Author Topic: The Early Music Club (EMC)  (Read 196185 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #1200 on: August 08, 2018, 07:44:56 PM »


Ensemble Beautus are an all male quartet based in Limousin. I’d say the sound they make is richer than Orlando Consort,  more chocolate and plum They let the music breath and they know how to perform expressively. I like the above very much, a good selection. Mostly a capella, the occasional instrument.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 07:52:16 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #1201 on: August 12, 2018, 07:19:45 AM »
I’ve been listening to Ludus Danielis today, starting with Clemencic (which for me is spoilt by long periods of narration in a language I don’t understand) Anyway this one from The Harp Consort seems to me to be a real knockout: refined and heartfelt singing, subtle and tasteful instruments,  not specially Eastern sounding - characterful without being alien.

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #1202 on: August 14, 2018, 07:18:36 AM »
Interesting essay covering drama and use of instruments in liturgy, taken from the booklet for this CD




Quote
Mysterium Passionis et Resurrectionis Festum Sanctissim(a)e Pasch(a)e ANGELO SONVICO
What moved some of the clergy of the High Mid-dle Ages, in contrast with a Christian tradition that was so hostile to all forms of spectacle and mimic performance, to introduce dramatic representation into the liturgy of the church?

According to traditional theory "the birth of medieval sacred theatre is seen as being in harmo-ny with the evolution of religious spirituality ex-pressed in other spheres of contemporary life". Thus it was that the clergy of the Middle Ages, interpret-ing the new requirements and sensibility of the faith-ful of their time, created the first, rudimentary performances to insert into the Easter Vigil - and later the Christmas mass too - in order to offer a clearer explanation of the Scriptures.

Perhaps, as Johann Drumbl maintains, in a hypothe-sis that conflicts with the one above, "Latin sacred drama was born with the distinctive characteristic of the elitist ceremony in the context of a religious culture that was already projected towards popular forms, with which it was therefore in conflict, proffering values and meanings that had been (or were being) rendered obsolete by trends of religious spirituality and private and popular devotion". "Dramaturgy" thus arises as a cultural reality - in Latin, which was clearly not the language of the un-educated populace - within the restricted circle of a great Benedictine monastery.

Basing our observations strictly on surviving chroni-cles, we note that the progressive dramatisation which was to produce the so-called medieval litur-gical drama developed within the liturgy of the Church, in the celebration of various liturgical areas, as an extension of the functions of Holy Week and Easter, which in themselves were already so theatri-cal and choreographic - we refer, for example, to the procession of the palms, the washing of the feet, the dialogue between Christ and his persecutors and to the custom of distributing parts of the Gospel among various readers in dialogue form which prob-ably existed from the sixth century. The kernel from which all these dramatic extensions developed is the famous trope of the Easter Introit "Quem queritis in sepulchro o christicole? Jesum nazarenum crucifi-xum o coelicole", dating back to about 920.

In this dialogue the Angels (coelicole) ask the pi-ous women (christicole) why they have come to the tomb of the now-risen Christ. Various antiphons that were already part of the Easter office followed this "dramatic project" to build up a short scene. Later on numerous, new and increasingly extensive versions were added, and additional characters ap-peared alongside the Angel and the Marys. Dramas began to go beyond the Easter liturgy and find inspiration in other biblical episodes - the "Lu-dus Danielis" of ca. 1140, for example, tells the sto-ry of the prophet Daniel, the Drama of Herod dating from the twelfth century, set in the period of Epiphany, or the "Sponsus" of the twelfth and thirteenth century which relates the parable of the wise and the foolish virgins. The behaviour of the characters was initially solemn but then became more realistic and sentimental, reflecting the every-day life of the people of the time. In their human aspects Mary and Elizabeth corresponded to the women of the time; Joseph was the village carpenter, and the shepherds who came to the manger were the same shepherds as watched over the flocks that grazed near the cathedral.

The divine office became a tableau vivant in which - in the twelfth century at least, as a factor of the growth of centres of population, the evolution of so-cial life and, above all, the preponderant position that the Cathedral assumed in the life of a town -we can easily imagine the real participation of the faithful in the performance as a genuine "actio sacra", to which a final hymn, "Te Deum" or "Mag-nificat", was often added. This visual and figurative spectacle thus served to nourish and increase their faith.

These dramas were born within the liturgy and as an integral part of the divine office, and originally performed only on the annual occasion of the mys-tery that was being celebrated, but gradually they began to step outside their strictly liturgical confines. Parts were added "ex novo" to the texts, and the additions were increasingly less pertinent to the cult itself, so that often a mixture of the sacred and the profane was achieved. The vulgate began to appear in alternation with Latin, and eventually replaced it. Actors had been restricted to the clergy - and general prescriptions had female parts interpreted by men - but they were replaced by lay people, and the action, which had been set within the church on the altar, moved to the space outside the church and then into the public square. In the fourteenth century the drama evolved into various forms of sacred representations, Mysteries and Miracle plays. The most complex forms of liturgical drama, com-posed between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, are documented principally in French manuscripts. Yet one of the most precious testimonies of the litur-gical drama of the Passion is of Italian origin, con-tained in a processional drama of the fourteenth century from Cividale, in Friuli. Using the codices I and II of the Cividale manuscript a historically true programme has been reconstructed for this recording: a selection of some of the characteristic parts of the Easter liturgy, recreated by blending liturgical texts (manuscript CII) with the new dra-matic additions of manuscript CI. Analysis of the few surviving Latin medieval Passions shows that the heart of the drama is provided by the "plane-tus". The "lamentum" or "planctus" are extralitur-gical components, generally in verse form, written as a lament for a deceased person. In sacred form they were used, from the tenth century on, principal-ly to represent the feelings of the Virgin and of those who, according to the Gospel, wept at the foot of the cross. The CI Cividale manuscript includes the Holy Mother (Maria Major), Saint John Evangelist (Johannes), Maria Jacobi (mother of James Minor), Maria Salome (mother of the apostles James and John) and Mary Magdalene (the converted sinner). The latter had a particular function within the pan-theon of saints represented in Passion plays in gener-al. Her radical shift in life-style, from sinner to saint, stood as a moral example to the congregation of the faithful. In Carmina Burana the effect of this con-version is reinforced by the introduction of a Di-/ abolus and an Angelus, personifying the evil and good intentions to which Mary Magdalene was exposed.

In the group of pious women, the most sublime figure, statuesque in her immense sorrow, is of course Mary, the Virgin Mother.
In the 125 verses we have from the Cividale "planc-tus", we also find, though only as scenic figures and not in the sung part, an Angel and Christ on the Cross.

The music, written on a four-line musical stave, ac-cording to Pier Paolo Menis, "drawn from the litur-gical material of Gregorian melodies, is certainly the work of an anonymous local composer who undoubt-edly possessed remarkable artistic capabilities: one need only observe the variety of phrasing, the natur-al quality of the exclamations, all tending to serve the drama and reaching moments of intense religious and human

." Gregorian influence is to be seen in modality and tone which clearly recall the atmosphere of the authentic and plagal modes. The similarity of certain intonations to the typical intonation of Gregorian Mode I, F-G-A (A being more or less the reciting note), is quite marked - for example in the strophes: "Munda cam mundo" (Maria Jacobi), "Cur memore deficis" (the two Mary), "0 vos omnes" (Mother Mary) - often followed by the median cadence B flat-A- G-A. Equally typical of the mode is the cadence formula D-E-F- E-D-C-D which we find in numer-ous pieces on the last word of the verse - "Rex celes-tis ... macula" (Johannes), "Flete fideles lacrimae" (Mother Mary).

 At the same time, the presence of elements of mo-dal evolution - listen to the melody of the verse "Consolare domina" (Maria Salome) - and the sym-metrical musical phrase, modelled on the poetic verse, provide evidence of sensitivity to the coeval romanza and the form of lauds.

The Latin text seems to be homogenous, even though it is built of a miscellany of pre-existent pieces and others composed ad hoc. Of the 21 verses that make up the composition, ten are taken, with only minor alterations, from the thirteenth- centu-ry sequence "Flete fideles animae".

The verse "0 vos omnes" (Mother Mary) is a pas-sage taken from the "Lamentations" of the prophet Jeremiah which recurs frequently in the responso-ries of Holy Week.

 The phrase "Quis est hic qui non Beret" (Maria Salome) is taken from the sequence "Stabat Mater", attributed to Jacopone da Todi.

Among the particular characteristics of the manuscript we note an abundance of directions which explain in great detail the gestures, expres-sions and movements of the characters - hic sibi pectus percutiat..., hic salutat Mariam cum manibus tantum..., Mc tergat suas lacrimas..., Mc ostendat Christum..., hic ostendendo circumcircha et cum manibus ad oculos suos postea dicat... .

The ancient liturgical prescriptions, still respected today, which barred the use of any instrument, in-cluding bells, in the last three days of Holy Week, lead us to assume that the "planctus" did not have any instrumental accompaniment.

In the reconstruction of the complete Easter cycle on the basis of the Cividale codices, the "planctus" is set among other episodes, from the "Crucifixio" to the "Visitatio sepulchri".

Among the elements of the "Crucifixio", contained in the liturgical codex CII, particular interest is found in the replies "Hagios o Theos" to the "In-sults" - lamentations or reproaches of the prophet Micah, sung in turn by soloist and choir, with Gregorian melody of probable Gallic origin - sus-tained by the evocative harmonic atmosphere of the new, nascent musical sensibility.

In the section in "Mors Jhesu Christi Domini Nos-tri", also taken from codex CII, with reference to what the faithful were to do during the night serv-ice, at the moment of Christ's death naturalistic type noises are inserted, as prescribed by the liturgical rubric (Fragor et Strepitus) in a paraphrasis of the Gospels - ... and lo, the veil of the temple was rent asunder from top to bottom, the earth shook, rocks were split ...- . The text of the antiphon "Ecce quomodo moritur justus" is taken from Isaiah 53,7ff, also quoted in the Acts of the Apostles 8,32-33, which although it is a part of the respon-sories of Holy Saturday, was also sung on the evening of Good Friday.

 In this reconstruction of the Easter play, the "plane-tus" is followed by the antiphon "Sepulto Domino", just as it is found in the Cividale codex CII.

The third responsory sung during the night mass of Good Friday, within a particular rite, is the "Depositio Crucis", which became part of liturgi-cal custom towards the tenth century and fell into disuse in the eighteenth century. This rite consist-ed in the placing of the Cross, with or without a consecrated host, in a site outside the church, thus commemorating in more expressive manner the in-terment of the body of Christ by Joseph of Arimathea, assisted by the holy women.

The cross was then solemnly taken out of this "sepulchre" at dawn on Easter Sunday, thus representing the mystery of the resurrection. In the ritual of the church of Aquileja we find very elo-quent rubrics on this ceremony.

Next comes the episode of the "Resurrectio Domi-ni" with the antiphon "Christus resurgens ex mor-tuis" and the prose passage "Submersus iacet pharao", both contained in the codex CII. This par-ticularly interesting prose has often been ignored by scholars. It is a genuine polyphonic conductus which was used at the conclusion of the divine office, as a comment on the events that had been commemo-rated. The rhythmic-melodic structure of the com-position, codified in the manuscript of the fourteenth century, suggests that it dates back to the thirteenth century anc is therefore one of the few testimonies of Italian texts in various parts anterior to An Nova.

In the Cividale CI manuscript the Visitatio sepulchri is placed immediately after the planctus Mar-iae. These two episodes share a common poetic metre, common musical notation system and one common melodic piece, "Dum venissam ungere Dominum" - in the "Resurrection", repeated me-lodically three times - and "Mater Jesu crucifixi" - in the "planctus".

The Angel and Christ are now no longer merely scenic figures but have their own sung parts.

The dominant modality in this episode is once again the Protus. The intonation most frequently used re-minds us, in its essential structure, of the plagal mode C-D-F - for example, the verses "Quis revul-vet" (Tres Mariae), "Nolite metuere (Angelus), "0 Maria noli me tangere" (Jhesus).

Most of the final cadences - final note D with a rela-tionship of tension-relaxation A 1 D - lead us back to the authentic mode. The cardinal points of the episode of the Visitatio are the meeting of the three Marys with the Angel who announces "Tam surrex-it, non est hic" and Mary Magdalene's meeting with the risen Christ.

In order to underline the sudden annunciation of the Angel, "lam surrexit", the melody reaches the highest note in the entire episode; a note which we do not find in the similar melodic recapitulation of the phrase "... in Galileam ibitis" in the verse "Ite ad discipulos" sung by the Angel.

The choice of modality in the strophe "Venite et videte" (Angelus) is interesting. To give a more im-posing tone to the invitation made by the celestial messenger, the anonymous composer chooses the solemn Gregorian mode of Tetrardus.

In the episode of Magadalene's encounter with the risen Christ we reach the apex of dramatic intensi-ty when Mary recognises Christ. With part of the sequence of the "Victimas paschali" the choir con-cludes the representation and, as is clearly indicat-ed in the rubrics in the manuscript, returns to the sacresty in procession.

In the text of this sequence we find once again the phrase "Credendum est magis soli Marie veraci quam Judeorum turbe fallaci", an anti-Judaic phrase which was later removed.

Rarely have music and poetry attained such levels of intensity as in the evocation of Christ's passion and resurrection, exciting deep emotion in the soul of listeners, today as in its own time.
English translation by Timothy Alan Shaw
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Offline Que

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #1203 on: August 24, 2018, 11:03:18 AM »
I was just considering a disc by the Blue Heron ensemble, and then I came accross this scheduled reissue of their Peterhouse Partbooks series:


Q
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 11:06:08 AM by Que »
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Offline North Star

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #1204 on: August 24, 2018, 11:40:47 AM »
Ha! I was about to say I'll just wait for the box set to appear. But this is the box set. ;D I believe I'll be ordering a copy..
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #1205 on: August 24, 2018, 07:24:16 PM »
I was just considering a disc by the Blue Heron ensemble, and then I came accross this scheduled reissue of their Peterhouse Partbooks series:


Q

Let me know if you find anything interesting in there, I enjoyed the first recording of Marian hymns, the masses have had less of an impact on me so far.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 07:26:44 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #1206 on: September 06, 2018, 12:24:03 AM »
Here's a concert video from Sollazzo Ensemble. I saw them last week -- I hadn't heard of them before -- I thought it was really very special, the song at the end, I thik by Loyset Compère, was magic.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/nYjxQ4giHWg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/nYjxQ4giHWg</a>
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