The Festival Scherzo
was Dring’s response to the celebrations for the Festival of Britain in 1951. This four-and-a-half minute jeu d’esprit is characterised by the piano’s opening theme which consists of an upward arpeggio followed by a returning downward scale ending on a ‘wrong note’ and driven by a relentless 12/8, and with constant chromatic changes and popular elements such as the Cockney swagger of the second subject, perhaps reflecting similar pieces by Poulenc or Ibert. The opening section – more than half the piece – ends with the piano crunching out dissonant chords in an exuberant mood before the reflective middle section, soon followed by a brief cadenza, marked as such, and the return of the opening theme.
from notes by Lewis Foreman © 2002