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Modern usage will sometimes use the different spellings to distinguish types of courante (Italian spelling for the Italian dance, etc.), but in the original sources spellings were inconsistent. (In the Partitas of the Clavierübung, Bach use the different spellings courante and corrente to differentiate between the French and Italian styles, respectively.) However, in Dance and the Music of J. S. Bach by Meredith Little and Natalie Jenne, the courante and corrente are given separate chapters and treated as distinct dances. The courante had the slowest tempo of all French court dances, and was described by Mattheson, Quantz and Rousseau as grave and majestic, whilst the corrente may be fluid and virtuosic. In Bach's unaccompanied Partita for Violin No. 2 the first movement (titled Allemanda) begins as if in 3/4 time in a manner one might initially perform and hear as a courante. The second movement is titled corrente and is rather lively. This may reflect a performance practice in which the second of paired courantes is played faster than the first. On the other hand, many "courante" movements by Bach are actually correntes as well: in the original engraving of the keyboard Partitas, movements are clearly labelled either "corrente" or "courante", but editors have frequently ignored the distinction. Although an indication of faster tempo appears to exist in Baroque composer Georg Muffat's instructions on Lullian bowing, his reference to the "rapid tempo of courantes" is a confusion in translation. A more literal translation of the text indicates only "the speed of the movement of the notes."
Courante literally means running, and in the later Renaissance the courante was danced with fast running and jumping steps, as described by Thoinot Arbeau. These steps are sometimes thought to be broken up by hops between the steps, but this is not necessarily supported by Arbeau's confusing and contradictory instructions, which described each "saut" as resulting in the completion of a new foot placement.[cite this quote]
In Der vollkommene Capellmeister (Hamburg, 1739), Johann Mattheson wrote that, "The motion of a courante is chiefly characterized by the passion or mood of sweet expectation. For there is something heartfelt, something longing and also gratifying, in this melody: clearly music on which hopes are built."
The courante was most commonly used in the baroque period. During this period, there were two types of courante: French and Italian. The French type had many cross-accents and was a moderately fast dance, in contrast to the allemande that preceded it. The Italian courante was faster, more free-flowing and running, however, it is not clear whether this is significantly different from the French Renaissance courante that Arbeau describes. In a Baroque dance suite, an Italian or French courante typically comes between the allemande and the sarabande, making it the second or third movement. The French type is usually notated in 3/2 or 6/4, occasionally alternating between the two meters, and is typically performed at a fairly moderate tempo; the Italian type, on the other hand, is a significantly faster dance. In the Musicalisches Lexicon (Leipzig, 1732), Johann Gottfried Walther wrote that the rhythm of the courante is "absolutely the most serious one can find."
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Courante". Allthough most Wikipedia articles provide accurate information accuracy can not be guaranteed.
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