The Nobility of Women
2011; Baroque fl, ob, vn, viola da gamba, Baroque vc, harpsichord; 20′
Commissioned and premiered by Mélomanie
This 20-minute work takes its name from the 1600 dance instruction manual Nobiltà di Dame by Fabritio Caroso. The name of the book alone captivated me. I used none of the music from Nobiltà di Dame, but rather imagined a piece that would grow out of a work with that title. I also wanted to write legitimate dance music, that is, music that people could really dance to if they liked. Mélomanie is skilled in Baroque and new music, and I’ve enjoyed writing for historical instruments in the past. The sound-world is entrancing, so I’ve tried to compose a work that would release the beauties of these fabulous instruments, including some short and not-so-short solos throughout.
“Kile Smith’s eight-movement The Nobility of Women completes the recording, going beyond references to dance suites, paying direct homage to a 16th-century dance manual for women. More than the others, Smith is comfortable with close imitation of 17th-century techniques and tonality.”—Early Music America