|Newsletter Issue 42 - October 2010|
|Written by Richard J Milner|
|Thursday, 13 January 2011 07:11|
One of the most important events for amateur viol consort players in 2010 was the appearance on the Werner Icking web page of a library of viol consort music edited by Albert Folop. If you have not yet checked it out you should do so now! It is an amazing collection of 2000 plus pieces by about 200 composers. Yes, all the favourites are there – Coprario, Gibbons, Byrd, Jenkins etc. but also interesting settings of vocal music (we played two wonderful madrigals by Geualdo and Monteverdi last weekend at Berrima viols. ) I am sure you, like me wondered who this Folop person is/was and why made all this music available for us free of charge. I was delighted to hear back from him (he is in the USA) and he sent in a short article on the background to this amazing collection.
Our members travel a lot and it is great to hear back on their experiences. Rosaleen Love and Peter Hawkins give us the low down on the Conclave at Portland and Rosaleen also went to the Amherst event. Joan and I have only recently discovered the beneficial effect on our viol sound with 'good' rosin. So I was intrigued to learn that Melos rosins had started selling rosins specially for baroque strings including viols. There is a short article about them and I hope there will be enough interest from members for the Society to make a bulk purchase (at a greatly reduced price). Some impressive new CDs are reviewed and some new music for voice and viols.
Finally exciting news about the tutors for the 2011 Easter Viol Workshop in Sydney (see below). Lots to read.
Viols return to Sydney for Easter 2011!
We are very happy to announce that Catherine Finnis will be our musical director for the annual Easter Viol School next year. Some may remember Katy from her time in Sydney between 1975-1989 before returning to London where she had an exciting performing career with several consorts including Concordia, Phantasm, and Renaissance Ensemble and has played both viol and baroque cello in such groups and orchestras as New London Consort, Musicians of the Globe, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, European Brandenburg Ensemble, Florilegium, and Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra. In 2009 Katy moved back to her home town of Adelaide and she has already been very busy in the early music scene.
Our international tutor, Ibraham Aziz, studied with Alison Crum and Sarah Cunningham and has played in masterclasses by Jordi Savall and Wieland Kuijken. He is a member of The Rose Consort and plays with a number of period groups and ensembles including Sestina Consort, Charivari Agreable and The Maresienne Consort, and has worked with many distinguished musicians including Catherine King, Clare Wilkinson, Evelyn Tubb, Emma Kirkby, lutenist David Miller, and vocal groups Deller Consort and Stile Antico. He teaches at Morley College London as well on numerous other courses worldwide, including The Dartington International Summer School (UK), The Irish Recorder and Viol Course, and the Benslow Early Music Courses in Hitchin (UK). Check him out on myspace - www.myspace.com/ibiaziz - and listen to a few tracks.
Other tutors will include Laura Vaughan and Danny Yeadon... stay tuned for more info soon and a flyer early in the new year!
Thank you to everyone for your support of the AVDGS this year - I look forward to seeing you in Sydney for the 2011 viol school from Friday 22nd to Monday 25 April!
Peter Hawkins reports:
2010 VDGSA Conclave, Portland July 2010-11-12
After many years of procrastination, Lyn and I finally saw our way clear to attend our first Viola da Gamba Society of America (VDGSA) Conclave, this year held at the Pacific University in Forest Grove, a small town out of Portland, Oregon. We joined Rosaleen Love and Polly Sussex as the antipodean attendees.
After a gruelling 14 hour Mel-LAX flight crammed like sardines toward the rear of a huge A380 Airbus and a long wait for the LAX –Portland flight, we finally got out into glorious sunshine in Portland, jumped into a hire car and drove on the wrong side of the road to Forest Grove just in time for the Conclave’s welcome ceremony. First impression was simply the scale of the event, around 200 participants and 17 “faculty” with a budget of around 20 times that of our Easter Viol School. Everything seemed to run smoothly from accommodation in the uni halls of residence in very comfortable suites, to each participant’s schedule for classes for the whole week, as well as concerts, viol and music store, string and viol doctor, auctions and late night consort sessions.
The theme of the 2010 Conclave was “Sweet Discourse – The Musical Art of Give and Take”. The Faculty was directed by Sarah Mead whose company we enjoyed in Bermagui last Easter. Joining her were some old friends who had previously come out to conduct some of our previous Easter Workshops, including John Dornenburg, Brent Wissick. Each of the 6 days was divided into 4 periods which remained essentially the same during the whole Conclave. The highlights of my sessions were the 6-part Jenkins Fantasies tutored by Martha Bishop, and Lawes 6-parts with Lisa Terry of Parthenia Viol Consort in NY. Our Jenkins consort was led from Martha’s bar-less Jenkins editions, to playing from facsimiles complete with smudges, blobs, flyspecks and haphazard rest marks. This demanded a lot of concentration but was thoroughly rewarding. Lisa Terry worked hard to bring the second Lawes fantasy from the 6-part suite in F up to performance level. In the end we opted for safety and performed the aire from the same suite instead for the final night student concert.
We were treated in the evenings to a series of concerts and events, both formal and impromptu. For our first night all Conclave “first-timers” were allocated a “buddie” old timer who was to ease them into the swing of things. Our “buddies” were Ron Vernon and Susan Marchant, a couple from Mississippi who took us under their wings and showed us the ropes. We are grateful to Ron and Susan for easing us into the ways of the Conclave. One particular mini-concert which touched us was that given by a mixture of the faculty members as a tribute to former luminary Bruce Bellingham who died early in 2010. He was a past president of the VDGSA who was a larger than life character, famous for his championing of the viol fantasies of Ferrabosco. He edited the Musica Britannica volume by that composer. We were lucky enough to share many late hours of consort playing with Bruce during the Hawaii Pan Pacific Gamba Gathering in 2007.
The principal concert on Tuesday night was a wonderful opportunity to hear a mixture of works by some of the leading players of the viol. The fare included the Portland Consort with guest Wendy Gillespie playing from the Lachrimae of John Dowland. This was followed by the Parthenia Consort from NY of Lawrence Lipnik, Ros Morley and Lisa Terry with guests David Morrow and Mary Springfels. They played a variety of works from Isaac to Lupo. Then Peter Hallifax and Julie Jeffery with guests including Marie Dalby played French music by the Couperins, Foqueray and Corrette. The student concert on the last night was quite a mammoth undertaking – every Conclave attendee appeared on stage during the course of the evening, and performances were engaging, full of good humour and at times surprising as for example the loud “Olay!” at the end of the playing of the habanera from Carmen which concluded with a throwing of red carnations up in the air – a performance which brought the house down.
As well as the programmed functions, the residential nature of the Conclave gave rise to much impromptu playing until the small hours. We were fortunate in being able to share our accommodation suite with Peter Ballinger and Leslie Gold (of PRB Publications) who had driven up from California with a car full of their (and other) publications. This meant that the 4 of us plus various visitors played each night until the small hours. We were fortunate to be joined on one evening by John Dornenburg and Vera Kalmijn during which we read through all the Jenkins 6-part fantasies of the Faber edition plus the pavans, ending with the sublime Bell Pavan.
The week passed very quickly – the weather was in Portland was magnificent in contrast we believe to that we left behind in Melbourne! We were also pleased to be able to completely avoid the whole Australian election campaign, arriving home at around midnight on the day of the election. Following the Conclave, we took our little rented Corolla around 4,000 miles through the northwest corner of the US, getting as far east as Yellowstone which lived up fully to its reputation. We then returned north-west to Seattle via the Glacier National Park in Montana as well as a raft of other interesting byways including old mining ghost towns, lava field, crater lakes and the like. All in all, a most memorable trip leaving us with thousands of digital with which to sort through and bore our friends and family. We are already starting to plan for another Conclave, maybe in a year or two.
Rosaleen Love reports:
Amherst Early Music Festival 2010 and Conclave 2010
Earlier this year I was fortunate to attend two early music summer schools in the USA for three weeks of total immersion in the lively US early music scene. The Amherst Early Music Festival took place in New London, Connecticut, from July 11-25 and the 48th annual conclave of the American Viola da Gamba Society immediately after, from July 25-August 1, across the other side of the country in Portland, Oregon.
Amherst is famous for the brilliant tutors it attracts, and the opportunities it provides for students to both learn from professional musicians in class, and see them in action on the festival stage. I particularly enjoyed the singer Anne Azéma, and her sidekick, the vielle player Shirra Kammen in their lively collaboration in the performance of medieval French song. The vielle, I came to think, was the hot new ‘old instrument’ of this early music event, played with verve, brilliance, and often extemporare by tutors and students alike.
The focus of Amherst for 2010 was on early French music. At Amherst, viol players were very much in the minority amongst singers, and other early music instrumentalists. What it offered the viol player was opportunity to play in broken consorts. In one session, I played bass viol for recorders in Marais trios. For another, I was one of a trio of pardessus players, with tutor Sarah Cunningham on bass, and another tutor on harpsichord, playing Boismortier. I loved both classes.
There were a couple of sessions just for viols. The legendary Mary Springfels took a class devoted to the Marais La Folia variations for two bass viols. First we played through all 33 variations, and then worked through them systematically from the beginning until we ran out of time. This was intense, but exhilarating. Another viol session surveyed French viol music from its origins in lute music to Forqueray, again playing examples with tutors Brent Wissik and Loren Ludwig.
A session on traditional music led by recorder player Nina Stern and drummer Glenn Veliz had nothing to do either with viols or French music, but who cared if we played Armenian, Greek, and Arabic music. Glenn Veliz taught by example, where he walked around the room with the flat drum or the tambourine, and we students did our best to copy him. In his solo concert, sitting calmly among his collection of flat drums, Glenn introduced increasingly complex rhythms until, with the addition of harmonic singing, he took his audience to some other world. It is for experiences like this (Shamanic drumming in an early music school?) that I value my American experience of early music. Here was something completely different, and I was there, able to share in it.
Conclave is pure viols. No cornets or serpents here. Again, what I value about going to a big group such as Conclave is the chance to do some new things. I played Lully in a viol orchestra, and it sounded great, Playing in large groups of viols is something they do in America, where we might be rather too purist and want to keep a six-part consort just for six. I suspect the viol orchestra is becoming more possible as tuners allow individuals to get more or less in tune, to start with. The conductor John Mark Rozedaal has techniques for getting large groups in tune quickly, for which I have nothing but admiration. I also like specific classes like those for tenor or treble technique. Though I didn’t manage to get into the treble technique class, I chatted to the tutor Marie Dalby and she gave me one of her class exercise sets.
One thing I picked up this year’s expedition is a sense of a new sound that’s coming from viols. Perhaps we’ve been too reverential towards the consort repertoire, too much in love with gut strings and their particular form of response, that it’s time for something different. In one session at Amherst, Martha McGaughey, said to me, and she didn’t mean it as a complement, something like “Oh, that’s sounding far too much viola da gamba society”. I was really quite pleased at having achieved something recognizable as a VdgSA sound, but I know what she meant. That’s all very well, it’s a start, but where’s that pizzazz, that energy, that something else that’s not there yet. When at Conclave I heard the group quaver I knew what she might mean. Quaver, under the leadership of the amazing treble player Marie Dalby, is a professional group that is expanding the viol repertoire in new directions. At Conclave quaver played a modern set of fantasies specially written for them, and the sound they produced was closer to a string quartet than I’ve yet heard viols achieve. I did discover that one of their treble players only has two gut strings on his instrument, so perhaps some of the brilliance came from trying new things with strings.
Of course, we might even be able to have something on the scale of Amherst, Conclave even, in Australia, if only we had their kind of money. The Amherst festival needed an extra $200,000 to break even, and by the end of the two weeks, the organisers had raised that much through donations. In both Amherst and the VdGSA Conclave there is a strong tradition of offering financial support to music students and emerging professionals, and some of the money raised is sent their way. In Australia, would it work, if we had half a million dollars, could we do it? If only. And of course, with viol players, there’s always the problem of getting the numbers, and it doesn’t look like our society could get 130 viol players together, not just yet.
“What if a Day” Music from Peter Leycester’s “A Booke of Lessons for the Lyro=Viole”
Johanna Valencia, lyra viol. ORF CD3098 reviewed by Patrice Connelly
Johanna Valencia is not well-known to Australian audiences, but she deserves to be. Born in Vienna, she studied viol with Jordi Savall and Wieland Kuijken, teaches in Vienna and at European summer schools, and has performed with many ensembles including Hesperion XXI. She also edits early music for Oriana Music with her husband Richard Carter.
This 70 minute CD contains 49 pieces by John Jenkins, Thomas Gregorye, Peter Warner, Joseph Sherlye, Richard Pickeringe, William Lawes, Charles Colman, John Lawrence, William Young and Robert Blagrave. The remaining pieces are unattributed. A majority of the pieces are almaynes and corantos. They are arranged on the CD by the ten different tunings, which is a novel concept. 17th century titles are differentiated from modern ones by being bold in the booklet listing. The tunings are spelled out out, and the VdGS thematic index numbers are also listed next to the timings. Most of these pieces are less than two minutes long. The title track is at the end. Johanna’s playing is expert. She uses a 6 string bass viol by Walter Schmidt, made in 2006 after a John Rose copy of 1600, and is playing at A415. With a warm and sonorous tone, this mixture of familiar (Pawles Wharf, Daphne) and unfamiliar (Jemmy, Mrs Daniels choyce) pieces are beautifully played.
The comprehensive booklet notes are in German and English, the latter translated by Richard Carter. He includes a page of biography on Peter Leycester (1613/14 – 1678) and three pages about the book from which the music is taken. A portrait of Sir Peter Leycester is on the front, and three panels of facsimile (two text, one music) are on the fold-out card cover. A picture of Johanna is at the back of the booklet along with a brief biography.
For anyone interested in lyra viol music, this is a CD to keep, play and refer to. (NB. ORF CDs are not distributed in Australia, but may be ordered via Saraband Music.).
Fleur de Lys – Charles Medlam
Cello Classic CC1028 obtainable from Amazon,
reviewed by Miriam Morris
The French viol composer/players of the mid 17th century played a vital role in the development of composition and performance of the viol, laying the groundwork for the flowering of such luminaries as Marin Marais and Antoine Forqueray. Charles Medlam should be congratulated on the conception of his recent CD, Fleur de Lys. The Solo Suite before Bach on the Cello Classics Label as it gathers the key figures of this period and sets out the lineage of the teachers through Nicholas Hotman, (c. 1610 – 1663) through to Marin Marais (…). It is likely that Hotman taught both Monsieur de Machy and Jean de Sainte-Colombe. He was probably of German origin and, according to Mersenne (Harmonicorum libri X111, 1635-6), ‘there is no one in France who can compare with Hotman and Maugars in the art of viol playing’. It is likely that Maugars would have been Hotman’s teacher. Hotman wrote in a style combining melody and harmony, similar to that of the lute, in the style that Rousseau called ‘le jeu d’harmonie’. This was the origin of an illustrious line of bass violists that continued for over 100 years that included, de Machy, Ste-Colombe, Le Sieur Du Buisson and Marais who complete the list of composers on Fleur de Lys, The Solo Suite before Bach. De Machy wrote in a similar style to Hotman but with many more ornaments and was particularly dogmatic in his directions as to how the viol should be played, citing ignorance in some of his contemporaries. By this time there was already a change in style in favour of greater simplicity, and De Machy lost the case for the viol as a harmony instrument with the advent of such composers as Marais, Couperin and Caix d’Hervelois who transferred the supporting harmonies to the harpsichord, theorbo and/or second bass viol. Nevertheless de Machy’s influence lived on in his successors and contributed to what is recognized as the golden age of viol playing in the hands of Marais and Forqueray. Ste-Colombe was the teacher of Marin Marais and, unlike his student, never served at court, probably due to being a protestant. The Ste-Colombe Suite on this CD is found in the Tournus manuscript, one of one hundred and fifty pieces for bass viol. His other extant works dating from the 1690s are the sixty-seven Concerts à deux Violes Esgales. Du Buisson (died before 1688) who lived and worked alongside musicians such as Ste-Colombe and Marais, according to the Mercure de France took part in a concert, the first of its kind, for three bass viols. Also, the main manuscript of his works has the honour of being the earliest extant collection of French viol music.
Charles Medlam has been at the forefront of the early music movement since co-founding London Baroque in 1978 with violinist Ingrid Seifert. Starting life as a modern cellist he became interested in the viol and early performance practice, which he studied with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, attending viol courses with Wieland Kuijken. Medlam has recorded extensively with London Baroque both as director, viol player and baroque cellist. After some persistent Googling the reviewer could not find any evidence of any other purely solo recording by Charles Medlam. In his short but pertinent liner notes, which justify the title of this CD, Medlam adds a ‘footnote for cellists’ where he makes the valid point that the cello suites of J.S. Bach are the culmination of the fifty year French tradition of composition for solo bass instruments. Charles Medlam is indeed fortunate in that he was the recipient of Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s original English bass viol, possibly a Barak Norman. The recording attests to the clarity and response of this instrument, which presumably had a seventh string added in the early baroque period, as was the custom - an addition credited to Sainte-Colombe. This is a well-chosen and balanced CD of Suites, three of which are in the home key of the bass viol, D minor. The only single piece presented with continuo is one of Marais’ most profound and moving compositions, the Tombeau pour Mr. de Ste. Colombe from his second book (1701) where Medlam is joined on the theorbo by William Carter. While the particular compositional style of the respective composers is apparent - in particular the Marais, I found that the playing, although unfailing in its stylistic awareness and technical competence, lacked a certain personal expression linked to variation of articulation and nuance. The Tombeau is well played and sensitively accompanied by Carter, but lacks the depth of expression and pathos as demonstrated by Medlam’s teacher, Wieland Kuijken. Nevertheless, this is an important and useful addition to the CD discography for the bass viol and a valuable resource from the historical point of view.
“Sound out my voice: Italian madrigals and bastarda music for viol consort”
Obtainable from Orlando Viols (Lunaris CD)
reviewed by John Weretka
Sound out my voice is the recent first CD from viol consort Orlando Viols, a group comprising Claire Bracher, Laura Frey, Júlia Vet?, Claas Harders and Giso Grimm. Their scanty biography in the CD liner notes (eight and half lines) hardly hints at the wealth of their experience, which includes festival appearances all over Europe. Most of the members studied with Hille Perl; some of their other.
teachers have included Philippe Pierlot, Jaap ter Linden and Sarah Cunningham. The group uses a colourful palette of strings for this recording based around the standard consort formation but including two violones and lirone – a true feast!
The programme centres on the Italian madrigal and its encounter with the viol. Instrumental versions of Vestiva i colli (the title of the CD, Sound out my voice, is the ‘Englished’ version of this Palestrina madrigal), Doulce memoire (Sandrin), O felici occhi miei (Arcadelt) and Ancor che col partire (Rore) are joined by bastarda and diminution settings of the same pieces. The range of composers gives an excellent snapshot of those working in these genres: joining Ortiz and dalla Casa are lesser-known figures like Jarz?bski (this is, I think, the only recording of his Cantate Domino, based on Vestiva i colli), Francesco Maria Bassani (one of the greatest composers of the bastarda tradition) and Giovanni Battista Bovicelli (one of his madrigali passegiati from his treatise on florid singing is represented). Despite the title of the CD, there is little music specifically from the bastarda tradition on this recording. Ortiz’s Recercada primera sobre O felici occhi miei probably counts as an early example, but after Ferrabosco’s Sound out my voice and Rognoni’s Vestiva i colli, the examples start to run thin. Rognoni’s Vestiva i colli…modo difficile per suonar alla bastarda is, in my view unfortunately, broken up across the consort so that the bastarda effect is utterly lost: bastarda music is transformed into mere diminution music. Those interested in what the piece really sounds like will again need to head to Roberto Gini’s Viola bastarda (Olive Music, OM 010), which is no great shame as it is a superb recording and makes a real case for this repertoire. I particularly commend the inclusion of Jarz?bski’s work (I had only known this previously from a snippet of the music in Annette Otterstedt’s book, The viol) and Bassani’s Tocata per b quadro (another under-recorded composer, although this work is on Gini’s disc as well). The rest of the CD comprises examples of the diminution repertoire.
In some ways, the madrigals on the CD represent the most undiluted joy of the entire programme. The players have obviously thought seriously about the text, respecting weak endings in the Italian words, and creating an admirable intensity of sound that responds to the (missing) text. I found the diminution and bastarda music more difficult to enjoy. The group has opted for performance of the other parts of the polyphony by the consort of viols, but the lack of differentiation between the tone colour of the bastarda or diminution part and the ‘backing’ viols sometimes means that the bastarda or diminution part is just drowned out. This doesn’t reflect poor ensemble musicianship on the part of the consort players; in a sense, this is an inevitable consequence of very cohesive ensemble playing. In some cases, the enveloping of the ‘solo’ part works quite well (for example in Ortiz’s Recercada primera sobre O felici occhi miei, where the ‘solo’ part sometimes provides an actual fifth voice), but in other cases (for example, Ortiz’s Recercada primera sobre Doulce memoire) the quite wonderful bass part is often inaudible. A much lighter and more enjoyable touch is employed in Bassani’s Tocata and Ferrabosco’s Sound out my voice, both accompanied predominantly by the lirone, and we can clearly hear the generous attention to musical phrase and shape. Gini’s recording, again, is more strategic in this regard, using a harpsichord and harp to provide the harmonic context. Jarz?bski’s Cantate Domino is given an intriguing ‘orchestration’ by Orlando Viols that occasionally lightens the texture.
As the odd ringing bell at the end of the CD reminds us, this was recorded in a monastery. The spare white walls of this monastery have left their mark on this recording – it has a quite cold, bare sound that really needed a little warming up. Even from the first (admittedly quite beautifully played) madrigal, one can’t help but be struck by the fairly frigid intensity of the sound produced and almost an hour of that sound is somewhat difficult to take.
Nevertheless, this CD is a wonderful addition to the very small clutch of recordings exploring this repertoire. It will be interesting to see what else this group turns its mind to.
A New Repertoire for the Bass Viol
The repertoire for solo bass viol is generally perceived to contain about five main schools:
To these one might add the English lyra viol repertoire and the unique Carl Friedrich Abel, who was still performing on the bass viol in 1785. But significant new repertoire has emerged the last few decades and we would need to add
another school which links the English school via Maugars, Hotman and Sainte-Colombe to the French classics:
2) The French solo suites of Hotman, Dubuission, De Machy and Sainte-Colombe from c.1660-c.1700.
Between 1660 and 1700 literally hundreds of dance movements for solo bass viol were composed by French players such as Hotman, Dubuisson, De Machy and Sainte-Colombe. The first three generally group their pieces into recognizable dance suites but the copyists of the surviving Sainte-Colombe manuscripts (National Library of Scotland MS 9469 and 9468 and Bibliothèque Municipale de Tournus M.3) have grouped their pieces by key. The latter contains one hundred and fifty-one pieces starting with twenty-eight preludes in d minor. Outside the mainstream in France solo suites survive by William Young, Jean Snep, Frederick Stepkins (or Stoeffken) and Carolus Hacquart with one solitary prelude by the lutanist Le Moyne. In addition much of the repertoire which appeared in the 1680s and 90s can be played just as effectively without the continuo part, adding considerably to the inventory of pieces. Indeed one difficulty with some of the surviving manuscripts is trying to decide whether the pieces are self-sufficient or whether a continuo part is missing. This refers as much to the suites and pieces by "Mr. de Ste Colombe Le Fils" in Durham Cathedral Library Ms A.27 as to Carolus Hacquart's 12 Suites published as Op.3 in the Hague in 1701 (also in Durham Cathedral Library), which may or may not be lacking a continuo part. Having recently performed a representative sample of this music and recorded four solo suites, I am now much more inclined to believe that much of this music (even perhaps the problematic Tombeau pour le Sieur de Sainte-Colombe by his son from Durham A.27) is self sufficient. Much hinges on the "classical" fingering system which we can glean from Marais' five books, in which fingers are left down as much as possible. This technique, notated by many composers with a tenue or bracket, (De Machy uses an oblique line) builds up harmony and leads to a style of playing in which the violist is literally accompanying himself.
Thus what looks like a solo part lacking continuo can be made to sound much more complete, mitigating but not quite dispelling doubts that a part might be lacking. The same fingering system will also contribute to a better explanation of the part writing, for a note which the ear must isolate for future use can physically be left ringing and therefore be easier to recuperate when needed. One useful remark in this respect is Kühnel's reminder in his preface to his 1698 collection that three of the sonatas for two viols and four of the suites for solo viol can be played with or without continuo. But the transition from the normal seventeenth century suite (without an accompanying figured bass part) to the normal eighteenth century suite (with an accompanying figured bass part) can perhaps most clearly be seen in Marais' first book of pieces published in 1686 in which the continuo part becomes progessively more independant throughout the collection. It is as if Marais at the beginning of the collection is building directly on the tradition of his teacher Sainte-Colombe but gradually yields to the new goût by adding a continuo part. The solo part of several of the movements in the early part of his 1686 publication can be found in the Panmure manuscript no.21 in the National Library of Scotland, which though later published with a continuo part by Marais, feel perfectly self-sufficient as solos, especially after investigation of the solo repertoire of the preceding decades.
The idea of combining allemande, courante and sarabande occured quite early on in the seventeenth century and was particularly popular in France and England. It is said that Louis XIII’s sister Henrietta Maria brought the sarabande to London with her when she married Charles I in 1625 and it is possible that the polymath, polyglot diplomat/violist André Maugars played a part in this transferral. At that time a rythmically complex courante (or two) was preceded by an exploratory allemande and rounded off with an elegant and probably quite sprightly sarabande. The sarabande then began to be played less rapidly and to feel more like a genuine slow movement. During the 1650s Froberger for the keyboard in Vienna, Gaultier for the lute in Paris, Playford in London and Pinel in Schwerin for ensembles, as if by some formal agreement, began to add a gigue. The core of the classical suite (allemande - courante - sarabande - gigue) was now in place but composers then started to precede the dances by a prelude which was often non-mesurée (ie without barlines) and insert “galanteries” (bourrées, gavottes, menuets, ballets etc.) between the sarabande and the gigue, or at the end. The complete French suite was therefore fully mature by the 1680s and Le Sieur de Machy's publication of 1685 with its eight classically laid-out suites represents a significant and definitive central reference point in the repertoire.
But what was the purpose of all this repertoire? The suites could be performance material for the virtuoso, whose viol is superlatively transportable to any part of his patron's chateau. It could be teaching material for the maîtres de viole, with the doubles perhaps representing challenges for the more advanced pupils. And since everybody had to practise their steps for social dancing, they could also serve as rehearsal music. The viol player could practise or play his suites while the dancers learnt their steps, with frequent repetition presumably beneficial to both parties! And since the bass viol was the instrument of choice for royalty, nobility and haute-bougeoisie, a large quantity of music must have been required and Rousseau in his Traité de Viole of 1687 (p.23) is clear about Hotman's influence in this:
La tendresse de son Jeu venoit de ces beaux coups d’archet qu’il amimoit, & qu’il adoucissoit avec tant d’adresse & si à propos, qu’il charmoit tous ceux qui l’entendoient, & c’est ce qui a commencé à donner la perfection à la viole, & à la faire estimer preferablement à tous les autres Instruments. The tenderness of his playing came from those beautiful bowstrokes which he animated or softened with such skill and so appropriately that he charmed all those who heard him. And it was this which started to bring the viol to perfection and which caused it to be admired more than any other instrument.
Rousseau prefaces these remarks by a description of how André Maugar's English divisions technique gave way to Hotman's new more melodic French way with its two contrasting styles of Jeu d'Harmonie and Jeu de Melodie (chordal and melodic playing).
“The first to excel on the viol in France were Messieurs MAUGARD & HOTMAN, who were equally admirable, even though their characters were quite different; for the former had such imagination and skill, that on being given a theme of five or six notes he could immediately use it in an unlimited number of different manners so as to exhaust all the possibilites of both chordal treatment and divisions; and the latter was the first to compose proper Pieces d'Harmonie on the viol, to write beautiful melodies and to imitate the voice, so that one could often admire him more in the performance of a little melody than in those pieces which were more richly worked or more contrapuntal.”
The list of young females at court in Versailles who played the viol easily runs into double figures, some apparently (like Louis XV's daughter Henriette) able to compete with the professionals. The important composers for the solo suite are Nicholas Hotman, Le Sieur Dubuisson, De Machy and Jean de Sainte-Colombe, with supporting roles played by foreigners like Young, Hacquart and Kühnel. And presumably many other French (Maugars, Mersenne, Alarius?) and foreign players (Huygens, Gärtner, Rowe,?) would have composed suites which have not come down to us. Nicholas Hotman, born in Brussels around 1615 was both lutanist and viol player. He was part of the Duc d’Orléans’ music establishment from 1655 and subsequently at court. He died in 1663 and his are the first surviving suites for bass instrument with the classical core of allemande, courante, sarabande, gigue. The F major suite in the Bodleian Library (MS.Mus.Sch F.594 pp 16-19) is a particularly fine example of this new classical style. He taught both de Machy and Sainte-Colombe.
Le Sieur Dubuisson (? - 1688) left well over a hundred compositions for unaccompanied bass viol. These are found in six manuscripts of French, English, Dutch, and German provenance in libraries throughout Europe and the United States. The earliest is from 1666 (Washington, DC., Library of Congress Ms M2.1.T2.17C.Case ) and contains four suites in staff notation and two pieces in tabulature. Each of these suites comprise the sequence prelude-allemande-courante-sarabande-gigue, the earliest French source consistently to add a prelude.
Monsieur DeMachy’s dates are unknown but he was active in the 1680s and 90s. His Pieces de Violle of 1685 were, as he states on the title page, les premiers qui jusques à present ayent paru au jour (the first viol pieces ever to appear in print), which is true for France. The collection contains four suites in staff notation and four in tabulature, which all contain the classical movements preceded by a prelude and finishing (after the gigue) with a menuet and gavotte. Only no.4 in G ends with a chaconne. If some of the manuscripts give rise to questions about the order and content of suites, DeMachy’s print is an authoritative statement of how he at least expected them be laid out. DeMachy was born in Abbéville in the Somme and was one of the violists at the court of Louis XIV. In the 1680s he got involved in a dispute with Rousseau about the the precise position of the left hand. His contention is that the thumb should be held directly opposite the first finger. Most other writers of treatises (Loulié, Danonville and Rousseau, who also criticises deMachy’s Jeu’d’harmonie style) would have the thumb opposite the second finger. It looks as if he was defending an earlier more lute-like hand position and that others were moving towards the "square" eighteenth century grip, which was taken up by cellists. The great Marais makes a remark in the preface of his Pièces à une et deux Violes of 1686 which is perhaps intended to set him above such petty quarrels.
“The numbers indicate the finger to be used, and although they are designed to work with the hand position presently in use, those who are used to another are not obliged to attempt this new manner.”
Jean de Sainte-Colombe's family came from the predominantly protestant Béarne region in the Pyrenées-Atlantiques. In theory the Edict of Nantes promulgated by Henry IV in 1598 guaranteed freedom of confession in France in perpetuity. However by
the 1680s life for non-Catholics was getting progressivley more restrictive with court appointments all but barred. It is thought that the reactionary Madame de Maintenon, who married Louis XIV in a morgantic ceremony in 1683 was largely resposible for persuading her new husband to repeal the Edict, causing large-scale emigration of Huguenots to England, Berlin, and Canada. It is perhaps for this reason that we know very little about him except that he is credited by Rousseau with the addition of the seventh string, that he taught Marais (who was caught listening to him practising in his garden shed), and that he gave concerts with his daughters. He left sixty-seven Concerts à Deux Violes Esgales, and some hundred and forty solo pieces grouped usually by key. These can of course be assembled into suites but the intention is not clear. The tradition started by these four central figures continues into the first years of the eighteenth century in solo pieces by Mr. de Ste. Colombe Le Fils, Johann Schenk and Carolus Hacquart.
We have seen how the solo suite for bass viol transforms seamlessly into the suite with continuo but there is another significant after-life of this repertoire in the cello suites of JS Bach with the gambist and diplomat Ernst Christian Hesse (1676-1762) as a key figure in this development. Hesse was born in the Thuringian town of Grossengottern and spent his school years at Langensalza and Eisenach. It is possible that a youthful Bach, though nine years Hesse's junior, might have met him or heard him play there. Ernst Christian was destined to study law but Landgraf Ernst Ludwig of Hesse-Darmstadt heard him play and immediately offered him an administrative post at court, presumably a sinecure. He was allowed to finish his law studies in Gießen and on his return to court was made war secretary, obtaining leave of absence for three years (1698-1701) to perfect his gamba playing in Paris. There, the story according to Marpurg goes, he studied with both Marin Marais and Antoine Forqueray who each boasted of their talented pupil until the ruse was discovered. In 1705 he journeyed to Hamburg , where he met Handel and Mattheson, in 1706 to Holland and England, settling in 1707 as Kapelldirektor in Darmstadt. In 1708 we find him in Venice, where he met Vivaldi, subsequently moving to Rome where he once again encountered Handel who probably wrote the obbligato parts in La Resurezzione and Tra le Fiamme for him there. He played at court in Dresden in 1709 and in Vienna in 1710 before returning to Darmstadt, where he remained for the rest of his life except for one trip to Dresden. It is not fanciful to conjecture that apart from many pieces in manuscript he might have collected, the following publications might have found their way from France to Saxony in his luggage: Marais, Book I 1686 & Book II 1701; De Machy, 1685; Jacques Morel, 1709. And his purchases in Amsterdam might well have included Schenk’s Tyd en Konst Oeffenignen Op.2 of 1688, and the undated Scherzi Musicale Op. 6, Le nymphe di Rheno Op.8, and L’ Echo du Danube Op. 9, all of which appeared before 1706, as well as Hacquart’s twelve French suites of 1701. Even if he had none of these prints with him he must have taken the mind-set and forms of the French style back to Germany in his head and fingers. And as a further example of such cosmopolitain intercourse we can mention the gambist Johann Christian Hertel (or Hextel) (1699-1754 ), who chose to study with Hesse in Damstadt rather than with one of the maîtres de viole in Paris. He was active at court in Eisenach from 1718, met Bach at Köthen in 1719 and visited him again in Liepzig in 1726. It is inconceivable that he would not have learnt the French style from Hesse nor that Bach would not have informed himself about the latest developments in French music. Are the cello suites the result of these meetings?
A CD of suites by Nicholas Hotman and others performed by Charles Medlam on an English bass viol from about 1680 which has had the seventh string added for the French repertoire is reviewed above.
The Background to the Werner Icking Viol Music Library
When I first started playing viols in 1964, I was struck by the scarcity of music parts to play from. About the only source was in the SP publications of the VdGS-UK. Music was available in Musica Britannica, but it was all in scores and each player needed the whole volume – a rather expensive proposition. I soon made arrangements with Gordon Dodd, the editor of the SP series, that, instead of sending me the usual copies, he would send Ozalid masters so that I could reproduce copies and provide them at cost in the US. It was just on a private, non-commercial level.
I soon discovered sources for microfilm copies of some 16th and 17th century manuscripts and acquired a number of them. I obtained a microfilm projector and at first, transcribed parts from the microfilms onto Ozalid masters. Then when photocopy machines became available, I was able to make just ordinary copies to reproduce parts from.
In the mid 1970's I acquired a computer; one I had to solder together myself. Since there were no music editing programs available then, I coded my own. It was in the Forth language and very simplistic; it did only the essential functions that I needed to make viol parts. I could make only single voice parts, but I used my own version of entering notes and other symbols and of spacing the notes on the page. I gradually added features such as “one-click” transposing, making scores and MIDI files and clef changing to any clef. And I am still using this program today. The entry method allows me to enter the notes rapidly so that the main speed limitations are in deciphering the manuscripts I am reading from.
Later when computer CD-ROMs became available I passed my copies around on them, and now have welcomed the opportunity to make the material more widely available on the internet for all to enjoy.
In addition to providing parts and scores in printable .pdf format, I have also used the Personal Computer program for presentation of the scores and have included a .pc version for each score. This has an additional advantage in that the program easily allows much more complete control of the playback by computer or MIDI instrument than any other program I know. It allows changing tempo, and instrumentation, volume, and even clef, selectively for each voice. It is all too seldom that players can regularly assemble enough viol players to play five and six part pieces. By playing these on the computer and reading the scores on the computer screen, or perhaps a TV set, while they are being played, small groups can comfortably play these pieces, with the computer filling in the missing parts. Or, as was not unusual in the 17th century, the organ can also be used to support the voices of those playing. This is perfectly possible using the demo version of the Personal Computer program which is freely downloadable from the web site www.pcomposer.com. Selecting an appropriate tempo allows a “Music Minus One” type of playing at any skill level.
I have continued transcribing parts from the microfilms and other sources sporadically for the past forty years and as you see, have accumulated quite a collection. My goal was to make parts available in modern notation for viol players to play from and not necessarily to make scholarly researched versions. If a version was adequate for 17th century players to use, it was good enough for me in the 21st century. I have also continued many of the spelling variations abundant at that time in the composers names. That seems to add a 17th century “aura” to the pieces.
On a personal note: I retired as a Commander after 24 years in the US Navy, having served principally in electronics, radar, and ship operations. I then obtained a Bachelor of Music degree in Music History and Literature with organ as my principal instrument. Subsequently I worked as a computer programmer for 16 years, and I now live in a retirement community just outside of Washington, DC., spending much of my time teaching seniors to use computers. I play treble, tenor, or bass viol, and flute with several local groups in the area – for enjoyment, not for performance.
Technical Tip – Viol Rules
It is now over a year since Alison Crum's new book came out with her 'little rules'. I thought it might be timely to remind ourselves of these little rules:
Viols on the Web
The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP), also known as the Petrucci Music Library after Ottaviano Petrucci, is a project for the creation of a virtual library of public domain music scores, based on the wiki principle. Since its launch on February 16, 2006, over 76,000 scores and 1,000 recordings, for over 30,000 works, by over 4,000 composers have been uploaded, making it allegedly the largest public domain music score collection on the web. The project uses MediaWiki software to provide contributors with a familiar interface. Since 6 June 2010, IMSLP has also included public domain and licenced recordings in its scope, to allow for study by ear. This is a terrific resource mainly pdf files of scanned in original publications (facsimiles). As such many are difficult to read. Also while for example the complete works of Bach are there, there is no a lot of viol music.
The Viola da Gamba Society of America (http://vdgsa.org) has some most useful teaching videos some recently added are:
Also Martha Bishop's editions of Jenkins music now includes all the 4 part fantasies as well as the 5 and 6 part ones. You can now download all the parts and score for each categories in a single file.
There is also a detailed page on viol care which goes through the various parts of the viol which require maintenance – frets, pegs, strings, bow etc.
Finally check out the Viol Whimsies!
News from the UK
Clifford Bartlett has for several decades made a significant impact on the British musical scene. His invaluable editions published under the imprint King's Music are widely used and have brought about a public awareness of the richness of early music that would not otherwise have been achieved. Many consult him as an informal fount of information. He has also been active in The International Association of Music Libraries, The Early Music CentrelNetwork, The Viola da Gamba Society, The National Early Music Association and The Eastern Early Music Forum.
Now, along with a local estate agent, he has become the victim of a callous fraud by two unscrupulous and dishonest photocopier salesmen that has forced him into bankruptcy, into relinquishing the business, and losing a property that was intended to provide long-term security for his two mentally and physically disabled children Clare and John. Their future when Clifford and Elaine are no longer able to care from them is now uncertain. The family home also is in jeopardy.
The fraud related to contracts concerning the hire of photocopying equipment over five years (or more) and the two men are currently facing criminal charges in the Crown Court. Because the primary claimants in the case are the companies which leased the copiers, it is clear that Clifford and Elaine are likely to receive only minimal, if any, compensation.
The plan is to seek to raise £75,000 which, although it represents only a proportion of the family's losses, will help secure the future of his two children. Clifford has given so much to musicians, scholars and audiences - would you be willing to give something back?
Donations, made payable to Clifford Bartlett Appeal, may be sent to the Appeal Secretary, Nick Fisher, at Providence House, High Street, Northleach, Gloucestershire, GL54 3EU or direct to NatWest Bank, 121 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4DD, sort number 60-70-03 and account number 50229613. (If your account is in Europe you will need to quote the IBAN GB10NWBK60700350229613 and SWIFTIBIC NWBKGB2L)
New Publications and News from Saraband Music
Not a lot to report:
Lee Inman's "Three Latin Pieces" for viol quintet (treble, 2 tenors, 2 basses) includes a slow movement recalling the music of Galicia, placed between two dance movements, Tango, and Gamba Rumba Rondo: Party Time Series No. 4; Score & parts: $16.00
and a reminder from the last newsletter:
The Six Fantasias of Thomas Brewer (b. 1611), for viol quartet (2 trebles, tenor [or bass] and bass; organ ad lib.) are published for the first time in this edition by Virginia Brookes: VC078, Score and parts: $30.00.
CMP 492 - MUSICK ffor seaverall ffreindlie Basses. Matthew Locke. Score and parts £7.50
Duets for two bass viols (or for tenor and bass) arranged from Locke's collection of 'Musick ffor seaverall ffreinds'. There are four suites of dances and fantasies - G min/maj, B flat, D min/maj, E minor. The upper part is in alto clef and fits on a tenor viol as well as on a bass. A continuo can be realised from the score. The upper part is also shown in treble clef on the score if treble players wish to use the part.
CMP 446 - LES NOUVEAUTES de CAIX : Book 1 - Louis de Caix d'Hervelois £4.25
Suite for bass viol and continuo by Louis de Caix d'Hervelois transcribed and edited by Ian Gammie from the Pieces de Flute Traversiere. Part of the French Music for Viols Series. Score and parts with a keyboard continuo realisation.
CMP 459 - SONATE L'INCONNUE by M. de la Barre, arranged for bass viol and continuo (or two bass viols) £3.75
Arranged from a flute piece (1710), this makes an outstanding bass viol sonata in four movements, ending with an extensive Chaconne. The continuo part also has a soloistic role. Editorial continuo part available as an option to figured bass. Score and parts.
Four Songs of sadnesses for voice and viol quartet by Thomas Greeves (fl 1604) edited by Martin Grayson:
When I behold, Man First Created Was, Who Keeps in Compass his Desires and Let Dread of Pain. Parts for soprano solo voice with treble, tenor and bass viols.
Also edited by Martin Grayson for treble 2 tenors and bass viol music by Antonio de Cabezón (1510-1566): Differencias sobre la Pavana Italiana, Tiento del Sexto Tono con primera y segunda parte and Tiento Sobre Cum Sancto Spiritu.
Finally don't forget to check out the vast collection of viol consort music arranged by Folop (see background article elsewhere in this newsletter).
The first six sonatas of the Duplex Genius collection by Johann Christoph Pez are available, four of them are First Editions: G191.
The Gamba Concerto in C major by J. G. Graun, the only source of which is in the archive of the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin, is now published as First Edition: G166.
The well-known Sonata in C major for viola da gamba and harpsichord by Handel is now available in an edition based on a relatively unknown manuscript: Concerto à Cembalo Solo con Viola di Gambe o Braccio G189.
The second act of the opera Les Surprises de l'Amour by Rameau/Hesse for two viols is available. The title is La Lyre enchantée G169.
Saraband Music by Patrice Connelly
Well, we’ve finally moved to Stony Creek. The house is almost finished, and the builders are working around my teaching schedule. The view from the music room is of some magnificent gum trees beyond the orchard (or what will be the orchard …) and the neighbour’s goats browsing on the hill. Chris Twidle has fixed the structural problem with my 7 string bass viol (which several other makers only made worse), so I hope to resume playing as well as attracting more gamba students.
The Saraband Music office is now separate and looks out towards Glasshouse Mountains, over rolling hills with cows grazing peacefully. I haven’t quite had time to publish any more items yet, but hope to resume soon.
On 20th November, I will be going to Maleny where Chris and Rose Twidle are hosting a viol tryout for me. I’m also planning to do one in Brisbane in coming months.
Chris has nearly completed two more treble viols which will be for sale soon. His first treble is a lovely instrument, and is available now for $3200 for case and treble. A bow can also be supplied.
Saraband Music’s new address is 63 Eaton Lane, Stony Creek QLD 4514. Phone: 07 5496 3439.
Music Review – Ford: Musicke of Sundrie Kindes for voices and viols
The voices and viols project explores many varieties of music for voices and viols. One would expect that the works of the English Lutenist songwriters, apt for viols and voices would comprise a significant part of our explorations. Yet a single Campion ayre in October 2008 was our last experience of this repertoire until we revisited the Dowland songbooks in April 2010. It was fortunate that a review copy of came our way of the Ten Aires of Thomas Ford by the publisher Oriana Music of Austria. Although this publisher has been going for several years and this publication is dated 2005, it is new to Saraband music and probably to many members of the society.
Some performance parts of this repertoire are available from other publishers such as Corda. Many volumes, including the Ford are also available as facsimiles which may be photocopied as may the old editions of Dr E.Fellowes (1921). The facsimile parts in tablebook format are useful for some of the voices, but many voices are written in soprano and mezzo soprano clef. It takes a lot of work to white-out staff lines, rule in others and perhaps supply bar-lines. Nevertheless it is great fun for all involved and rewarding for the accessibilizer to place such copy on a small table and have the lute and viols sit around it with singers crowding our bowing-arms and thus to perform such works as in days of yore.
It is with this background that we can evaluate the luxurious modern edition presented by Oriana. The edition comprises all the material one could possibly need. There is a full score of all four vocal parts plus the lute tablature. The inner voices of the vocal quartet appear here in alto clef. There are four part books, employing the customary clefs for viols (uniform with the score). There is a lute book with large very clear lute tablature together with the soprano part. Additionally vocal scores are available in sets of four; these are in the customary clefs for a mixed vocal quartet and unlike the full score, all the verses of the songs are underlayed to every voice. The parts are clear and legible. The spacing between the top and bottom staff line is 6.5 mm whereas for example the Corda “Songs of Melancholy” are 6.4 mm the Faber Lawes is 6.3. At 5.8mm the LPM Holborne is too small. While the Deus qui Beatum Marcum (Gabrieli) of LPM is 7.5 mm as are some PRBs such as the Gesualdo madrigals VC050. Although only 0.1 mm bigger than the Corda, the paper used by Oriana is of a higher quality making the print appear clearer. There is no pianoforte part or an explication of the tablature, but such are quite unnecessary. I find full scores unnecessary in performance. In the notes to the editorial method, the editor, Richard Carter state that the full score follows the source most closely (which it does) yet it would have been better if the parts had been more practical like the vocal score.
There is no doubt that this is a good and useful edition. The Voices & Viols group was well satisfied with it over two sessions. But is it quirky? One should be circumspect in labelling an edition quirky if the quirkiness is inherent in the genre or the composer. Ones first inkling of quirkiness is the title page; rather than reproducing the original title page in facsimile, they have reset it by modern techniques, dropping in here and there a few miscellaneous typefaces to make it resemble the original. This is spoiled somewhat by their not choosing a typeface in which the 3,4,5,7 & 9 descend below the line. So what are we to make of Ford’s instruction in the original edition “When you sing alone to the Basse, such notes as are broken or divided by reason of the words, must be sung or plaide in one stroke according to this direction:” there follows musical notation in the bass clef of a dotted minim G followed by two quaver Gs of the same pitch all subsumed under a wavy tie symbol. Ford is simply giving the bass viol player licence to simplify the vocal rhythms. The Oriana edition is careful to reproduce all of Ford’s performance information; in addition there are four pages of punctilious critical commentary both in English and German with evidence that they have weeded several mistakes out of the tablature (also spotted by Fellowes).
Ford wrote slurs or ties over notes of the same pitch only in the bass part; but the editor has taken it upon himself to invent similar ties on the inner parts also. All of these ties caused confusion and time-wasting during the first V&V session. Some participants trained in modern string technique took them for bowing slurs (that is, the vocal rhythm articulated under the same direction of bow stroke) which was not intended either by Ford or his modern editor. Some players habitually simplify the rhythm when supporting a vocal part; one feels the ties are a distraction. Fortunately this feature is unique to Ford; it is unlikely to occur in any other Oriana edition.
From the title page we read that the volume “Musicke of Sundrie Kindes” consists of two books. The present edition OM106 represents only the ten airs for four voices from the first book, without the dialogue for two voices and two bass viols. Ford states that the ayres for four voices are to the lute, orphorion or bass viol. Note that participation of treble and tenor viols is not specifically mandated. However, other lutenist-songwriter publications of the period do allow participation of viols. The clef differences which are today a bit of a barrier between some singers and their equivalent viol did not exist in the period. Voice and viol sang from the same part and the same clef. There were no vocal scores, and in the Ford publication, there were bar-lines to synchronize the soprano part with the lute but otherwise no bar-lines in the parts except to mark sections.
The parts are without bar-lines. This did not cause any problem in either of the V&V sessions. Curiously, however, the parts of “Since first I saw your face” and “There is a ladie” begin with a minim and a crochet rest as if they were regularly barred, but again this is in the original print. The normal way to perform the first strain would be to repeat from the last ¾ of a bar immediately back to the first note of the air (a crochet). Unfortunately, this expectation is disturbed by the initial rests. So, in the parts, the modern edition should have placed a repeat bar after the initial rests or written the repeat out in full, otherwise there is again confusion as we experienced in the first V&V session. The bass part is especially confusing, faithfully following the original edition, its last minim needs to be shortened to a crochet the first time, as in the modern vocal score. The group is used to performing from facsimile (albeit with a bar-line-added version available) so that one rapidly accepts it on its own terms and makes allowance for missing repeat signs and mathematical imprecision. However with a bright clean modern edition one expects that the whole edition will be uniform and that all repeat schemes will work. The problem does not occur in the vocal score because the repeats of the strains are written out, but it is found in the parts, the lute-book and the full score. The economy of the original is such that where a strain is underlayed with two sets of words, a repeat sign would be superfluous. Where a strain is to be repeated to the same words, a small signum (s) is used.
The nice illuminated capitals in the parts and the lute book were not perplexing to V&V people because we had encountered them previously in facsimile. Some features of this modern edition including dots after the bar line in the lute book, although perhaps a little annoying to some would therefore be useful in preparing people to read from facsimile.
Such minor quibbles aside, the V&V group enjoyed the four Ford pieces we read from the Oriana edition. On the 28th of August we did “There is a ladie” and “Now I see thy lookes were feigned”. That was the weekend after the federal election and it was still unclear who would become Prime Minister. We remembered the occasion in 1963 when Robert Gordon Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia quoted from this work, and how many years later Paul Keating acted out a verse from “Since first I saw your face” by straying a touch of the same lady. Ford’s poet was Barnabe Googe, d 1594 one of the old-school, not much influenced by the Italian vogue. On the 9th of October we read “Since first” and “What then is love”; there is a slight contrast in style between these pieces. “Since first” is strictly homophonic whereas “What then is love” allows a degree of rhythmic freedom nevertheless constrained within the bar. V&V will continue to explore the more contrapuntal pieces such as “Goe passions” which has a deliberately misaligned repeat scheme in the final strain, this is reproduced in the full score, but fortunately, in this case, the parts and the vocal score are uniform.
In our study of two Dowland works in April and August “All ye whom love or fortune hath betray’d” and “Away with these self loving lads” we found the contrast to be much greater, as Patricia Brown has written (Musicology III pp 25-26, 1968-69) “The first….serious emotional songs which are characterised by an extended and often asymmetrical vocal line and a predominantly contrapuntal accompaniment. In these the metre of the vocal line arises naturally from the speech rhythm of the text.” “The other…..homophonic, lighter in character with melodies based on a particular phrase or rhythmic pattern”. As to the quality of the ten aires, although superior to the dialogue in the estimation of Fellowes, many of them are of insignificant worth. A pretty, catchy tune, “Now I see thy looks were feigned” is so barren of counterpoint that R. Thurston Dart was moved to recompose an inner part for his edition of Volume 1 in the series ”Invitation to Madrigals” S&B London 1961. “Since first I saw your face”, another memorable tune is frequently sung with improved harmony and counterpoint of the supporting parts.
And what of the rest of Ford’s opus? Fortunately there are several editions of the lyra viol duets to entertain members, for example in Martha Bishop’s anthology Tab for Two. These are all written “liera way” (bandora sette). Who could forget “The Wild Goose Chase” or “A Pill to Purge Melancholie”? All these pieces have been recorded by the Alchemy ensemble Amarilli CD AM-EBU-01
And the remaining number, a dialogue: “Shut not sweet brest / Flie not deer hart” I have not been able to discover a modern edition. Dr Fellowes dismissed it as not reaching the quality of the ten aires and did not print it. Perhaps the words were too raunchy for him, but more likely an accompaniment arranged for two pianofortes would have seemed incongruous even in 1921. Fortunately, the facsimile is quite legible, so this item will be aired at V&V in 2011. In the meantime you can judge the quality yourself, Decca has just reissued “Amorous Dialogues” 480 4144 (recorded 1979) on the cheap Eloquence label. My copy came from Michael’s Music Room; they have several more on their shelves. Emma Kirkby and Martyn Hill are the lovers with Trevor Jones and Alison Crum playing the two bass viols in chordal style. Note that in contrast to the liera duets, the viols are tuned normally, or as Ford writes “tunde the Lute way”. Ford also wrote regular viol fancies which many of us have played; they were not part of Musicke of Sundrie Kindes, his only printed work.
Other works studied in the last few V&V sessions have been Thomas Tomkins’ anthem “Thou art my King, O God”, “Don’t vient cela” by Thomas Crecquillon, a canon at the 2nd or the 7th (one of Byrd’s fancies is such a canon); this was read in facsimile as was the first Penitential Psalm à5 of Lassus. We also did the same psalm in 7 parts by Marenzio. Some consort songs, a vocal in-nomine and a Cry of London (also an in-nomine). The Lassus psalm to the word “Laboravi” is the first exact antecedent of the Lachrimae tune in the literature. Hispanic music included a Vasquez villancico, a 16th century Guatemalan psalm and the “Circumdederunt me” of Morales glossed by Ortiz. “O voi che sospirate” an enharmonic madrigal by Marenzio which had been reworked as a viol piece by Lupo. And the inspiration of “Pastime with Good Company”, by Richafort: “De mon triste et desplaisir” a much more polished and sophisticated work which sounded better and rehearsed easier than the parody. The final session of the year will include a Christmas verse anthem by Amner and a Carowle also in 6 parts by Byrd, and “This is the Record of John” by Gibbons in an edition by Ruth Kelly.
Thanks to Patrice of Saraband Music for providing the review copy. Her website lists Oriana publications such as Birds Lullaby, Lessons for 3 lyras by Lawes and Taylor, duos by Philidor and other French duets, several books of easy pieces and works by B. Praetorius, Vecchi, Albarti, Holmes, Ortiz, Carlton, Kirbye, Hunt, Wilbye and Weelkes.
Thanks to Clive Lane, Tenor viol and Bass singer for sharing his observations which have been incorporated into this article.
Thanks also to Dr Bernard Williams, V&V’s patient lutenist. It was charming to hear one reading of the Ford Aires with the lady singers of V&V accompanied only by Bernie. Bernie’s lute was also heard in the Dowland songs including “Flow my tears”, the famous Lachrimae, in two recent sessions. At other times Bernie accompanies us on theorbo.
|Last Updated on Saturday, 12 March 2011 09:37|