Monday, April 17, 2006

Taxes Duly Paid, Mr Cogito Contemplates Renaissance Dancing From Olden Days When Europe Was Whole And Undivided

Dear Friends of La Maison française,

"Doulce Mémoire" with the dancers of "Il Ballarino" from Florence at La Maison française!

What a pleasure to bring to Washington such an incredible ensemble, "one of the world's finest early music ensembles" according to the Washington Post!

Their "Great Ball to the court of France" will bring back to life the festive world at the court of Henri IV: Dance songs by the King’s musicians (particularly Michael Praetorius 1571-1621 and Pierre Guédron 1575-1620) and choreographies by Italian dance masters. This very rare performance will be a treat both for eyes and ears!

I hope you will come share with us this "regal" evening.

Roland Celette
Cultural Attaché
Director of La Maison française


In Europe, balls played an important role in the court life of the Renaissance. Dance was part of the nobleness’ education and it underlined its skills: Elegance, refinement, and willpower. As a true silent rhetoric, it allowed to play the game of seduction, to express one's love, but also to communicate political or secret messages as it happened in the allegorical court ballets.

In 1600, Maria de Médicis came from Florence to marry the King of France. She took the Commedia dell’arte troupes, dance masters, singers and musicians with her. The Italian influence thus began to partly rule the organization of the Court life and especially its feasts.


Pavane d’Espagne - M. Praetorius (1571-1621)
Branles doubles - M. Praetorius
Mon amy s’en est allé - J. Mangeant
Branle gay - M. Praetorius
Trop Penser - Anonyme
Tourdion - P. Attaingnant (ca 1494 – 1552)
Courante - M. Praetorius
A la fin ce berger - P. Guédron (ca 1575-1620)
Courante-Sarabande - M. Praetorius
Belle je maudirois le jour - P. Guédron
Courantes - M. Praetorius
C’est une damoiselle - P. Guédron
Quand le gril chante - A. Le Roy (ca 1520 – 1598)
Courantes - M. Praetorius


Pavane El bison
Gaillarde La Traditora - Anonyme
Quasi sempre avanti di - B. Tromboncino (1470- 1535)
Spagnoletta - Anonyme
Novel Cupido - B. Marini (1587 – 1663)
Laura Soave - F. Caroso (ca 1526 – ca 1605)
Saltarello detto il Vecchi - O. Vecchi (1550 – 1605)
Canarie - G. Allegri (1582 – 1652)
La Torgia - P. Borrono (1490 – 1563)
Sempre mi ride sta - A. Willaert (1490 – 1562)
Il Mazzolo - G. Casteliono
L’innamorato - G. Gastoldi (1556 – 1622)

The artists:

Ensemble Doulce Mémoire
Direction Denis Raisin Dadre

Véronique Bourin - soprano
Johanne Maître - dulcinas, shawms, recorders
Elsa Frank - dulcinas, shawms, recorders
Denis Raisin Dadre - dulcinas, shawms, recorders
Jérémie Papasergio - dulcinas, shawms, recorders
Pascale Boquet - lute and renaissance guitar
Bruno Caillat - percussions

Bruna Gondoni dancer
Marco Bendoni dancer


When Denis Raisin Dadre founded the Doulce Mémoire ensemble in 1990, could he have imagined he was taking the first step in conquering Renaissance music, and that he would soon be performing in the most prestigious venues worldwide? Denis Raisin Dadre was no beginner in 1990, however. He was a virtuoso flautist and a specialist and researcher in Renaissance reed instruments. His curiosity about all types of music brought into being by the breath led him to a consuming passion for the vocal repertoire, which he combined with his interest in all things Renaissance. He is inexhaustible on “this dynamic period of passion and discovery, about which the general opinion is too one-sided”, and for which “there is still an enormous amount to be done”. He finds it extraordinary that “between 1480 to 1580, approximately the same amount of time passed as between Schubert and Stravinsky”.

During his fifteen years of intense activity and numerous memorable productions both on record and in concert, Denis Raisin Dadre’s love for the Renaissance has never faltered. (It would be difficult to grow tired of a companion that brings new surprises every day!) Doulce Mémoire’s approach calls preconceived ideas as well as the actual musical vocabulary into question – and not only for Renaissance music. However, innovation for its own sake is not the main goal of the ensemble. Its aim is to constantly question the often-mysterious source material, to experiment, and to arrive at sometimes astonishing conclusions.

The Douce Mémoire ‘family’, which has developed over the years through a variety of encounters, is now instantly recognisable. Pascale Boquet’s role is to coax amazing tones from plucked string instruments. The singers endeavour to rediscover the timbres of the period, while Jérémie Papasergio adds his expertise on reed instruments. The happy crew delves into libraries, transcribes manuscript scores, and tries out various ways of performing the music, arriving at a result that is then used by Philippe Vallepin – another of the ensemble’s mainstays – in the spatialisations and adaptations for the stage that he creates in close collaboration with Denis Raisin Dadre. It is difficult to refer to Doulce Mémoire’s current productions as concerts, and even the terms ‘show’ and ‘entertainment’ seem inadequate. The ensemble has definitively changed the public’s perception of the Renaissance through programmes dedicated to the Mass written for the wedding of Henri IV and Marie de Medici and the Requiem des Rois de France by Du Caurroy, among others.

When: Monday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: La Maison française - 4101 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, D.C.
Admission: $20 - a reservation is required: please reply with your surname, first name and number of seats desired to parking available on a first come first served basis.)

Nesvizh (Несвиж), Belarus

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest UNESCO funded restoration project in Belarus, Europe.

The town of Nesvizh is 112 km [southwest] from Minsk. The first mention is dated by 1446. Since the second quarter of the 16th cent. it was a residence of the Radzivills — medieval [Renaissance] influential Belarusian magnates.

Places of interest:

The Palace And The Castle Ensemble — the monument of the architecture of the 16th — 18th cent., founded in the 16th cent. and built by Italian architect Giovanni Maria Bernardoni. There is also a park (the biggest of this kind in Belarus) on the territory of the Ensemble. The Complex is under State protection.

The Corpus Dei Roman Catholic Church — the monument of the architecture of the end of the 16th — 17th cent. built by G.M. Bernardoni.

The Benedictine Convent Complex — the monument of the architecture of the 16th cent. built in Baroque style. The complex is under State protection.

The Castle Tower — the monument of the architecture of the second half of the 16th cent., has features of Belarusian defensive architecture, Gothic and Renaissance styles; under State protection.

The Town-Hall Building — the monument of the architecture of the 16th cent. In 1752 it was rebuilt into Late Baroque style. Now there is a library and Palace of Youth in this building.

Slutsk Gates — the monument of the architecture of the 17th cent. built in Baroque style. In 1970 it was restored. Now it is under State protection.

The Craftsman’s House — the monument of the architecture of the 18th cent. built in Baroque style.

Text and photo credit: Belintourist [Belarus State Tourist Agency]. With thanks. travel_en.phtml?topic=hig...

Also see, UNESCO World Heritage Sites:


Post a Comment

<< Home