Dances from Terpsichore - Woodwind Octet

Dances from Terpsichore - Woodwind Octet

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Digital Sheet Music

Early 17th century Germany adapted music from Italy and France to its own musical forms. During this time, Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) played a prominent role, writing the Syntagma musicum known as the first music dictionary in the world. He also composed numerous pieces of both sacred and secular music.

Praetorius transcribed French Dance music, still unknown in Germany, to instrumental music. He wrote performance notes for this collection and published it in 1612. This dance anthology had over 500 pieces and was known as the largest collection of dance music of the time. Of the nine Greek goddesses, Terpsichore was the goddess of dance and singing. So, the edition was named Terpsichore.

Most of the songs in the collection were French pieces transcribed by Praetorius. However, about 80 of them were by Pierre-Francisque Caroubel (1556-1611). Caroubel was from Italy. After returning to France, he became a famous viol player in French court. According to Praetorius, to help him with the collection and publication, Caroubel made a visit to Germany a few years prior to the publication.

The woodwind ensemble arrangement was commissioned for the 2015 Ensemble Contest by Hanasaki Tokuharu High School (Director Tomoko Kawaguchi) in Saitama, Japan. From the Terpsichore, these six pieces by Caroubel were chosen:

1. Branle Gay (I)
2. Gavotte (I)
3. Spagnoletta (XXVI)
4-5. Two Courantes (XLIII, XCIV)
6. Gaillarde (CCLXXXVII)


 Piccolo & Flute
Oboe (or Clarinet in Bb )
Bassoon (or Baritone saxphone in Eb )
1st Clarinet in Bb
2nd Clarinet in Bb
Bass Clarinet in Bb
Alto Saxophone in Eb
Tenor Saxophone in Bb