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UMS Concert Program, April 13, 1974: The Early Music Consort Of London -- David Munrow

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Concert: Eighth
Complete Series: 3879
Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
The Early Music Consort of London
Directed by DAVID MUNROW
James Bowman--counter tenor, tenor viol, tabor, mediaeval trumpet Oliver Brookes--crwth, bass viol, crumhorn, recorder James Tyler--citole, lute, tenor viol, crumhorn, recorder, tambourine Christopher Hogwood--harp, percussion, harpsichord, crumhorn David Munrow--bagpipes, recorder, gemshorn, kortholt, crumhorn, dulcian, cornemuse, sixholed pipe, shawm
(The instruments are listed in the order in which they are played.)
Music for Princes and Peasants
A program exploring the contrasts between courtly and popular elements in mediaeval and Renaissance music.
Saturday Evening, April 13, 1974, at 8:30 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
PROGRAM Peasants
Saltarello...........Fourteenth century Italian
English dance............Thirteenth century
Estampie...........Thirteenth century French
Dance tune.........attrib. Tassin, thirteenth century
"Ich spring an diesem Ringe"
?.,.,., . . , , , ? . ? I Locheimer Liederbuch,
"Ach Metden, du viel sehnend Pern V......fifteenth century
"Es juhr ein Bauer" J
The audience is requested to reserve their applause for the end of each section.
Eighth Concert Eleventh Annual Chamber Arts Series Complete Programs 3879
The princely elements in early music are easier to isolate than the popular ones. Especially in mediaeval times the music of the lower classes of society was a mixture of oral tradition, memory and improvisation, just as it is today in countries such as Turkey, Greece or the Balkans. The folk musicians of these countries are generally virtuoso performers and much can be learnt from them. Mediaeval dance music was essentially a solo business. An itinerant jongleur or minestrel had to be able to give a convincing solo act: the best instruments for the purpose were those which provided their own drone accompaniment. Popular songs, too, were monophonic but, if we are to judge by surviving folk music practise, benefited from the addition of drones, percussion and instrumental interludes.
The Locheimer Liederbuch is a rich and diverse collection. Although we owe its existence to the developing (and literate) middle class, the songs themselves reflect a close preoccupation with rustic life. This is not the stylised Arcadia of the renaissance, but the often harsh reality of gleaning a living from the soil.
"Ich spring an diesem ringe" is a dance song in which the singer, as an old man, remembers all the pretty girls he has met on his travels. He recalls their virtue, or lack of it, and finally consoles himself with a bottle of wine. "Ach Meiden" is a young man's complaint to one particular girl who has illtreated him: she has imprisoned his heart forever. "Es fuhr ein Bauer" is short and to the point: 'A peasant set off for the woods with the axe, then came the crafty priest to his wife.' No further translation is required.
Princes and Peasants
Bransle Gay...........publ. Claude Gervaise
sixteenth century
Bransle de Poictou.........publ. Pierre Attaignant
(died 1552)
Bransle Courans............Claude Gervaise
Bransle d'Ecosse............Claude Gervaise
Bransle de Champaigne..........Pierre Attaignant
Bransle Simple............Claude Gervaise
This is a "suite de branles," drawn from editions by two French publishers who helped to spread the popularity of renaissance dance music by making it readily available: in solo arrangements for lute or keyboard and in consort versions sold in individual part books. Dances were grouped together according to type and performers could make their own selection. The tunes themselves must often have been popular in origin: they belong to a common stock shared by most European countries.
The branlc was originally a folk dance: Joan of Arc might have danced it as a country girl in Lorraine in the fifteenth century. By the sixteenth century it was a court dance executed so brilliantly by Marguerite de Valois at the court of Paris that the governor of the Low Countries rode post haste to Paris to see her dance it. Some of our performing versions try to illustrate this transition from country to court.
"Vergine bella" ....
Je porte amyablement
De tout bicn plaine
"Ti partir cor mio caro"
De eke le morta la mia signora
"Virgine Bella" . . . ,
Guillaume Dufay (c. 14001474)
Donato da Firenze (floreat c. 1350)
Hayne van Ghiseghem (fifteenth century)
Filippo Azzaiolo (sixteenth century)
Anonymous (early sixteenth century)
Bartolomeo Tromboncino (died c. 1535)
The humanistic spirit of the renaissance is perfectly expressed in the poems of Francesco Petrarca, or Petrarch, born in 1304. He was a poet, an intellectual, a sceptic, and an antiquarian. He combined passion with reason and love with scholarship. His thirst for knowledge stimulated many others to the critical study of classical texts, and he has been truly called "the first modern literary man." Petrarch's poetry inspired countless musical settings, not only by his contemporaries in fourteenth century Florence but by succeeding generations of European composers, including the late sixteenth century madrigalists.
This group begins and ends with settings of the first stanza of Petrarch's great poem "Vereine Bella":
"Beautiful Virgin clothed in the sun's rays, crowned with stars, you so pleased God that He hid His light in you; Love impells me to write in praise of you but 1 cannot begin without your help, and the help of Him who in love took His place in you. I invoke you, who always replied to the faithful supplicant. Virgin, if ever the extreme misery of the human state moved you to pity, give ear to my prayer and help in my difficulty, even though I am on earth and you arc Queen of Heaven."
Both Dufay and Tromboncino responded to this text with a carefully worked, throughcomposed song. The other pieces in the group illustrate some of the courtly formes fixes: "Je porte amyablement" is a virelai, "De tout Men plaine" a rondeau, "Ti partir," a frottola whilst "De che le morta" has the repeated sections typical of early keyboard music.
Princes and Peasants
"So trinken wir alle"......Arnold von Bruck (c. 14701SS4)
Der Pjancn Schwanz.....Glogauer Liederbuch (fifteenth century)
Ein gutter Polnischer danncz.....Anonymous (sixteenth century)
Der Neite Baucrnschwanz.........Glogauer Liederbuch
Ungarescha.........Anonymous (sixteenth century)
"Ich sacks eins mals".........Glogauer Liederbuch
When the art of the troubadours had died out elsewhere, the Meistersingers helped to preserve the mediaeval tradition of solo song in Germany right up to the end of the sixteenth century. The most famous Meistersinger was Hans Sachs (14941576) with over 6,000 songs to his credit. He of course, was neither a prince nor a peasant but an honest middle class citizen and it was in his part of society that the most of the significant developments in German music had taken place during the fifteenth century.
The Glogauer Liederbuch is a substantial collection of songs and instrumental pieces probably compiled c. 1477148S. The designation "social songs" indicates their suitability for amateur music making amongst tradespeople and the professional classes. Although this and similar collections laid the foundations of the German tenor lied ("So trinken wir alle" for example) which was to become the typical German court song of the Emperor Maximilian's time, the subject matter of the Glogauer pieces is still not particularly elevated. The roots of peasant life are still there as in Der Neue Bauernschwanz for example (the New Peasant round dance).
There is a strong national folk influence in the two keyboard solos. The exotic "Ungarescha" is a real folk tune still heard in Hungary today. In the sixteenth century it was a strenuous sword dance demonstrated by the lyric poet Valentin Balassi at the Imperial court in 1572.
The last song in the group occurs in several different versions in the Glogauer book, both monophonic and polyphonic. Five versions are used in this evening's performance. "Ich sachs eins mals" is a descendant of the courtly aubade of the troubadours. It says: "Once I saw the bright morning star with my love, as I should like to be always. But alas I this cannot be."
"Quei che sempre han da penare" "Quasi sempre avanti di" Per dolor mi bagno el viso "Se mai per maraveglia"
"Chi passa per questa strada"
......Marco Cara
. Bartolomeo Tromboncino
......Marco Cara
. Franciscus Bossinensis
(early sixteenth century)
Anonymous, (early sixteenth century)
Isabella d'Este must rank as one the greatest female patrons of the arts. After her marriage to the Marchese Francesco Gonzaga in 1490, her court at Mantua became internationally famous as a musical centre, no small achievement at a time when Italy might justly have been called "the land without music." Isabella assiduously cultivated young Italian poets and composers to rival those at other European courts. Instead of imitating the French chanson they developed the frottola, a vigorous new form with its roots in the gaiety of the Italian language and people. Isabella sometimes took part in the concerts she organised at Mantua as a clavichord player: two of the regular per?formers were Marco Cara and Bartolomeo Tromboncino, both singers and lutenists.
The group begins with three frottolas: all with typically lighthearted texts about love. "Quasi sempre avanti di" contains some charming bird imitations: "Almost always before dawn the cock sings 'cu cu ru ru'--and I go to my love." "Per dolor mi bagno el viso" is heard in a keyboard intabulation by Andrea Antico. The last two songs are variants of the frottola type. "Se mai per maraveglia" is a capilulo: its serious devotional text is unusual and its recitative style unique for the period: "If ever through astonishment, as you raise your countenance to the bright sky, Do you think O blind people, of that true Lord of a Paradise Weep the universal grief, weep the harsh death and bitter trial, if any spirit of pity pierces your heart."
"Chi passa" belongs to the more popular villota type. Its strong rhythms and simple harmonies make it an ideal basis for improvisation: "Fortunate he who passes through this street, Happy is he if he sings fa la li le la."
Instrumental melody........Thirteenth century French
Dance tune..........Fourteenth century German
"Le roi a fait battrc tambour"........Traditional French
Saltarello...........Fourteenth century Italian
The programme ends as it began, with music of the people. The King and Queen in the ballad "Le roi a fait battre tambour" are not real personages, but the king and queen of fairy tales and folklore. The song describes how the king covets the wife of one of his courtiers: but the queen has the last word by poisoning her rival.
The idea of the instrumentation for the final Saltarello came from seeing a wedding procession in Marrakesh: a melody, not unlike this mediaeval saltarello, was played on the shawm accompanied by a variety of drones and percussion. The musicians walked in front, behind them came all the guests and several carts laden with wedding gifts, and at the back came the most valuable present of all--a cow. As the procession passed, time seemed to stand still. Neither the sight nor the sound could have changed much in the last 1,000 years.
Notes by David Muneow
Argo, World Record Club, HMV, and EMI Records
Announcing 197475 Chamber Arts Series
Concentus Musicus, from Vienna......Wednesday, October 9
Music and instruments from the Baroque period.
Esterhazy String Quartet, from Amsterdam . . . Thursday, October 24 Using instruments of Haydn's time.
Cleveland String Quartet.......Wednesday, November 13
Juilliard String Quartet........Tuesday, December 3
Syntagma Musicum, from Amsterdam.....Thursday, January 23
Medieval and Renaissance songs and music.
Tokyo String Quartet.......Sunday, 2:30, February 2
Quartetinresidence at American University.
JeanPierre Rampal, flutist; Veyron LaCroix, keyboard Tuesday, February 18
Ars Antiqua de Paris.........Saturday, March 29
Four ancient instruments and countertenor.
New '74--'75 season brochure with order form available upon request. Series ticket orders now being accepted.
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan Phone 6653717
The University Musical Society relies on public support in order to maintain the scope and artistic quality of these programs. Taxdeductible contributions to our Gift Program arc welcome.

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