19th Century American Ballroom Music 1840-1860
KHCD-2013-007DL (STEREO) - 19th Century American Ballroom Music 1840-1860 - Smithsonian Social Orchestra and Quadrille Band - James Weaver, director - Surviving dance cards, illustrations in periodicals and on sheet music covers bear out the popularity of social dancing in mid-19th century America. The balls, sometimes lasting from 9 PM to 4 am began with a grand march followed by a number of quadrilles, cotillions, and reel dances, interspersed with couple dances such as the waltz, polka, schottisch, mazurka, and galop. Leaders for instrumental groups often composed or arranged their own music to fit the instruments available, sometimes adapting popular songs and current operatic hits to the various dance forms. In the period between 1840 to 1860 represented in this collection, arrangers included popular musicians like Allen Dodworth, Stephen Foster, and the black band leader Francis Johnson, as well as lesser-known leaders such as B.A. Burditt, E.K. Eaton, G.W.E. Friedrich, Simon Knaebel, and J. Schatzman. This recording, taped in 1974 as a joint effort between the Division of Musical Instruments of the Smithsonian Institution and Nonesuch Records, uses instruments from the Smithsonian collection, preserving performance practices and the unique sounds of an age long past. Transcribed from a clean Nonesuch LP.