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“Hornpipe” The Egg-Dance of Easter – Lyric Say

The colorful Christian celebration of Easter is once more across the nook. And for many individuals, the Easter egg finest symbolises this competition of the resurrection of Jesus. Throughout pre-Christianity, the egg was seen as an emblem of rebirth and life, and it was the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther who began the customized of the Easter egg hunt.

Egg dance

Egg dance

One other historical and conventional Easter sport was the egg dance. Eggs have been laid on the bottom, and performers would dance blindfolded to standard tunes. That includes advanced footwork, the dancer moved backwards and forwards between the eggs at nice pace, hoping to wreck as few as potential.

Quite a lot of variations on the egg dance existed in its day, and in German-speaking lands a very tough job remains to be likened to “the egg-dance.” And one of the standard dance carried out as an egg dance was the “hornpipe.” What do you say, let’s do some hornpipe dancing for Easter 2024!

George Frideric Handel: Water Music, “Alla Hornpipe”

An exquisite description of the egg dance has been documented in a 1895 subject of The American Journal. It takes us again to Easter Monday 1498 and the marriage of Margaret of Austria to Philip the Good-looking, Duke of Savoy.

“Then the great egg dance, the special dance of the season, began. A hundred eggs were scattered over a level space covered with sand, and a young couple, taking hands, began the dance. If they finished without breaking an egg they were betrothed, and not even an obdurate parent could oppose the marriage.”

Ernest Tomlinson: 3 Pastoral Dances: Hornpipe (Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ernest Tomlinson, cond.)

Egg dance, 1674

Egg dance, 1674

The report continues, “After three couples had failed, midst the laughter and shouts of derision of the on-lookers, Philibert of Savoy, bending on his knee before Marguerite, begged her consent to try the dance with him.

The admiring crowd of retainers shouted in approval, “Savoy and Austria!” When the dance was ended and no eggs have been damaged the passion was unbounded. Philibert stated, Allow us to undertake the customized of Bresse. And so they have been affianced, and shortly afterward married.”

Henry Purcell: Hornpipe (arr. D. Orlowsky for clarinet and lute) (David Orlowsky, clarinet; David Bergmüller, lute)

It’s definitely attention-grabbing that the “Hornpipe” is each an instrument, and in addition a particular dance. The instrument principally is a single-reed animal horn, presumably forming a bell. These hornpipes existed as folks devices from the Caucasus and the Volga areas in Russia to the Greek islands and north Africa.

Apparently, there have been an astonishing number of totally different preparations of finger-holes and musical methods, and they’re first talked about in 15-century musical vocabularies. It’s described as a country instrument, and appeared as a “Pibgorn” in Wales, and the instrument would function double pipes performed with an inflated bag of goatskin or cow’s abdomen in Scotland.

Johann Friedrich Fasch: Overture in A minor – V. Hornpipe (Tempesta di Mare)

Now that we all know concerning the hornpipe instrument, it is extremely simple to imagine that the dance by this title is derived from the instrument. It appears, nonetheless, that this isn’t essentially the case. In actual fact, it’s a dance that resembles the “Jig,” however is distinguished from it by its metre. I learn that the hornpipe dance falls into three differing kinds.

The primary model is a solo and executed by one individual, or by two or extra folks dancing concurrently however independently. In Scotland and Wales this type of dance has existed way back to reminiscence serves, and in England it appeared within the fifteenth or sixteenth century. This dance has, and nonetheless is, extremely standard in Eire.

George Frideric Handel: Concerto Grosso in B-flat Main, Op. 6, No. 7, “Hornpipe” (Pacific MusicWorks Orchestra; Stephen Stubbs, cond.)

Welsh Pibgorn

Welsh Pibgorn

A second kind of hornpipe is a spherical dance for each sexes in hornpipe tempo, which initially began in England within the fifteenth century. This appears very near the outline of the egg-dance detailed within the royal marriage ceremony of 1498, though the dance didn’t but formally carry the title “hornpipe.”

The third kind of hornpipe is a longways nation dance of the seventeenth century in syncopated 3/2 time, “created by dancing-masters for the assembly rooms or for private patrons. They are sometimes termed “maggot,” “delight,” or “whim.” The figuration was reasonably intricate and will effectively have been carried out with hornpipe steps.

Georg Philipp Telemann: Suite in G Minor – VI. Hornpipe (Northern Chamber Orchestra; Nicholas Ward, cond.)

We discover very detailed descriptions of the hornpipe steps in dance manuals of the 18th century, and it’s recorded that “foreigners flocked to England to apply themselves with great attention to the study of the Hornpipe, which was regarded as original to this country.” The commentator added that “the lower class of people used hornpipe steps in the country dance and that few English seamen are to be found that are not acquainted with it.”

When you play a keyboard instrument or know the Watermusic by Handel, you then additionally know that particular person actions of a keyboard or orchestral Suite or Overture, can carry the designation “Hornpipe.” These actions principally use the rhythm of the nation dance kind, and in addition seem in dance suites and incidental theatre music.

Gottlieb Muffat: Keyboard Suite in D minor – III. Hornpipe (Naoko Akutagawa, harpsichord)



Within the instrumental music of the Baroque, hornpipe items usually function syncopation and varied shifts in accents. One voice or a bunch of voices usually performs in opposition to the rhythm of the opposite voices, whereas the bass maintains a constant meter. And as you possibly can hear within the featured examples, the melody is usually extraordinarily full of life and cheerful.

The earliest examples of the hornpipe seem in musical collections across the 1660s, they usually entered the mainstream by way of the music of Henry Purcell and George Frideric Handel. In Purcell, the hornpipe is often utilized in his theatre and stage music, and the well-known Handel “alla hornpipes” are now not precise dances however mimic the fashion of the hornpipe.

Henry Purcell: The Fairy Queen, “Hornpipe”

The Hornpipe appears to have been all the favored rage in London by the center of the 18th century. Clearly, the dance was past standard, and it additionally attracted the eye of a sure youngster prodigy by the title of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He arrived along with his father and sister in London in 1764, and he gave his first live performance at Ranelagh Backyard in June of that yr.

Within the centre of the backyard stood a big picket Rotunda and the prodigy carried out harpsichord and organ compositions at a profit for a newly established maternity hospital. We don’t know what compositions the younger Mozart truly carried out, however we do know that he carried with him a sketchbook. It comprises 43 brief items and sketches, with Mozart writing down his inspirations. And one in every of his inspirations was apparently a hornpipe, subtitled “Anglaise.” Superb how the younger lad of eight was in a position to effortlessly notate the musically and stylistic function of the dance.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: “Hornpipe” (Anglaise), Ok. 15s (Hans-Udo Kreuels, piano)

Bagpipe performer

Bagpipe performer

For Mozart, the hornpipe appears to have been a sometimes English phenomenon, however varied examples may also be discovered by German composers akin to Telemann and Gottlieb Muffat. It has been steered that they have been maybe impressed by Handel. Within the occasion, the hornpipe was right here to remain and composers within the twentieth century as soon as once more drew inspiration from this explicit dance.

One such hornpipe flowed from the pen of Erich Wolfgang Korngold. An area theatre was seeking to stage the primary centenary manufacturing of William Shakespeare’s comedy “Much Ado about Nothing” in 1920. And Korngold acquired the fee to jot down an incidental rating. Because the composer had learn nearly all Shakespeare performs in his early teenagers, he enthusiastically set to work. In all, Korngold created a musical canvas of 18 separate numbers, concluding with the a lot celebrated “Hornpipe.”

Say what you need, however the Easter egg dance seems like a great little bit of enjoyable. So let’s get the hornpipe prepared and take a look at to not smash any eggs. Completely happy Easter 2024.

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Erich Wolfgang Korngold: A lot Ado about Nothing Suite, Op. 11 – V. Hornpipe (Mineria Symphony Orchestra; Carlos Miguel Prieto, cond.)

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