FOUR ANTICKE DANCES for harp
These pieces are evocations of 16th and 17th century dance forms by a composer long fascinated by the period. The melodies are new and no genuine anticke (old English for antique) tunes are used.
MONSIEUR LEO'S BASSEDANSE was inspired by accounts of masques in the grounds of the royal chateau at Amboise in the Loire Valley, for which Leonardo da Vinci, living nearby, devised sets and costumes. The Bassedanse was popular in France and Italy - a dance in which couples moved in a processional manner.
MASTER WILL'S SARABAND was originally written to accompany a reading of "Music Ho! Music such as charmeth sleep!" from William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Nights Dream" at Petworth House in Sussex. The Saraband was a slow dance in three-time with the emphasis on the second beat.
MISTRESS NELL'S PAVAN is named after King Charles II's favourite mistress, Nell Gwynn, and describes her not as the boisterous Covent Garden orange seller but as the luscious court beauty painted nude and recumbent by Sir Peter Lely. The Pavan was a slow courtly dance.
MASTER KIT'S BRAWL. Brawl was Shakespeare's Anglicization of the almost unpronounceable French Bransle, a lively dance suited to tavern and village green. "Kit" was the nickname of Christopher Marlowe, playright and spy, whom some believe was the author of Shakespeare's plays, and who died in a tavern brawl, though not of the dancing kind! Paul Lewis
Duration 12½ minutes
Click the play button below to hear a performance which has been computer-generated from the score.