Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The beginning of the month had us at a conference on Early Modern Women at University of Maryland at College Park. We took part in a session on the women of the Sidney family and performance with Profs. Katie Larson, Linda Phylis Austern and Jeanice Brooks. 'Has she a strong voice? I love a lady when she puts forth her voice makes the room rattle,' Mary Sidney Wroth, Countess of Montgomery has Amphilanthus say.

We then did our concert on music written for girls to learn by John Danyel and Henry Lawes. Here's the cover of the program for that. Always have someone else proofread stuff.

Hallie gets ready for our concert:
Then is was off to Brooklyn where we stayed with Prof. Janette Tilley and her friend More McCormack. We led a seminar at CUNY's Grad Center (formerly B. Altman's department store on 5th Ave.) on "What really happened at Spanish courts in the 17th c. for musical entertainments?" (Answer: Long narrative poems declaimed on stock melodies rather than little villancicos.)

Here's the full program of the girl concert:

Her Leaves be Green

Miss Anne Greene

Coy Daphne fled John Danyel (1564-c1626)

Eies looke no more Danyel

Lyke as the Lute Danyel

Rosamond Danyel

Chast Daphne fled Danyel

Gaspara Stampa 1523-1554

Amor, lo stato tuo After Vincenzo Galilei (c.1520 –1591)

Gagliarda La Gasparina Giulio Abondante (fl1546 -1587)

Excerpt from Rilke’s Duino Elegies

Oimè, le notti mie colme di gioia, Cosimo Bottegari (1564-1620)

Songs for the Egerton Sisters

Sweet stay awhile Henry Lawes (1595-1622)

Coranto René Saman (fl 1610-31)

The God of love my shepherd is Lawes

Countess of Pembrooks Funeralls Anthony Holborne (c1545-1602)

Tavola - In quel gelato core Lawes

Before the Restoration the English stage was not a place where the educated woman was permitted to exercise her skills in the sister arts of rhetoric and music. The more intimate and controlable domestic performance space was hers to command.

John Danyel was the brother of the poet and playwright Samuel, and ‘Lyke as the Lute’ is a lyric by him. John’s Songs for the Lute Viol and Voice of 1606 is dedicated to Mistress Anne Greene, the daughter of a wealthy, if not very well-pedigreed knight, Sir William Greene, who employed Danyel as a household musician. A few lines from his verse dedication will make clear the function of the songs in the collection.

To Mrs. Anne Grene…

That which was onely privately composed,

For your delight, Faire Ornament of Worth,

Is here, come to bee publikely disclosed:

And to an universall view put forth.

Before his court engagement Henry Lawes also worked as a household musician, for the more illustrious Egerton family. His duties included teaching the daughters of John Egerton, the Earl of Bridgewater. Lawes’ dedicated his Ayres and Dialogues of 1653 is to Alice and Mary, by then Countess of Carbery and Lady Herbert of Cherbury. The dedication says of the songs ‘most of them were composed when I was employed to attend to your Ladishipp’s education in musick’. Along with a song from that print, we present a psalm paraphrase by George Herbert, Mary’s brother-in-law, solos from Lord Herbert’s Lutebook, and an ayre from Lawes’ autograph songbook. Since ‘Sweet stay awhile’ preceeds the songs written for Milton’s Comus we can presume it was written when he was still teaching the girls.

Gaspara Stampa and her sister were moved to Venice when her father died and her mother exploited the children’s musical and poetic talents as she opened her house as a salon. We set two of Gaspara’s poems to extant melodic formulas that fit any sonnets as was perhaps the most common way of hearing sung poetry in mid-16th century Italy. We also present a much later poet’s lines on her to a plainchant melody.

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