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Topic: 2 Contradansen

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  1. #1

    2 Contradansen

    Hi dear friends,

    After a too long pause, here I'm back with a little arrangement* of 2 'contradansen'. These are again historic and anonymous dances taken from a booklet collected by J.B.R. D'Aubat de Saint-Flour (1757). He was a French violinist/composer who married a (Belgian) girl from Mons and settled finally in Ghent. There he became one of the second violinists of the town orchestra and dancing master of the city. In his booklet he collected some 120 dances. Undoubtedly some were written by himself, but many appeared in earlier collections as well (in Flanders and France). Two of these bundles were preserved at the Ghent University library.

    These dances are now often considered as folk dances, but they weren't. In the 18th century they were only danced by the wealthier people (nobility, rich middle and upper class, at the courts of counts and dukes, kings...). In most cases only the tune was written down. Most of the performing musicians knew the practice to play them in 3 or even 4 voices. Sometimes, a figured bass (continuo) was added briefly.

    Enjoy these dances!

    Jos

    2 contradansen

    or on YouTube: 2 Contradansen

    * I've used a harpsichord, baroque traverso and oboe for these dances.
    Jos Wylin

    http://www.joswyl.be compositions and sampling practices

  2. #2
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
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    Re: 2 Contradansen

    Joh ,

    just wish to report that this miserable looking morning as I noticed your posting I listened and just smiled at the music, at your talent and the world looked a lot better than before your music.
    Thanks a lot for this...
    Ted

  3. #3

    Re: 2 Contradansen

    Jos,

    Good to see you back here!

    Absolutely delightful!
    I love the sound of those older instruments.

    You made me want to create something with the harpsichord,
    something I have never thought of doing before...

    Thanks for posting.


    ~ Yudit ~

  4. #4

    Re: 2 Contradansen

    Hello Jos,

    Nice having such a musical neighbour. What a joy! The rendering is great and the arrangement, must have been a puzzle finding out the right instrumentation. You must be proud. Certainly a master of "older" music, it fits you.


    Greetings,

    Raymond
    Raymond Robijns
    Youtube channel: "Raymond Robijns"

  5. #5

    Re: 2 Contradansen

    Thanks, Ted, Judith and Raymond for having taken the time to listen to these short dances. You know that that kind of music is very dear to me, it has been a major part of my musical past and I can't leave it. I feel I still have so much to 'arrange' since there are hundreds of these little jewels waiting in dusty archives to be unveiled and performed once again. A big anachronism, but still fine to hear them...
    Jos Wylin

    http://www.joswyl.be compositions and sampling practices

  6. #6
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    Re: 2 Contradansen

    Dear Jos,

    I also join the others in their appreciation for your little dances. What a delight in these troublesome times ... ! And the sound is nothing but perfect!

    Gerd

  7. #7

    Re: 2 Contradansen

    Jos,

    I do remember you have a thing for forgotten ancient music.
    I must say, though, that it is with some discomfort to notice that you so neatly stress the difference between "folk" dances and dances for "wealthy" people. In my humble opinion, wealth has scant connection to the quality of the music... maybe the only connection at all is that good musicians tend to be attracted by wealthy people only because they can pay them more. It has always been like that.
    Dances are dances... it is music with no particular artistic content, in that era they were meant as a mere background for the gossip of ladies in wide gowns and the chit-chat of men wearing 3 feet tall wigs. It is not by chance that this is music that did not stand the test of time while the Baroque masters still get a certain volume of recordings.

    Nice rendering, anyway. I do not always like VSL sound, but in these small and intimate contexts these instruments always shine. The harpsicord stands really tall.

    Fab

  8. #8

    Re: 2 Contradansen

    Hi Fabrizio,

    I must say, though, that it is with some discomfort to notice that you so neatly stress the difference between "folk" dances and dances for "wealthy" people. In my humble opinion, wealth has scant connection to the quality of the music... maybe the only connection at all is that good musicians tend to be attracted by wealthy people only because they can pay them more. It has always been like that.

    I guess this is another small misunderstanding. I didn't mean this in any denigrating way at all. That would be very inconsequent and stupid since I've been playing folk music for almost all my life in numerous groups. But what I really wanted to state is exactly what you mentioned above. The bundle from which I took these two pieces were published in copperplate engraving and sold at 2 gold ducats (extremely expensive in 1757). The buyers were all mentioned in a list in the fore of the booklet, which was tied in engraved luxurious leather! Obviously not for use by the common people. My comment didn't say anything about the quality of the people's music at all, quite at the contrary. In many cases the nobility or their composers took their dancing tunes from the street (or from famous operas). As a former music teacher I consider it my duty to do some research about the origins and circumstances of the archive pieces I use.
    The bundle provides next to the melodies also a number of dancing schemes (D'Aubat was a dancing master) which show again that these dances were designed for the so called 'educated' people, who knew the positions, steps and movements, the greetings etc. D'Aubat had a dancing class in Ghent for the ones who could afford this...

    I hope I've cleared it out now and you won't hear me saying any evil word about folk music (mostly from the 19th century or in Europe from the Renaissance period or Romantic era).

    Jos
    Jos Wylin

    http://www.joswyl.be compositions and sampling practices

  9. #9
    Senior Member tedvanya's Avatar
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    Re: 2 Contradansen

    Dear Max,
    keep going and produce more of these treasures for us. It is a little time-travel to hear and feel how our ancestors had fun, and due to efforts like yours some of them we can enjoy. I can guarantee that the "musical" garbage prevailing today will never be remembered at all, there will be no Jos to bring them back. The pure musical value of these dances are miles above today's noise.

  10. #10
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: 2 Contradansen

    Hello Jos,

    I’m glad to see your back doing what you love and I as others love to listen to it.

    I did a little research about 18th century dancing and came up with the upper class balls and lower class or country balls. It would no doubt be best for many reasons to be at an upper class ball but it sounds like the country balls could be quite more exciting with their close quarters, filth and less restrained passions.

    Getting back to the music, thanks for posting!




    Phil

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