The Floral Dance

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The Floral Dance is a popular English song describing the annual Furry Dance in Helston, Cornwall.

The music and lyrics were written in 1911 by Kate Emily Barkley ("Katie") Moss (1881-1947) who was a professional violinist, pianist and concert singer. She was brought up in London and studied at the Royal Academy of Music.

The song tells the story of an incident that apparently actually happened to Moss herself on a visit to Helston during the springtime 'Furry Dance' celebrations and the song was reportedly written directly afterwards as she was going home on the train.

The songbook cover states that the music was "founded on an old Cornish air". However, 80% of the music for the voice and piano is Katie's own work. She introduces the original Furry Dance tune in the piano part just as the singer is describing the sound of the band, with its `fiddle, cello, big bass drum, bassoon, flute and euphonium`.

"The Floral Dance" was first recorded in 1912 by Australian bass/baritone Peter Dawson, and many other versions have appeared since. The 1960s saw versions by The Eagles (UK), Ken Sims` Vintage Jazz Band (UK) and The Ivy League (USA). Katie's song experienced a major resurrection in an arrangement for the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band by their MD Derek Broadbent, which sold half a million copies and reached #2 in the UK single charts by Christmas...
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