It tickles my fancy when I play a Sarabande that at one stage it was illegal. Bach’s Sarabande – the one I play is part of the fifth French suite – is a beautiful, restrained piece of baroque keyboard music. It doesn’t get much more refined that this in the classical musical world. However … in the 16th century things were different. Having it’s origins in folk music and dance in Latin America, the Zarabanda was considered “so lascivious in its words, so ugly in its movements, that it is enough to inflame even very honest people.” (Juan de Mariana). Public performance was punishable by two hundred lashes!
I’ll be playing the whole suite and telling tales of Versailles tomorrow night in Castlemaine if you’re in the mood for a little once-inflammatory entertainment.