Friday, November 14, 2014

New, Very Elegant Songs and Dances

New, Very Elegant Songs and Dances
Nov. 15, 2014, 8PM

Heliconian Hall, Toronto
John Edwards - Lutes

Petite fantasie dessus l'accord du Leut   Adrian Le Roy (c. 1520-1598)
Pavane est il conclud/Gaillarde est
il conclud/Passameze

Fantasie                                             Albert de Rippe (c.1500-51)
Benedicta, a Six/Secunda pars,     Josquin de Prez (d.1521)/Rippe
Per illud ave/Tertia pars, Nunc mater                 

Les commandemens de Dieu/Jubilate  Genevan Psalter, arr. Le Roy
Deo omnis/Nunc dimittis/Ecce Nunc                 

Preambulo Secundo          Giulio Cesare Barbetta (1540-1603)
Ungay Bergier                    Thomas Crecquillon/Barbetta
BonJour mon Ceur            Orlando Lassus/Sixt Kargel (d. c. 1594)
Madonna mia pieta             Lasso/Kargel
Passamezo Zorzy/Il suo salterello   Kargel

Sanserre, Basse dance/Pavane P.B./   Pierre Blondeau? (fl. 1520s)
Gaillarde/Branle gay                 

La Magdalena, Basse danse P.B./      Blondeau?

Prelude                                      Blondeau?
Secoures moy                              Claudin de Sermisy/Blondeau?
Tant que vivray                           Sermisy/Blondeau?
Jouissance                                      Sermisy/Blondeau?

Pavane la Milanoise/Gaillarde/  Guillaume Morlaye (c. 1510-c. 1558)
Gaillarde piemontoise/Gaillarde                 

Fantasia                           Jean Paul Paladin (fl. 1540-1560)
Anchor che col partir      Cipriano di Rore/Paladin

Premier Branle de bourgogne/Second       Le Roy
branle/Tiers branle/Quatreyesme branle                  

Program Note
In the 18th century Johann Matheson joked ‘if a lute player lives to be 80 he has surely spent 60 years tuning’. Adrian Le Roy, a lutenist at the French court, makes this joke 175 years earlier with the Fantasie with which we begin. Beside his court job Le Roy formed a publishing house with Ballard, printing chansons, and from 1551, several books of lute and guitar music and a lute method surviving only in a contemporary English translation. The decorated repeats of the Pavane and Gaillarde that Le Roy gives us are marked ‘plus diminuĂ©e’ or in the English version of the Passameze, ‘more shorter’.

Albert de Rippe, born Alberto da Ripa, was another Royal lutenist, who came from the lute-mad territory of the Marchesa of Mantua, Isabella d’Este. At the end of the dense polyphony of the first part of his heavily decorated version of Josquin’s six-voice motet he realizes the lute can’t compete with a choir imitating the Archangel Gabriel saluting the Virgin Mary, so dazzles with a flurry of notes rather than full throats. Josquin thins out to two voices for the second part and brings all the voices back at the end of the third. After this Le Roy’s busy versions of tunes from the Genevan Psalter, in use by French Protestants and still in the hymnbook today, seem like pop music. Le Roy sticks close to the chords of their first harmonizer Claude Goudimel, but puts the Psalm tune in the top voice and avoids decorating it in the main, keeping the ‘more shorter’ notes in the other parts.

Pierre Attaingnant published a book of dances in 1521, the first printed lute music in France. Many of the dances are by a ‘P.B.’, probably Pierre Blondeau, a lutenist active at the time who may have been his editor. The book contains some of the new Pavanes and Gaillardes, but also many Basse Danses, an older dance form which are audibly more ‘medieval’ sounding with their uneven phrase lengths and less tonal melodies and harmonies. In 1529 Attaingnant printed a book of chansons arranged for one voice and lute from 4 voice part originals and, overleaf from each song, lute alone. The Branles are formalized versions of rustic dances but not so domesticated as to have the phrases ironed out into squares.
Morlaye was another publisher/lutenist and we can never be sure if he is editor or composer of the music in his books. The fantasy by Paladin (the Milanese Giovanni Paolo Paladino, publishing in Lyon) is unattributed in one of Morlaye’s books.

Pity Nicholas Sarkozy. You can still see him on YouTube saying ‘it’s nice to be here in Germany’ while visiting the French Region of Alsace, the capital of which is Strasbourg, where Barbetta and Kargel’s books were printed back when it was in Germany. Even the French President can’t keep straight what country it’s in.