Harmonia Early Music

Saltarello Anyone?

This week on Harmonia we’ll get a feel for the saltarello – a lively dance. Plus listen to a new release by Andrew Lawrence-King.

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print of a party with dancers

Photo: Anonymous

An early 19th-century depiction of the saltarello by Bartolomeo Pinelli. By the time Pinelli created his portrayal, the saltarello was, at least, four centuries old.

The saltarello is a dance from the Renaissance that usually came in a package with other dances.  The word itself is Italian for “little hop” and is a reference to the steps involved in dancing it properly. And by steps we mean jumps.  Originating sometime in the 14th Century, the Italian saltarello initially evolved as one of the four dances that made up the bassadanza family. Simply put, it’s number three and the liveliest of the bunch.

Not all saltarelli were composed alike, including the kinds of instruments that would have performed them, whether arranged or not.  Instrumental solos and consort music flourished in heavy doses throughout the Renaissance.

Our new release this week features an exciting recording by harpist Andrew Lawrence-King, who has arranged dances from the court of Louis XIV for baroque triple harp.

Here’s a video of an ensemble La Volta performing Simone Molinaro’s Ballo and Saltarello:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTjketVnPX8

The music heard on this episode was performed by Hespérion XXI, Christopher Wilson, Diego Cantalupi, Paul O’Dette, Accordone, Jean-Marc Aymes, and Andrew Lawrence-King.

Music Heard On This Episode

Giocomo de Garzonis: Gallarda
Hespérion XX/Jordi Savall — Folias & Canarios (Astrée, 1994)
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Giocomo de Garzonis: Gallarda
Hespérion XX/Jordi Savall — Folias & Canarios (Astrée, 1994)
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Anonymous: La Mariagneta
Hespérion XX/Jordi Savall — Folias & Canarios (Astrée, 1994)
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Anonymous: Saltarello
Hespérion XX/Jordi Savall — Folias & Canarios (Astrée, 1994)
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Giovanni Maria da Crema: See notes
Christopher Wilson, lute — Lute Music, Ricercars-Intabulations-Dances (Naxos, 1994)
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Bellerofonte Castaldi: Saltarello Allegro
Diego Cantalupi, theorbo — Capricci per sonar solo varie di Balli e Fantasticherie (Tactus , 2000)
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Giovanni Maria da Crema: See notes
Christopher Wilson, lute — Lute Music, Ricercars-Intabulations-Dances (Naxos, 1994)
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Simone Molinaro: See notes
Paul O'Dette, lute, and others — Ancient Airs and Dances (Hyperion, 1986)
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Ambrogio Dalza: Saltarello e Piva
Accordone (Marco Beasley and Guido Morini, dir.), Stefano Rocco, lute/guitar, Franco Pavan, lute, and Fabio Accurso, lute — Frottole (CYP, 2005)
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Pietro Paolo Borrono: Pavana e Saltarello 'della Milanese'
Accordone (Marco Beasley and Guido Morini, dir.), Stefano Rocco, lute/guitar, Franco Pavan, lute, and Fabio Accurso, lute — Frottole (CYP, 2005)
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Fabritio Caroso: Laura Soave - Balletto con Gagliarda, Saltarello e Canario (5:16)
Paul O'Dette, lute, and others — Ancient Airs and Dances (Hyperion , 1986)
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Giovanni Picchi: See notes
Jean-Marc Aymes, harpsichord — Fin De Siecle A Venise (L'Empreinte Digitale, 1993)
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Giovanni Pacoloni: See notes
Jakob Lindberg, Robert Meunier, Nigel North, and Paul O'Dette, lutes, with others — Three, Four & Twenty Lutes (MHS, 1988)
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Andrew Lawrence-King, arr.: See notes
Andre Lawrence-King, baroque triple harp — Chorégraphie: Music for Louis XIV's dancing masters (HMU, 2007)
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Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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