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J. Lee Graham

Two Ländler from "Sundry Dances"

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There really isn't a particular place to put dance music for small ensemble, so I'll just put this here.  

These are two Ländler I have composed for the collection of dance music I call "Sundry Dances," which I have been compiling for about the last 14 years.  The one in D major I composed just this evening; the one in G major was a couple of years ago, in 2016.  I absolutely love dance music, and I've been studying dance music for many years; "Sundry Dances" contains many different ballroom dances, from the Fandango to the Quadrille and everything in between.  Every now and then when the mood strikes me, I add to the set, and this evening was one such occasion.   

The Ländler is an Austrian folk dance that became popular in Vienna and elsewhere in Central Europe as a ballroom dance in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.  It is believed to have contributed to the development of the Waltz.  Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, among others, wrote Ländler.  Depending on whether it is danced in the original folk versions or as a ballroom dance, it can be either rustic or elegant.  It is the elegant version I have posted here, though they still contain material and gestures particular to the folk dance, which might sound "Austrian" to the listener, such as melodic material reminiscent of yodeling, or certain characteristic figures particularly at cadences.

The Ländler dance itself is one of the more delightful folk dances I know of.  In the following film clip from the classic film "The Sound of Music" (1965), Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) and Maria (Julie Andrews) beautifully dance a Ländler to the the charming music of Richard Rogers (1902-1979); Rogers must have really done his homework, because his music perfectly captures the character of the dance.  

 

The variant on the Ländler they are dancing is probably from Salzburg and its environs, as Salzburg is the setting of the film.  There are as many variations as there are towns, districts, mountains, and valleys in Austria, practically, but this one is particularly charming.

So, here are my offerings, such as they are.  Enjoy!  

 

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Two lovely pieces!

Ländler in D :

You definitely capture an elegant spirit and the melodies flow well. I could imagine dancers easily! I think this one is a better Ländler.

Ländler in G :

The 1st theme is very nice but seems less danceable than the former. That said, it is more musically substantial and has greater potential concert value.

From both of them, I can see your knowledge about dance music and the spirit behind the Ländler. I think they would be better if I was to see dancers, but you've done a nice job!

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@aMusicComposer  Thanks for your comments, and your kind compliments!  

I was so surprised at first to read that you thought the D major to be the better example!  I had been quite sure the G major was better - it's surely a prettier tune.  But upon listening to them both again, I think I have to agree with you.  The dance rhythm is stronger in the D, I think.  Maybe it's the subtle hemiolas in the main theme of the G that make it somewhat less danceable.  Anyway, I appreciate your assessment.  Thanks again!        

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