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About the Pavan

Pavan is a serious and noble, duple-metered dance that was popular during the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe. It was danced in couples, who swayed on the balls of their feet from side to side. The word 'pavan' derives possibly from the Italian city of Padua, but it could also be the Spanish word for peacock - pavon - that best describes the proud and processional character of the pavan. Whatever the case, the pavan has inspired generations of composers. In this episode of Bach@Home, pianist and harpsichordist Magdalena Baczewska performs and discusses two pavans: The Lord of Salisbury Pavan by Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625) played on the harpsichord, and the celebrated Pavane pour une enfante défunte by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), played on the piano. Magdalena Baczewska is the Director of the Music Performance Program and member of Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University. For more info, visit

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