Auretti's Minuet (1)

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AURETTI'S MINUET. English, Minuet (3/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The title commemorates Anne Auretti, one of the most widely travelled ballerinas of the 18th century. She appeared with her husband in Paris in the Opéra Comique in the 1750's, with a mostly Italian company that also performed in London and Vienna, however, she was a sensation in England in the 1740's after her appearance at Covent Garden in 1742. There is an engraving of Auretti dancing in a glen, arms outstretched, c. 1745 by Gerard Jean-Baptiste Scotin (born 1690). In London she was a member of David Garrick's company, and a number of melodies in period collections are associated with her, including "Auretti's Dance" (Walsh's Compleat Country Dancing Master, Fourth Book, c. 1747, and Wright's Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances, vol. 2, c. 1742), "Auretti's Dutch Skipper" (Wright's Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances, vol. 2, c. 1742; Walsh's Compleat Country Dancing Master, Fourth Book, c. 1747; Walsh's Caledonian Country Dances, 4th ed., 1744); and Thompson's Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1, c. 1780-90), and "Auretti's Maggot" (Walsh's Compleat Country Dancing Master, Fourth Book, c. 1747; Walsh's Caledonian Country Dances, 4th ed., 1744). Theatrical impresario Tate Williamson, writing in his Memoirs of 1790, notes that at Drury Lane in 1747 Madam Auretti ("in serious style") was one of several "capital dancers" that season and was held in "great estimation...Madame Auretti continued only the season following, when her benefit was commanded by his Majesty George the Second.-Play, the Stratagem-Mr. Garrick acted Archer-After which she retired from the stage..."

The melody appears in a few American music manuscript books from the late 18th century, such as those of George Bush and Henry Livingston, Jr. Livingston purchased the estate of Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1771 at the age of 23. In 1775 he was a Major in the 3rd New York Regiment, which participated in Montgomery's invasion of Canada in a failed attempt to wrest Québec from British control. An important land-owner in the Hudson Valley, and a member of the powerful Livingston family, Henry was also a surveyor and real estate speculator, an illustrator and map-maker, and a Justice of the Peace for Dutchess County. He was also a poet and musician, and presumably a dancer, as he was elected a Manager for the New York Assembly's dancing season of 1774-1775, along with his 3rd cousin, John Jay, later U.S. Chief Justice of Governor of New York. Source for notated version: the music manuscript of Captain George Bush (1753?-1797), a fiddler and officer in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War [Keller].

Printed sources: Johnson (The Kitchen Musician No. 14: Songs, Airs and Dances of the 18th Century), 1997; p. 2. Keller (Fiddle Tunes from the American Revolution), 1992; p. 12.