Lucie Skeaping

The English Stage Jig

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English stage jigs were not simply dances, but bawdy musical-theatrical farces concocted of popular tunes with new words added that flourished in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Notorious for their explicit lewdness and vulgarity, they were usually performed after a serious drama (and some playwrights deplored them for luring disreputable elements into the theater). The music for the most part was melodically mundane, primarily a vehicle for conveying the scurrilous, often scatological lyrics and lurid dramatic situations, and for showcasing the comic talents of the singing actors. The City Waites, an ensemble specializing in the performance practice of English music of the period, is the ideal group to resurrect this archaic music form. The group has performed these dramatic jigs on-stage and its members have the comic timing down pat. The characterizations are broad and low, and there are ample sound effects to enhance the realism of the performances. The listener's appreciation for this repertoire will probably depend on his/her enjoyment of over-the-top musical slapstick, but for those who do, there is much to savor. The CD should certainly interest devotees of popular English music of the period and of spirited, uninhibited performances. The sound is realistic and spacious.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Black Man, jig for 4 voices & ensemble
1
2:39
2
1:51
3
1:20
4
3:03
5
1:19
6
1:33
7
2:16
8
1:38
9
1:30
10
2:15
11
2:22
12
6:24
Singing Simpkin, jig for 5 voices
13
1:54
14
7:26
15
6:14
The Cheaters Cheated, jig for 5 voices
16
3:28
17
3:45
18
1:57
19
1:50
20
1:55
21
6:01
22
2:19
23
2:36
24
7:41
25
2:48
blue highlight denotes track pick