Programme notes

Dances, from Terpsichore, Michael Praetorius (1571-1621)

Terpsichore was the Greek Goddess of Dance, and Michael Praetorius, better known in his day for his Lutheran church music, was clearly inspired by Martin Luther’s famous admonition: "Why should the Devil have all the best tunes?"

Like his English counterpart, John Playford (1623-1686) Praetorius collected in one place as many traditional dance tunes as he could find. Were they existing folk dances, or did he write them? We know that Playford was only a publisher not a musician, and the dances and music in his collections were truly traditional.

But never mind whether Praetorius’s dances are authentic or not: when they begin, just try to keep your feet from moving and your toes from tapping.

Mike Torbe

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