Tracks : 
  • Step Stately
  • My Lady Cullen
  • Lull Me Beyond Thee
  • The Gun
  • Kemp’s Jig
  • Dull Sir John
  • The Phoenix
  • Dargason
  • Abergenny
  • The Old Mole
  • The Milkmaid’s Bobb 
  • Shepherd’s holiday 
  • Argeers 
  • The Whirligig 
  • Wallingford House 
  • Picking Up Sticks 
  • Spring Garden


The musics of this CD n° 5 correspond to the dances described in the brochure n° 5.


CD n° 5

From Cécile Laye and CHESTNUT here are, in their 5th CD, 17 titles from John Playford’s first four editions of ‘The Dancing Master’. Thirteen of them come from the first edition (1651), three from the 1657 edition (3rd A) and one from the 1665 edition (3rd B). There is also a dance from the fourth edition (1670). It is to be noted that two dances published by John Playford in those editions were already to be found in the 1648 “Moot Book”, one of the Inns of Court manuscripts. This recording echoes the ten dances performed on period instruments in our second CD, “Le Choix d’Amarillis”. Then, as now, we have chosen instruments that could have been played in the period considered – the first half of the 17th century. English country dances are three-tiered: they include the old repertoire, traditional dances and modern choreographies. It is an open system, with new choreographies added through the years – an encouraging sign of vitality. There is, however, a drawback: with so many attractive new dances, older ones could be put aside as somewhat too predictable. They are invaluable, however, as a way of understanding the basis and structure of the whole repertoire. We deeply feel the John Playford dances are worth dancing, worth teaching, worth putting on ball programmes. We have stayed as close as possible to the manuscript texts, in particular for the number of repetitions. To our way of thinking, the choreographies must be allowed to deploy fully, which means respecting the number of repetitions and the complex architecture of the dance. We also chose to respect John Playford’s proposals as far as melodies are concerned. Our musicians endeavour to help dancers memorise their moves through the use of musical variations. The present recording may be listened to, danced to in casual wear or costume dress, in balls or demonstrations. May the beautiful repertoire that has come down to us from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I be now also taken up by new generations of dancers. 
Cécile LAYE
June 2015

Review by Robert Moir

Ce CD comprend 17 airs de danse (dont Step Stately) tirés des premières éditions du Dancing Master de Playford, joués sur des instruments d’époque par l’ensemble français de Chestnut. Ils sont utilisés pour les danses reconstituées par Cécile Laye, qui a rédigé les notes du livret. Cécile Laye et Chestnut organisent depuis de nombreuses années pour un nombre important de danseurs enthousiastes des stages, cours et bals en France et en Angleterre. J’étais impatient d’entendre ce CD. A l’écoute, mon attente a été comblée, mon intérêt s’est mué en joie devant une telle source d’inspiration. Tous ceux qui font partie de la communauté des danseurs britanniques savent qu’avec une pléthore de compositions modernes, on a quelque peu négligé le répertoire ancien. Peu de manifestations actuelles comprennent des danses de cette collection. Ce CD est une source d’inspiration : nos programmes pourront désormais comprendre des airs de cette version fort bien jouée. Les combinaisons d’instruments – solos, duos, etc. – donnent de ces classiques des versions intéressantes, attrayantes et bien adaptées à la danse. Voici donc une collection remarquable, qui encouragera callers et danseurs à mettre à leur programme certaines danses anciennes ainsi rafraîchies.” Robert Moir
“Seventeen dance tunes (including Step Stately) from early Playford editions of The Dancing Master are played on period instruments by the French band Chestnut. They relate to dance reconstructions by Cecile Laye who is responsible for the accompanying notes. Cecile and Chestnut have organised English Country Dance events and courses for many years in France and England for a significant number of dedicated dancers. My initial reaction on hearing about the CD was one of interested anticipation; this transformed into delight and inspiration on hearing it.Those actively involved in the English Dance community know that, with the plethora of modern compositions, the old repertoire has been somewhat neglected. Few current events include dances from this collection. Now we have the inspiration to include some of these attractively played versions in future programmes. The various combinations of solos, duets and other groupings from the band result in interesting and attractive danceable versions of these classics. This is a really great collection which offers callers and dancers alike the chance to be encouraged to include some of the old dances, duly refreshed, in their programmes.” Robert Moir

moir robert

Having been a dancer since he was four, Robert Moir was introduced to English Country Dance by his wife Hazel when they moved from London to Newcastle upon Tyne in 1972. In due course he was recruited to join the calling team, and eventually led two weekly classes as well as being involved in dance events in the North East, Yorkshire, the Lake District and North Wales. When they moved south to Gloucestershire, Robert soon became known to the dance community in the South West and then nationally in the UK. He has called in most parts of the UK, and is currently involved in a series of special Sunday afternoon events at Cecil Sharp House in London. Robert has been invited to participate on several occasions in events in the US and also in Belgium and the Netherlands. Because of his dancer-friendly teaching Robert is much in demand to pass on his own love of dance to others. Both Robert and Hazel are members of the Pat Shaw Liaison Group which was set up initially to organize and encourage others to join in the centenary celebrations of Pat Shaw’s birth. See for more information.

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