Cinquepaces, Op. 5

brass quintet
duration 17'
composed in 1965

dedication: to Peter Racine Fricker

published by Novello and Co (republication of original OUP edition)


First performed by the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble on 6 July 1968, at a concert promoted by the SPNM as part of the Cheltenham Festival.


recorded by Philip Jones Brass Ensemble on CD Lyrita LY0305 (2008)
originally release on LP Argo ZRG 747 (1973)


programme note:

The word Cinquepace (pronounced as a trisyllable, sin-kwe-pás) derives from the French 'cinq pas', and is a generic term used to descrbe certain Elizabethan dances, of which the galliard is perhaps best knoqn. The style of these dances was forceful and athletic, as can be seen from contemporary prints, and had more in common with modern ballet than with the ballroom dancing of the last two and a half centuries. The dancers were usually male, and the sequences were often planned for pairs of soloists, more rarely for a single performer.

In the present work there are three such dances, separated by interludes and enclosed by a prelude and coda. The dances are in a strictly metrical style: the other sections employ unmeasured music. However, during the first two Cinquepaces, fragments of music played at a speed different from that of the dances themselves are used, and to some extent the character of the prelude and interludes is permitted to invade the dances. This contrast is underlined by the use of mutes for the instruments playing the interjectory material. In the thrid Cinquepace, the metrical music is restored, and the music gradually transforms itself into a slow-moving, chordal choda, which however erupts into several cadenza-like passages before its conclusion.

The general character of the work tends towards virtuosity, and to a certain extent the players are not only the five steps of the dance, but are themselves the dancers.

Justin Connolly

(source: original OUP score, 1971.)


(score reviews):
Niall O'Loughlin, The Musical Times Vol. 113, No. 1552 (Jun., 1972), p. 595
A. C. B., Music & Letters Vol. 53, No. 3 (Jul., 1972), p. 340

other comments:

Won the Alfred Clements Memorial Prize in 1967