If Music Be the Food of Love: Wisconsin Wind Orchestra plays dance music of the Renaissance


 Shakespeare Center     Jan 24 2020 | 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM Winifred Smith Hall

Wisconsin Wind Orchestra

The Wisconsin Wind Orchestra presents a concert of the dance music of the high Renaissance,
featuring music from “The Terpsichore” (1612) by Michael Praetorius

Praetorius was recognized as the foremost musical academician of his time as well as an important and highly prolific composer. His collection of over 300 dances in 4-6 parts was entitled Terpsichore, named after the Greek goddess of the dance, and constitutes the most important and extensive collection of dance music of the Renaissance. The pieces themselves are attributed variously to “anonymous,” to Praetorius himself, and to a French violinist by the name of Caroubel. As with most other music of the period, the Terpsichore contains no indications as to which instruments are to be used, dynamics, or articulations, therefore offering infinite flexibility in terms of modern performance. Sharing photos, woodcuts, and demonstrations of the original instruments that likely played this music will be an integral part of the clinic.

Each of the pieces in the Terpsichore was designed to accompany specific kinds of dance steps of a particular character and tempo that were very popular at the time. Like the dances developed in the 20th century such as the Lindy Hop and the Twist, some of the Renaissance dances were considered to be a little subversive and even dangerous.

The 11-member Wisconsin Wind Orchestra (WWO) will present a concert featuring Praetorius’s dance music. The special edition of this music that the WWO uses brilliantly captures the sound and ambience of a late 16th-century performance while using modern instruments. Through the addition of free embellishments, original performance style, percussion, and guitar, the WWO performance presents a unique authentic flavor seldom heard in the concert hall. In addition, written “diminutions,” which Praetorius himself described as improvisations of “sundry good and merry pranks with little runs and leaps,” provide something akin to a contemporary improvisatory jazz performance.

Co-sponsored by UCI Department of Music and UCI Illuminations. Free and open to all.