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Fantasia On The Dargason    Concert Band    Grade 3    3 minutes

This 4th movement from Holst’s Second Suite In F is not based on any folk songs, but rather has two tunes from Playford's Dancing Master of 1651.[2] It opens with an alto saxophone solo based on the folk tune "Dargason", a 16th-century English dance tune included in the first edition of The Dancing Master. The fantasia continues through several variations encompassing the full capabilities of the band. The final folk tune, "Greensleeves", is cleverly woven into the fantasia by the use of hemiolas, with "Dargason" being in 6/8 and "Greensleeves" being in 3/4. At the climax of the movement, the two competing themes are placed in competing sections. As the movement dies down, a tuba and piccolo duet forms a call back to the beginning of the suite with the competition of low and high registers. The name dargason may perhaps come from an Irish legend that tells of a monster resembling a large bear (although much of the description of the creature has been lost over time), the dargason tormented the Irish countryside. During the Irish uprising of the late 18th century, the dargason is supposed to have attacked a British camp killing many soldiers. This tale aside, dargason is more likely derived from an Old English word for dwarf or fairy, and the tune has been considered English (or Welsh) since at least the 16th century.[3] It is also known as "Sedony" (or Sedany) or "Welsh Sedony".

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