Back to Varsoviana Waltz
VARSOVIANA (Waltz). AKA – “The Waltz Vienna.” AKA and see "Silver Lake (2) (The)." English, Canadian; Waltz. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The 'varsouvienne' is a dance step in which the first part is a waltz hold with a turning and pointing the toe movement, while the second part is a mazurka. The date of 1853 is generally accepted for its introduction among society circles in the British Isles. Jarman, for copyright reasons, credits the tune to one Jim Magill, a Canadian fiddler of the mid-20th century, but the melody is clearly very much older. Bayard believes the tune sounds ‘thoroughly German.’ There are several tunes that share one or the other strain, or both, of this tune, including "Kick a Dutchman," "Varsovienne" (Ford), and "Varsovienne" (Boehme), and "Old Mazurka" (Bayard, 1981; No. 650, pp. 568–569). The title "Varsovienne" appears in a list of the repertoire of Maine fiddler Mellie Dunham. The elderly Dunham was Henry Ford's champion fiddler in the late 1920's. Hingham, Norfolk, England, hammered-duclicmer player Billy Cooper (1883–1964) knew the tune as “The Waltz Vienna” and said it ws one of the first tunes he ever learned. “I daren’t tell you what we used to sing to it when I was a boy,” he told Reg Hall in 1962. In Irish tradition "Varsoviana" is used for the dance Shoe the Donkey.
Source for notated version:
Jarman (The Cornhuskers Book of Square Dance Tunes), 1944; p. 33.
Jarman and Hansen (Old Time Dance Tunes), 1951; p. 18.
O'Brien (Jerry O'Brien's Accordion Instructor), 1949.
Raven (English Country Dance Tunes), 1984; p. 137 (appears as "The Silver Lake").
Recorded sources: Topic TSCD607, Billy Cooper, Walter & Daisy Bulwer – “English Country Music” (2000. Appears as “The Waltz Vienna,”originally recorded 1962).