Tune of the Day: La Volta
A “Volta” is a lively Renaissance dance for couples, a known favorite of Queen Elizabeth the first, who loved to dance to it. It is really more a type of piece than a specific piece, but this one by Praetorius is probably the most famous of them all.
A virtuoso organist, an organ builder, a composer and an assiduous musical scholar, Praetorius is celebrated for writing a remarkable three volume musical treatise, the Syntagma musicum, which allows us rare and fascinating glimpses into the musical sensibilities of his time. He was for his time a man of tremendous erudition, a polymath who was well versed in philosophy, theology and languages (including Latin, Greek and Hebrew) in addition to his formidable theoretical and practical understanding of music. Praetorius was also one of the most prolific composers of his generation in Germany, listing over forty volumes of printed music at the end of the Syntagma musicum, including sacred and secular works of all kinds.