Johnny Come Dancing

by Anthony Ritchie, for choir and piano, Opus 86

Designed for easy learning, this song is like an Irish gig, folky in places but essentially modern. Pianists need to be grade 8 or above. Originally written for various groups to sing, it can, nontheless, be sung by one single, mixed choir.

Programme Note

Poem by Bub Bridger for mixed choir with optional trebles and piano (4 hands)

Bub Bridger started writing poetry after visiting the river which Douglas Bridge spans in Northern Ireland. Johnny Come Dancing was one of her first poems and tells the story of a man's magic encounter with fairies and his subsequent emmigration to New Zealand. Johnny in the poem was, in fact, Bub Bridger's father, and she assures me the story is true. The combination of magic and music in the poem appealed to me greatly, and made me want to set it for this commission. The song uses Irish dance rhythms to underpin the largely modal vocal lines. The third verse adopts a different style, however, with reference to the old-style 'glees'(male part-singing). In the end, the dance rhythms return to drive the music to a climactic ending.

Commissioned by The New Zealand Choral Federation (Otago Branch) for performance at its annual conference in Dunedin, July 1998