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Flos Headford of Shreds and Patches

reviews Mr. Kynaston's Famous Dance Vol 1&2 by Belshazzar's Feast

The title refers to Nathaniel Kynaston who provided 120 of the dances in the Walsh collections of the 18th century. Many believe he lived or at least had connections in the Welsh border area of Shropshire. This CD contains dance?length tunes to nine of Kynastons dances, composer unconfirmed, but likely to contain some of Kynastons compositions. The other three come from Gays Beggars Opera (1728).

For those unfortunate enough to have never heard Belshazzars Feast, one can only make the general comment that musicianship of this grade is only too rare. The style is reverent without being po?faced. Some of the tracks exude a joy in sheer musicality that all musicians should emulate. The arrangements are complex but true to the melody. Paul Hutchinson is one of the few accordion players I have ever enjoyed accompanying, in fact it is always a fun experience, a great pleasure. Paul Sartin is a very accomplished violin player, and a terrific oboist. Together they produce very precise (often stunningly nimble) music.

It is a delight to hear a few 3/2, 6/4 and 9/4 tunes. Newcomers to this music sometimes get the feeling that someone has chopped a bar or two out of the tune, but once used to it, you would never want it different. The bands attention was drawn to this music by Andrew Shaw, an expert on 17th and 18th century dances, whose booklet accompanying this CD is reviewed elsewhere in this issue. The CD regally bounces along for a full hour, and is relaxedly exhilarating throughout. If you play or like listening to dance music, this album is an object lesson. If you like the dancing, you will probably never have heard it played this well.