Renaissance & Early Baroque Dances
an Entertainment devised by Denis Stevens

The Jaye Consort:
Viols, Shawm, Bagpipes and Lute
The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Desmond Dupré, lute;
Harold Lester, harpsichord
The Accademia Monteverdiana Orchestra
Denis Stevens, Conductor & Musical Director

1:    Tickle My Toe - An Invitation to the Dance

2:    The Dancer chooses his Partner

3:    He doffes his cap and kisses her hand

4:    On bended knee, he invites her to dance

5:    She consents to dance, and they embrace

6:    The Honiesuckle - The Dancer takes his Partner back to her seat

In centuries far removed from our own,
dancing was both an art and a pastime, calling for considerable agility, a good sense of rhythm, and at times a highly developed athletic awareness. It also served as an opportunity for lively social intercourse, as a late sixteenth-century chronicle describes:

"After the pipers and players have been asked to play the dance, the dancer steps forward in a most elegant, polite, proud, and splendid manner, chooses a partner for whom he has a special liking among the girls and ladies present, and making his reverences, such as taking off his cap, kissing her hands, bending his knees, using friendly words and other similar ceremonies, invites her to have a lively, joyous and honest dance with him.

"When she has consented to dance, they both step forward, join hands, embrace, and kiss each other (sometimes even on mouth) and further give show of friendship with suitable words and gestures. Thereafter, when the dance itself is about to begin, they first perform the preliminary dance. This is rather solemn, and gives rise to much less improper noise and activity than the after-dance does. During the preliminary dance, those couples who are in love have a better chance to make conversation than during the after-dance, where everything is somewhat disorderly, and there is no lack of running, scrambling, pressing of hands, secret pushing, jumping, shouting, and other improper goings-on. When the dance is over, the dancer takes his partner back to her seat, and with the same reverence takes leave of her, or else stays, sitting on her lap and talking to her."

Each of the six programmes on our disc contains a varied selection of dances and instrumentation, capturing perfectly the mood of infectious gaiety and lively enjoyment. Avoiding the extremes of "rough and reedy", we allow listeners to enjoy the pure music, its tunefulness and its instrumental variety. Listen to one or two sets, or all six in one go - it makes really delightful entertainment.

Total time: 60:28

Baroque Music Library