This lovely tune is named for the Palace of White Hall, which had grown larger than Versailles or the Vatican by the time it was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1698.
The Whitehall Minuet was published in 1709 by John Young in his tunebook Dancing Master, and in John Walsh’s Compleat Country Dancing Master, 1718.
Hare’s Maggot and French Morris, the ‘set’ partners to the minuet in the two very different renderings below, are both Playford tunes from 1701.
I’ve always understood that ‘maggot’ in a title means a tune that sticks in your head – an ear-worm. But I see from the wonderful Traditional Tune Archive that although the word can mean a dram (a liquid measure), ‘the musical meaning may stem from the word’s derivation from the Italian word maggioletta, or a plaything’.
The Askew Sisters
Emily Askew (fiddle), Hazel Askew (melodeon)
From a 2014 performance at TwickFolk, Twickenham, Middlesex, UK. The set is also on their CD In the Air or the Earth.
(‘The Askew Sisters – The Whitehall Minuet and Hare’s Maggot’, YouTube video, 5:10. Published by Eugey Baby, 15 Oct 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guZEJy_ggRQ)
Becky Price (accordion), Miranda Rutter (fiddle, viola), Matthew Coatsworth (fiddle, viola)
From the acclaimed but unreleased 2012 album Mudlarking. Whitehall Minuet starts at 1:41.
Askew Sisters: this coming Monday 19 September, at London’s Green Note, Camden. Last few tickets here!
Boldwood: Saturday 15 October, St Peter’s Church, Wolvercote, Oxford. Tickets: email@example.com or 01865 559316
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