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Sunday, January 30, 2005


Johann von Munster, provost of Pforzheim, writing in 1594:

“Once the order for the dance has been given to the wind and string players the dancer comes forward in a splendid, graceful, delightful and superb manner and chooses from amongst the ladies and girls present a partner for whom he feels particular affection, and asks her, with a bow, removing his hat, kissing her hands, bending his knee, with kind words and other ceremonies, if she is willing to share a happy and honest dance with him.

“Once her consent is obtained, both move forward holding hands and kissing each other -- even on the mouth -- and demonstrate mutual friendship by words and gestures. Then when they reach the dance, they begin with a certain gravity, without that disturbing agitation which is permitted in the second part of the dance, where more freedom is allowed. Conversation is best employed during the first part of the dance than in the second, where tight hand holding, secret taps, jumps, peasant screams and other improper things take place.

“But once the dance is over, the dancer escorts his partner back to her place and, with a bow, he either takes his leave of her or else he sits on her lap and talks to her.”

-- from the booklet notes to “Danses de la Renaissance,” by the Clemencic Consort, originally recorded in 1973.

Classical, or pop? Whatever -- because it’s old, it’s classical now. If it weren’t for records, Richard Rodgers would be classical now too, and Chuck Berry -- which is *really* old-fashioned music -- would be well on his way. It’s still seems to be OK to like the Beatles if you’re a teenager, but anything older -- it’s eccentric, and requires special clothes.

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