‘An Invitation To Dance’ by Purcell's Polyphonic Party – ‘an absolute delight’

(November 18, 2017)

Were there ever such thing as a ‘feel-good’ album, then this is it. I cannot conceive of how anyone could listen to ‘An Invitation To Dance’ performed by Purcell's Polyphonic Party and not feel their soul lifted by this collection of music from John Playford’s English Dancing Master and An Invitation To Dancecontemporaries. Should the mood take you, then indulge in a step or two, because as the musicians state: "... crucially, each track is dsigned for dancing. Repetitions and speeds are meticulously researched and included in the sleeve notes." Then again, you can just as easily listen from the comfort of your armchair ... this music is definitely as much for listening as it is for dancing.

Purcell's Polyphonic Party are a trio that combine their unrivalled skill with an enduring love for Purcell, Playford and the baroque era. John Dipper is a respected and established performer, composer, teacher and instrument maker, among her rich variety of instruments, Vicki Swann is a virtuoso and teacher of the nyckelharpa (Swedish keyed-fiddle), while multi-instrumentalist performer, writer and arranger Jonny Dyer specialises in traditional music from the British Isles and Scandinavia. The tunes include such delights as ‘Dick’s Maggot’, ‘Jacob Hill’s Jig’, ‘Emperor Of The Moon’, ‘Terpsichore’ ‘St Margaret’s Hill’ and ‘Upon A Summer’s Day’ ... and although the titles may not immediately bring particular tunes to mind I’m willing to bet that when you start to listen, a few will have a familiar ring.

An absolute delight, start to finish, ‘An Invitation To Dance’ brings the delicate beauty of 17th and 18th century dance music to contemporary audiences, combined with innovation and interpretation to breathe fresh life into this charismatic music.

Purcell's Polyphonic Party are Vicki Swann (nyckelharpa, bagpipes, recorder, flute, double bass) John Dipper (Viola d’Amore) and Jonny Dyer (harpsichord, piano, guitars, bouzouki, citole).


Review: Tim Carroll

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