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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars English Country Dances, 23 April 2011
By 
Miss M. Potter "marcia" (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: English Country Dances: From Playford's Dancing Master 1651-1703 (Audio CD)
English Country Dances taken from John Playford`s Dancing Master is an ambitious programme of recordings by The Broadside Band. The Band uses selected Dances from twelve publications by the Playford family. These publications date from "The English Dancing Master 1651 by John Playford to the twelth edition by his successors in 1703.

Before 1651 Formal Dancing had been popular with the middle and upper classes across both Europe and England. They were used for socialising, Banquets and Balls. They increasingly became very complicated and long. The steps were difficult to remember and often needed a teacher.
John Playford, a bookseller and publisher, knew of a different kind of dancing that was popular with the lower and poorer classes. This was English country folk dancing. These dances and tunes were easier to learn and remember and didn't take long to learn. These dances came from English Tradition in origin and had been handed down and altered over time. Playford wrote these down in music notation and arranged them for instruments so they would appeal to the upper and middle classes.
This became the "English dancing Master" which was his first collection and it became very popular because the dances were easier to learn and remember. They also showed a solid English origin that stood against influential European dances such as those from France.
These dances came from tradition and were not written by John Playford. Playford and his successors went on to create further volumes now called "The dancing master". These further volumes drew not only from tradition but also from established sources incuding theatre music. They were always arranged in a suitable and current style. Playford took these dances and tunes away from the ordinary folk but he also helped to preserve them by arranging and publishing them. He started whole new fashion of English country dances.
This recording draws from a cross section of all twelve volumes of the Dancing Master and is example of the influence of the changes in English music from Tradition and other sources.
The Broadside Band use their own arrangements based on more than one source but the end result is a wonderful and colourful performance and interpretation of these great English tunes.
The Broadside Band gives great enthusiasm and vigour to these pieces. There is great colour and beauty in the music and the recording has a magical uplifting quality that does great justice to Country Dances. Indeed they are great representations of the music of old England.
They give us rich texture of sound with instruments such as recorders, flageolets, harpsichord, clavecin, violin, viol, hurdy gurdy, lyre viole, lute, mandore, cittern and mandola to name just a few.
Jeremy Barlow does an outstanding job as usual as director. This fine recording is digital and was made in 1991. The sound is excellently balanced with crisp and full bodied tone.

I feel that this release is wonderful. However I do feel that the programme may have been slightly over ambitious. The disc begins with eight pieces from the 1st edition but generally only skims the surface of each edition with as little as only one piece from some editions. But then again it does successfully illustrate a progression of style in the popularity of these dances covering over fifty years. The feeling and atmosphere on this recording is excellent and is a welcome release.
Without a doubt, the Broadside Band is a class act and always delivers excellence in their recordings. This disc is no exception. It is highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last!, 2 Nov 2010
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This review is from: English Country Dances: From Playford's Dancing Master 1651-1703 (Audio CD)
I'd been hunting for the dance tune from the 1995 TV version of Pride and Prejudice and gave up a couple of years back. Thought I'd try again and here it is! Mr Beveridge's Maggot and other great Playford dance tunes in a style that must be close to the original country 'hop'. Couldn't wait so downloaded the mp3 version. Excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Playford Dancing Master, 19 Jun 2014
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This review is from: English Country Dances: From Playford's Dancing Master 1651-1703 (Audio CD)
Good quality cd - love the old instruments! I ordered three country dance cds by this band and am enjoying listening to them all. Postage and packing excellent and very prompt delivery service.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 3 Oct 2013
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This review is from: English Country Dances: From Playford's Dancing Master 1651-1703 (Audio CD)
A great discovery after buying the CD just on a whim. Will now have to search out some more asap
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