This suite of dances for small orchestra incorporates music originally written for the Jean Anouilh/ Christopher Fry play. It has become the composer’s most performed work.
This small orchestra version is the original 1953 scoring that was recorded for the NZ Players to take on tour. In that recording we used a “harpsichordized” piano (sheets of newspaper over grand piano strings) to give an extra “edge” to the sound; you’ll see the Waiteata score says “piano or harpsichord”, and it has been performed with harpsichord.
In writing the dances, I followed the play-script for the second act, keeping to regular 8-bar dance formulas and asking the director, Richard Campion, for approximate durations for each dance; (his original estimations usually turned out to be much too short!). Only one dance, the Tango, was danced on stage; here my wife-to-be, Raydia d’Elsa, helped me by going through the steps and fitting in the dialogue. (Letter from David Farquhar to Tom Bayliss.)