2. The Frog Galliard by John Dowland
Choreographed steps, a cadence (a large jump landing with one leg ahead of the other) and a lavolta (a controversial intimate move, in which the man picks up the woman and spins her in the air, considered inappropriate by some). All these are part of the most popular Renaissance dance throughout Europe in the 16th century: the galliard. It was so trendy that it seems to have been the favourite dance of Queen Elisabeth I, practising it several times in the mornings. Considering the limps and jumps it involved, it must have been quite a workout for her. The Frog Galliard by John Dowland was especially all the rage, and leaving aside my lute fandom, it really is a nice and cosy listening.
1. The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Keeping it simple and cosy, we close the week with a beautiful pastoral by Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending, which is inspired by an eponymous poem written by George Meredith, portraying the song of the skylark. The work conjures up a forest landscape(even though the bird itself leaves in open farmlands and shrubberies), engulfed in fresh green leaves and summer warmth, or how I would call it: my happy place, where batteries are recharged, time stops and everything around sparks of life and hope and joy.
Disclaimer: this is not an exhaustive list of all the works curated by Clemency Burton-Hill in the book Year of wonder: classical music for every day. To enjoy the full catalogue of pieces proposed by the author along with her comments on the composers and the music itself, feel free to pick up her awesome book here (not affiliated, nor sponsored).