ländler-like melody. This movement leads without a break into the final Allegro, a rumbustious ensemble dance with a definite ‘Slavic’ feel to it.

Since composing Three Dances for Clarinet Choir, I have rewritten the piece for symphonic wind orchestra with the title Bohemian Dances, as many of the themes were originally composed for a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, the fourth act of which is set in Bohemia.                                              GW

Three Dances for Clarinet Choir


Guy Woolfenden


9 minutes

Year composed


Date of publication


First performance

Harrogate, Yorkshire July 1985
conducted by John Reynolds


British Federation of Music Festivals
With funds provided by Yorkshire Arts Association


Looping the Loop BCE 102
British Clarinet Ensemble
conducted by Charles Hine

ALCD 3069 Seréno
Tokyo Seréno Clarinet Orchestra
conducted by Kazuo Fujii

ALCD 3071
The Brilliant Clarinet Ensemble VII
Tokyo Clarinet Ensemble

  • 979-0-57009-407-3 [Complete set]
  • 979-0-57009-408-0 [Full score]
No. of Pages



Clarinet Choir

Full instrumentation
Full Instrumentation clarinet in E flat (1)
clarinet 1 in B flat (3)
clarinet 2 in B flat (3)
clarinet 3 in B flat (3)
alto clarinet in E flat (2)
bass clarinet in B flat (2)
contrabass clarinet in E flat (1)
or contrabass clarinet in B flat (1)

Press & Public Reviews

…here again an excellent craftsman at work creating at times some quite beautiful sounds

Winds Magazine

Filling out the CD are two other works: Guy Woolfenden’s Three Dances for Clarinet Choir and the familiar Concertino arranged by Gordon Jacob from sonatas of Tartini, presented here in the version for soloist and clarinet choir. Woolfenden’s dances were written in 1985. The entire work is fresh, cheerful and popular in tone, with hints of eastern European folk style in the first and third movements. The British Clarinet Ensemble deserves heartiest congratulations for this terrific CD. The playing is first-rate and the composition of the highest quality.

Jane Ellsworth, International Clarinet Society - June 2008

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