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Paul Lewis
FOUR ANTICKE DANCES for mixed voice choir and harp
Goodmusic GM279

Catalogue Number: GM279

ISMN: 9790222310810

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Four Anticke Dances image
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. The French text translates as "Monsieur Leonard, artist at the court of King Francois".
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 Night’s 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 or the glittering star of the London stage, but as the luscious court beauty painted nude and recumbent by Sir Peter Lely. The king referred to Nell Gwynn as "Pretty witty Nell". 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

Four Anticke Dances started life in 2015 as a solo harp work. This arrangement for choir and harp was made in 2019 for harpist Cecily Beer and the Choir of Royal Holloway, director Rupert Gough, with texts by the composer.
Duration 12½ minutes

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