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The English Dancing Master
Dance tunes and ballads from the theatres, homes and taverns of Baroque London
“A Poem of Dancing,” “The Boatemen,” “The New Scots Jig,” “Assemblee” and “A la Mode de France.”

The Harp Consort/Andrew Lawrence-King, director

St John's Smith Square, London May 16th, 2009

This early evening show was a brilliant introduction to the ten day Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music Festival 2009, focusing upon the year's Handel and Purcell celebrations.

Andrew Lawrence-King and his players varied their instruments and contributed song and spoken texts, most notably Lawrence-King's superb, though unforced, diction, which had lessons for the opera singers later that evening.

Seemingly the St John's stage had little space for dancing, but Steven Player created every imaginable opportunity, sometimes climbing into the audience. Clearly well schooled in the historical styles, he dominated at every appearance, integrating with the musicians - also becoming one of them on guitar.

Simple costume choices created the right period feeling, and each of the musicians made a personal, individual mark.The whole show combined great good humour with meticulous development which must have brought delight to many audiences in the group's touring performances. Once they have exhausted welcoming venues, it richly deserves being made more widely available on DVD?

Peter Grahame Woolf

For a detailed review read a fine blogger's appreciation by an "American ex-pat on a budget".


Photo: Tim Feak