Friday, February 12, 2016


SWEET SWAN OF AVON
To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare


Shakespeare’s Lives of Girls and Women
8PM, Feb. 13, 2016 
Heliconian Hall, Toronto 

First of the Ladies Masque Anon.
Here we see Phebe attempt to set her suitor Silvius free and respond with an ayre where the poet assures his beloved that her beauty gives her not the power to decide who will be her vassal. The strings play Byrd’s variations on The Leaves be Green, the signature tune of the dedicatee of Danyel’s songbook, Miss Anne Green.
Phebe from As You Like It [III, 5]
Let not Cloris think      John Danyel (1564-c.1626)
The Leaves be Green   William Byrd (c.1540-1623) 

Ophelia is perhaps, with Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare’s most famous female role, and we present one of her most famous speeches. Campion’s song – he wrote the texts and music – comments on her distressed state, and the violin plays one of the ballad tunes she sings in her madness, tunes associated with powerful men seducing young women.
Ophelia from Hamlet [III, 1]
 My love hath vowd   Thomas Campion (1567-1620)
Bonny Sweet Robin Anon.



In the Renaissance imagination the lute replaced the ancient lyre, and was thus the instrument for ‘lyrics’. Proteus recommends the ancient guise of lutenist/ poet/lover. Danyel’s love lyric is in fact a checklist of musical terms for his student Ms. Green. The manuscript lutebook of Margaret Board, a student of John Dowland, gives us the pavan ‘He and She Alone Together.’
Proteus from Two Gentlemen of Verona [III, 2]
Like as the Lute delights Danyel
Solus cum Sola     John Dowland (1563-1626)

Hortensio has been acting as lute teacher to the irritable Katherina and has had a lute smashed over his head for his trouble. Campion’s heartstrings are all that have been broken by Corinna. A masque dance for the Ladies rounds out the set.
Hortensio from Taming of the Shrew [II, 1]
When to her lute Corinna sings Campion
Second of the Ladies Masque  Anon. 

The last stanza of this lesser known poem warns ladies against the hot sighs – or hot air – deployed by poets like that of Dowland’s song, which seem authentic enough to us. We present the ayre with the ‘viols’, as he tells us we might, and a tearful galliard (galliard means ‘gay thing’) from Holborne’s collection of dances ‘for viols or violons’. The two families were largely interchangeable in our period.
From A Lovers complaint
Go crystall teares Dowland
Teares of the Muses Antony Holborne (c.1545-1602)

The queens in the history plays have so much to weep about that it’s hard to choose just one. Dowland’s Second Book of Songs, which starts with this ayre and continues with sad song after sad song, is dedicated to Lucy, Countess of Bedford.
Queen Margaret from Henry VI Part II [III, 2]
I saw my Lady weepe Dowland 
Lady Lucies Masque Anon. 

Julia realizes she has acted rashly in tearing up a letter from her lover, which appears to have the sort of complaints the galliard song we couple with it has. We end the ‘first act’ with two pieces from Dowland’s collection of dances Lachrimae or Seaven Teares.
Julia from Two Gentlemen of Verona [I, 2]
If my complaints Dowland
Captaine Digori Pipers Galiard Dowland
Mistresse Nichols Almand  Dowland

Intermission

Paradizo Holborne 
This pavan is titled The Countess of Pembrook’s Paradice in manuscript. Countess Mary Sidney, though a fine poet, is not the ‘real’ author of Shakespeare’s works as the conspiracists contend. Enobarbus speaks of Cleopatra’s agelessness; the ayre may be the Earl of Essex’s paean to Elizabeth’s and we hear a ‘very pretty’ galliard.
Enobarbus from Antony and Cleopatra [II, 2]
Time stands still Dowland
Muy linda Holborne

Time and aging became a preoccupation of poets as Elizabeth approached the end of her reign. John Danyel sets a poem by his brother Samuel, Shakespeare’s nearest peer as a sonneteer. We lighten the mood with another masque dance.
Sonnet XII
Tyme cruell tyme Danyel 
Third of the Ladies Masque Anon. 



In this sonnet Shakespeare has the thoughts of the tired lover travel to his beloved, his drooping eyelids opening wide. In the responding lyric set by Dowland, the lover’s eyes are not just open, but weep sad fountains as his imagination ranges from his beloved’s sound sleep to the snowy mountains and the rising and setting sun. The strings take up the tears conceit as they play Holborne’s Pavana Ploravit (Weeping Pavan) which quotes Dowland’s Lachrimae motif.
Sonnet XXVII
Weepe you no more Dowland
Pavana Ploravit Holborne 

Juliet’s speech would appear to put her in the camp of the Coy Daphne text of this song, which discommends getting turned into a tree for your maidenhead like the nymph. Romeo’s report of Rosalind’s chastity would put her with the text of the contradictory ‘reply’ Chaste Daphne. Another masque dance follows.
Juliet from Romeo and Juliet [III, 2]
Coy Daphne fled Danyel
Romeo from Romeo and Juliet [I, 1]
Chast Daphne fled Danyel
The Kings Mistress Anon.

Troilus’s pearl is Helen of Troy. The text of East’s madrigal, ‘apt for voices or viols’, has a more standard Petrarchan set of pearly teeth and rosy cheeks.
Troilus from Troilus and Cressida [II, 2]
Dainty white pearle Michael East 


The Musicians In Ordinary
Named after the singers and lutenists who performed in the most intimate quarters of the Stuart monarchs’ palace, The Musicians In Ordinary for the Lutes and Voices dedicate themselves to the performance of early solo song and vocal chamber music. Soprano Hallie Fishel and lutenist John Edwards have been described as ‘winning performers of winning music.’ A fixture on the Toronto early music scene for over 10 years, in 2012 MIO became Ensemble in Residence at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. They have concertized across North America and lecture regularly at universities and museums. Institutions where MIO have performed range from the scholarly to those for a more general public and include the Shakespeare Society of America, the Renaissance Society of America, the Shakespeare Association of America, Grinnell College, the Universities of Alberta, Toronto and at California at San Diego, the Kingston Opera Guild, Syracuse, Trent and York Universities and the Bata Shoe Museum. They have been Ensemble in Residence at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.


Ruby Joy is a Canadian-American actress about to embark on her fifth season with the Stratford Festival. Since graduating from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, she has performed in theatre, film and TV. Selected theatre credits include Miranda in The Tempest (Theatre by the Bay), Mrs. Van Buren in Intimate Apparel (The Grand Theatre), Miss Casewell in The Mousetrap (Chemainus Theatre Festival), the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol (Theatre North West), and Helen in Cymbeline, Sorel Bliss in Hay Fever and the Princess of France in Love’s Labour’s Lost (Stratford Festival). This coming summer, she will play Susan Pevensie in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Kate in Shakespeare in Love. She appeared as Chantel on CBC’s Republic of Doyle.


Christopher Verrette has been a member of the violin section of Tafelmusik since 1993 and is a frequent soloist and leader with the orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University. He contributed to the development of early music in the American Midwest as a founding member of the Chicago Baroque Ensemble and Ensemble Voltaire and as a guest director with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. He collaborates with many ensembles around North America, performing music from seven centuries on violin, viola, rebec, vielle and viola d’amore. He was concertmaster in a recording of rarely heard classical symphonies for an anthology by Indiana University Press and collaborated with Sylvia Tyson on the companion recording to her novel, Joyner’s Dream. Chris was the sound of Mark Smeaton’s violin on the TV series The Tudors.
The manuscript containing the anonymous masque dances heard tonight preserves only the tune and the bass. The inner parts for were composed for us by Christopher Verrette.


Matt Antal was born and raised in Toronto. He attended Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts where he began playing viola at age 13 under the tutelage of Jolanta Hickey and Angela Rudden. An all-around lover a music, he has played in numerous ensembles in genres ranging from jazz to hardcore metal. He holds both a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto, where he studied under Katharine Rapoport, and a master’s degree from the University of Victoria, where he was a student of Joanna Hood, both in viola performance. He is currently pursuing an advanced certificate in Baroque viola with Tafelmusik.

Stephen Marvin is a writer, musician and craftsman living in Toronto. Since 1977 he has specialized in early music, performing with and leading many well known ensembles. He was principal violinist and violist with the Tafelmusik Orchestra and Chamber Players for 20 years, and now performs in about half of the season's programs. Stephen’s primary devotion to chamber music has inspired his participation in many ensembles, especially recitals and trio performances of late 18th century repertoire with fortepiano. Currently, he is the violist with the Lumiere Quartet. Stephen is represented on more than sixty CDs and other recordings, most notably with Sony. He also enjoys an international reputation as a bow-maker. For twenty-five years he has specialized in 17th and 18th century reproductions for early music specialists, like himself and has published articles and given lectures on the history and construction of old bows. He has recently begin making modern bows after examples by Tourte, Peccatte and others.

Sheila Smyth is a busy performer with many ensembles, baroque and modern, on violin, viola and treble viola da gamba. She is principal violist of both Nota Bene Baroque Players and Opera York, and a supernumerary violist for Tafelmusik. Sheila is a frequent guest soloist with the Toronto Continuo Collective and Scaramella, and has performed at various summer festivals and symposiums such as Luminato, Grand River Baroque, and the MidWest Early Keyboard Society Conference. She has been heard live in performance with the Emperor Quartet on CBC Radio 2 and CFMX Radio, and is a founding member of Musathena and the Cardinal Consort of Viols.

‘The tuneful Laura Jones’ (Barczablog) has been praised for performances on all three of her instruments: modern cello, historical cello, and viola da gamba. Her multi-faceted activities include cellist of the Windermere String Quartet, principal cellist of the Talisker Players, assistant principal of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and principal cellist and gambist of Nota Bene Baroque Players. Recently she performed the solo viola da gamba part in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin with the Toronto Symphony, and has played to sold-out halls with Ensemble Ritmo Flamenco. She is represented on recordings by The Golden Age of String Quartets, with the Windermere String Quartet; Serenade Fran├žaise, a CD of music by French composers recorded with her father, pianist Lawrence Jones; and Where Words and Music Meet: Talisker Players at Massey College.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


The first strain of the Teares of the Muses galliard from a rehearsal for our upcoming concert, the first of our Shakespeare anniversary shows. Chris Verrette, violin, Matt Antal, Steve Marvin and Sheila Smyth, violas and Laura Jones, bass violin. 

video


SWEET SWAN OF AVON
To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare

This season we commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare in a special series of concerts. Each program will have readings in pronunciation of the time from the plays and poems of he who Ben Jonson praised as the Swan of Avon with ayres, motets and madrigals ‘apt for voices or viols’, consort music played by our violin band led by Christopher Verrette, and lute solos.

8PM, Feb. 13th 2016
SHAKESPEARE’S LIVES OF GIRLS & WOMEN
Heliconian Hall, 35 Hazelton Ave. near Bay Subway

Running the gamut from the naughty to the tragic, the young women in the plays are never far from a lute. (Ophelia carries one; Katharina breaks one over her tutor’s head.) Love, loss and often justifiable haughtiness of the older women (in the great ladies and in the lute songs praising Elizabeth) are all considered by the playwright and in the poems set by Dowland, John Danyel, Campion and others. With dance music by Holborne, Johnson et al., actress Ruby Joy reads.

Single tickets at the door $30/$20 students & seniors