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News 2016: (US) Arnold Dolmetsch, a Bach double harpsichord concerto and the genesis of the early dance revival (by Mandy Macdonald)

Contributed by semibrevity on Nov 15, 2016 - 08:43 AM

"One fine morning in the summer of 1904 a van drew up at our door and from it emerged Arnold Dolmetsch and a harpsichord. He had previously asked me to play in Bach’s Double Concerto in C major with Miss [Kathleen] Salmon at one of his concerts in Clifford’s Inn. As I had no knowledge of the harpsichord, it was a case of “fools rushing in”. However, all went well at the concert as far as the ensemble was concerned, and the result was that it fired me with a desire to possess an instrument of my own.

Thus Nellie Chaplin [2] opens a fascinating article, “The harpsichord”, which she wrote in 1922 for the journal Music and Letters (3: 3, July 1922, pp. 269–73), describing her first encounter with the harpsichord and her subsequent commitment to exploring both music and dance of the pre-Classical period. ...

... The arrival of the harpsichord was one of two pivotal events that caused a sudden and dramatic change in direction for Nellie and her sisters from the standard classical repertoire of their day to the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The other key event was Nellie’s discovery, about the same time, of early dance. She tells this story in another article from 1922, written for The Sackbut (vol. 3, October 1922). In autumn 1903 she played the musical illustrations (we are not told on what instrument, but we assume the piano) for a lecture-recital by J. H. Bonawitz, founder of the London Mozart Society, which traced the evolution of the dance “from the Pavane to the modern waltz”, including the allemande, courante, sarabande, and other movements of French and English suites familiar to us from the works of so many Baroque composers." ...

Visit the Semibrevity website [3] to read the complete blog post.

 

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