From the recording Polyanka
Symphonic Dances Suite #1 (Eastern European Dances)
The symphonic dance suites by James Domine are orchestral arrangements of dance themes that are related by their cultural source of origin. The first of these is the East of the Danube Suite, a collection of folk dances from Russia, Hungary, Romania, and Armenia. The tunes are authentic examples of ethnic music and every effort has been made to preserve the regional character of each selection. The suite opens with a Russian tune entitled Polyanka that begins with a slow introduction in which the strings imitate balalaikas followed by a spirited dance sequence. The second movement is the Zhok, a lively Armenian dance in which the modal colors of the Near East are featured. Next, a slow melancholy Russian dance called Ya Seezhu na Kameny (I am seated upon a stone) provides contrast to the fast tempo of the opening movements. This is followed by a lovely, wistful Moldavian waltz that opens with a traditional flourish in the clarinet that is echoed nowadays in certain Klezmer ensembles. The suite concludes with the familiar Romanian tune, Circiorlia, (the Cuckoo) once a favorite among borscht-belt violinists and made famous as part of Enesco’s Roumanian Rhapsodie.
This archival recording of Symphonic Dances Suite #1 (Eastern European Dances) features James Domine conducting the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra.