Tuesday, January 22, 2013

From Dancing to Love

"To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love."
                                                               - Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)

 As I was cleaning and organizing today, I found one of my prized possessions, 
this wonderful 1834 sheet music for a quadrille dance from
 "Rossini's admired Opera, La Gazza Ladra."  Isn't the writing lovely?  
The whole piece is so well-preserved, probably because of the high rag 
content of the paper.  It feels quite fabric-like.



Inked in the corner in a very lovely style is the owner's name,
Mary W. Alsop, April 15, 1834.
Was she a lovely young woman, accomplished but unattached?
Or a spinster who lost her beau before they could be married and never loved another?
I wonder...




"La Gazza Ladra" is Italian for "The Thieving Magpie,"
 a very famous opera according to my composer husband.  
This piece was arranged for the piano forte:


 
which was smaller than a piano and had fewer keys.  The sound was softer and "bouncier" as there was no way to sustain the sound of the notes with pedals as on a modern piano. Can't you just see sweet Mary sitting at the piano forte in her rose satin gown plunking happily?

Wikipedia describes the quadrille as a very intricate dance, a precursor to 
the square dance, with specific forms for each of its five parts.


Part 1: Le Pantelon, or "The trousers" (always in 2/4 or 6/8):
 
 


Part 2: Ete or "Summer" (always in 2/4):




Part 3: Poule or "Hen" (always in 6/8):


Part 4: La Pastourelle or "The Shepherd Girl" (always in 2/4):



Part 5: Finale (always in 2/4):


Of course named in French, the language of the upper class.


The instructions for dancing 
the quadrille are written at the bottom of each page:









 Can't you just imagine the beautiful clothes, polished faces,
 and the rustling of petticoats and tapping of boots as dancers turn and move in and about,
longing eyes gazing in a crowded room. 
Are you in the mood for dancing yet?


(Dancer stamp from the Jane Austen collection of Oxford Impressions.)

This week I'm linking up with

Rooted In Thyme

4 comments:

Jann Olson said...

Laura, that sheet music is a precious gem! Love the different fonts. I so felt my toe tapping as I read this fun post. Cute card too!
hugs,
Jann

Jody and Stan said...

I love the sheet music! What a wonderful, creative post you have! New Follower too!

Jody

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

What a treasure and such a romantic gift for your husband!

lynne said...

Hi Laura
Such a wonderful post and then drawing to the end of your post that beautiful card.
It is such a merry stamp that your sentiment could not be more perfect.
Wishes
Lynne