So Old It's New Part 2: Dance Edition

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Detail from Allegory of Good Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, 1338-40

Continuing their four-part mini-series investigating music that is so OLD (think pre-1500), that it actually begins to sound NEW, today the Brothers Balliett listen to a swatch of instrumental dance music that motivated people to get fresh and funky from c. 1000-1500.

Much of this music comes down to us in such scanty score form that reconstruction and improvisation become necessary elements – in this way, the interpreters become collaborators with the original composers, making this music, in a sense, quite contemporary. This is especially true of a range of improvisations on thumpingly groovy medieval scores as interpreted by the early music group Hesperus, including riffs and improvs on Estampies, Istampitas, and other dances from 13th and 14th century England, France, and Italy. France is also represented in a kickin' dance from the time of the Trouveres, played upon by the Dufay Collective.

We'll also hear Gothic dance music (on some truly crazy-sounding ancient instruments) interspersed with contemporary dance music from Philip Glass, and a contemporary dance suite for recorder quartet by Gordon Jacob.

Is it OLD or is it NEW? Why don't you listen and decide for yourself?