Terpsichore, Op.7 - "The Whirler", or Muse of Dance

Additional Information




Being one in a series of intense and ethereal or (as here) kaleidoscopically vibrant and sparkling symphonic portraits of the nine muses, Terpsichore (a showpiece for large orchestra) is itself divided into nine dance scenes:

1. The precocious Muse begins her wild, whirling dance

2. Entrancing Terpsichore dazzles all those who behold her

3. A most majestic and dramatic solo performer

4. The beguiling Muse slows and strikes a pose

5. Her frenzied dance resumes

6. The Muse displays her hypnotic, swaying gracefulness

7. She pauses one last time

8. Her recollection of past glories, and homage to the ancient circular dances

9. The capricious Terpsichore’s Finale!


RECORDING supported by the Foundation for New Music (USA).

SCORE reproduced with the aid of a grant from the Society for the Promotion of New Music's "Francis Chagrin Fund" (UK).



* A Record of the Year in Fanfare magazine (USA) ("Want List 2008")

* "Album of the Month" (February 2012), and Nominated (when re-released on Polyhymnia) for "Best Album of the Year" in Reviews New Age (SPAIN).

* ASCAP "Rudolf Nissim Prize" 2017: Special Distinction (USA) [one of the concert music world’s most prestigious awards]

* MUSIKVEREIN NEW SYMPHONY VIENNA "First International Composers Competition" 2020: Second Prize in the Orchestral category (AUSTRIA)



Fanfare (USA), Vol.31: No.5 (May–June 2008), pp.179-180, and "The Want List 2008", in Fanfare (USA), Vol. 32: No.2 (Nov-Dec 2008), p.77.

Tempo (UK), Vol.62: No.243 (Jan. 2008), pp.88-89.

Selected International Music Reviews

Bailey, Lynn Rene, ‘Little, Jonathan: Terpsichore and Other Works’ [CD Review] in “Fanfare” (USA), Vol.31: No.5 (May-June 2008), pp.179-180.  ISSN 0148-9364 – “Particularly here and in the next piece, Little’s music sounds like no one else’s. Not anyone’s. He contrasts large and small forces, rhythmic and melodic fragments, in a manner consistently contrary to both academic formula and 'expected' musical patterns. What sounds like the start of a development, for instance, rapidly fragments into shards of sound that float into space. What sounds incoherent and disconnected coalesces into a development section. Too much to say and too little space to say it; but why bother anyway? This is an aural experience, and to put it into words degrades the astonishing range of colors and moods he creates.”

Bailey, Lynn Rene, ‘The Want List 2008’, in “Fanfare” (USA), Vol.32: No.2 (Nov-Dec 2008), p.77 – “a major new, original and quite brilliant classical voice”.

Clavijo, Alejandro, ‘Jonathan Little: Polyhymnia’ [CD Review], in “Reviews New Age” (Spain) (February, 2012) [5/5 STARS: ALBUM OF THE MONTH; NOMINATED FOR BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR] – “From the same suite that opened the album, The Nine Muses, next comes “Terpsichore: ‘The Whirler’ or Muse of Dance, Op. 7” – one of the masterpieces of Polyhymnia, recorded with the Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra. The strings play incredible counterpoints against a tremendous battery of percussion. The beauty of this piece resides in the ease with which it slides in and out of different moods, in short fragments, sometimes fast, sometimes tense, sometimes sweet and tender – to convey an overall dynamic splendour!”

Focosi, Filippo, ‘Jonathan Little “Polyhymnia” ’ [CD Review], in “Kathodik” (16th April, 2012) (Italy) – “bursting through the panorama he paints with sudden flashes of light or menacing thunderbolts, and so projects the past into the future.”

Wheatley, John, ‘Jonathan Little: Terpsichore and other Works’ [CD Review], in “Tempo” (UK), Vol.62: No.243 (Jan. 2008), pp.88-89 – “All this innovative music leads us inevitably to Jonathan Little’s ground-breaking tour de force – Terpsichore: ‘The Whirler’ or Muse of Dance an incandescent Dance Poem for large orchestra, being the first of a series of symphonic portraits of the muses, the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Here, he has without doubt unleashed a positively dynamic musical palette, powerfully portraying the wild behaviour and dancing of Terpsichore in an astonishingly hypnotic range of musical sketches, where almost Messiaen-like bird-song and swaying elegance is contrasted against some incessantly energetic rhythmic frenzy and orchestral invention, moving the listener irrevocably onward to a brightly illuminated plain of poetic splendour, rhythm and ecstasy. Could this perhaps be a 21st-century version of Maurice Ravel’s choreographic symphony, Daphnis et Chloe?”



"The Whirler", or Muse of Dance (from "The Nine Muses" - No.7 of 9)


Orchestral Showpiece for Large Orchestra
Date published
Date recorded
2006 (remastered 2011); Released 28.02.2012
Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra (and Principal Soloists), directed by Robert Ian Winstin
Recording format id
Record company
PARMA (Navona label, distributed by Naxos) NV5867 UPC896931000673
Polyhymnia: String, Orchestral and Choral Works of Jonathan Little
Philharmonic Hall of Ukraine, Kiev
Date published
Date recorded
2006; Released 01.2008
Kiev Philharmonic Orchestra (and Principal Soloists), directed by Robert Ian Winstin
Recording format id
Record company
Dilute Recordings [DIL 07002]
Terpsichore and Other Works
Philharmonic Hall of Ukraine, Kiev