Music for English Ball Dances 1700 to 1740 – 2 CD Set


The style of dance known today as baroque dance, or French noble style, flourished in England in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, where it was referred to as “French dancing”. The publication in 1700 of the Beauchamp-Feuillet system of dance notation resulted in the preservation of many dances, in print or manuscript, and this, together with some important treatises, has made it possible for present-day dancers to reconstruct and perform them. Of the 340 or more surviving choreographies in this notation system, around 90 were created by dancing masters working in England – either English by birth or by adoption. Some were created for the stage, some to demonstrate the achievements of the masters’ students, but the majority were for performance at balls held at court or in other aristocratic or genteel situations, or at public assemblies. The great majority of these ball dances are to be danced by one couple, man and woman, dancing in front of spectators. A few are for a single woman or girl. Although the ball dances avoid the more virtuosic steps found in stage dances, they nonetheless require much training and practice.
This recording presents the music for all the English ball dances known to have survived at the time of writing. Each dance has its specific tune, printed in the source above the dance notation, melody only. In many cases, bass lines or keyboard arrangements have been found in contemporary sources, and these have been used in the recordings. In the remaining cases, arrangements have been supplied by the players. In a few cases, two alternative tunes existed for the same dance, and both are included here. The recordings are presented in groups corresponding to the various dancing masters who created the dances. The composers of the tunes are given if known, along with the sources of original arrangements where they exist. The speeds chosen for the recordings were arrived at by dancing the dances, but inevitably some dancers will find them too fast and others too slow. Internet links are given for those dances where the notation is available online. Some others are available in modern republications, as noted under each entry. The originals are held in various libraries, chiefly the British Library, the Bodleian Library, the Library of Congress, the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library and the Bibliotheque nationale de France.

The 2-CD set is accompanied by a 6-page booklet giving full details of the music sources and links to the original dance notations where these are available.

Music on the CDs is played by:
Ian Cutts – violin by Corrie Schrijver 2009, after Robert Cuthbert 1676
Christine Thornton – Harpsichords by Christopher Barlow, after Giovanni Baffo c.1574 (Isaac dances) and Colin Booth (remainder)

Note that if the digital download option is selected, the CD tracks are supplied in MP3 format and the booklet in PDF format.

All rights reserved, public performance or broadcasting without permission is prohibited. When used for teaching, recognition must be given to The Historical Dance Society. ℗ & © 2022 The Historical Dance Society

CD Track lists

1 The Favorite
2 The Royall Gailliarde
3 The Rondeau
4 The Northumberland
5 The Richmond
6 The Rigaudon (Siris)
7 The Rigadoon (Weaver)
8 The Gloucester
9 The Princess
10 The Spanheim
11 The New Spanheim
12 The Marlborough
13 The Britannia
14 The Union
15 The Saltarella
16 The Royal Portuguez
17 A Chacone
18 The Rigadoon Royal
19 The Royall
20 The Royall Ann
21 The Pastorall
22 The Godolphin
23 The Friendship
24 The Morris
25 La Camilla
26 The Brawl of Audenarde
27 The New Englich Passepied
28 The Siciliana
29 The Diana

1 The Montaigu
2 The Dutches
3 The Two Virgins
4 The Villette
5 The Passepied Round O
6 The Shepherdes
7 The Submission
8 The Prince Eugene
9 The Address
10 The Gavot
11 Minuet in D
12 Minuet in A
13 The Princess Royal
14 The Princess Anna
15 The Royal George
16 New Royal George
17 The Princess Amelia
18 The Princess Ann’s Chaconne
19 The Prince William (i)
20 The Prince William (ii)
21 The New Rigodon
22 The Canary
23 Prince Frederick
24 The Prince of Wales
25 Queen Caroline
26 The Prince of Wales’s Saraband
27 The Prince of Orange
28 The Princess Passpie
29 La Cybelline
30 Le Rigaudon Renouvele
31 The Prim Rose
32 The Slow Minuet (Pemberton)
33 The Slow Minuet (Tomlinson)
34 The Princess of Hesse