Richard Alston Dance Company
Henry Purcell Chacony in G minor (arr. Benjamin Britten 1948)
Karl Oskar Sørdal
Originally danced by a cast of
5 women 5 men
Filmed by Marco Benozzi and Steve Jackman at Malvern Theatres.
Edited by Steve Jackman. Produced by The Place.
Britten was an ardent admirer of the 17th century composer Henry Purcell and made many arrangements of Purcell’s music including, in 1948, a version for strings of his Chacony in G minor. The music is rich and full of movement - the Chaconne is after all a dance. My dance is formal and perhaps a bit like Balanchine choreography tilted on its side! It veers between symmetry and great wheels of movement that careen through the space.
As originally presented in Aldeburgh Chacony was just the Purcell music. Later I added a Chacony by Britten himself but looking back I feel the Purcell was the heart of the piece.
Chacony is for Kenneth Tharp, for nine years Chief Executive of The Place and a good friend to me.
Purcell Chacony first performed by Richard Alston Dance Company at Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Aldeburgh on 21 October 2016.