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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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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:


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.

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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