Author Topic: The Troubadour Thread.  (Read 106 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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The Troubadour Thread.
« on: May 23, 2019, 05:15:37 AM »


A place to record any thoughts and feelings about troubadours, trouvères and other people of that ilk.

I'll start this exciting journey off by noting one of the things which makes it most exciting. As far as I know, we know very little, if anything, about rhythm, tempo, pitch, dynamic contrasts, embellishment expressive or otherwise, accompaniment, instruments, vocalisation, the number of singers who sang at the same time, or the vowel sounds they made, or their voices, whether it was sung inside, outside, in courts, in taverns, in brothels, in homes, in market places, in churches, at state occasions, at public executions,  whether it was sung loudly or quietly, whether it was danced, and so on and so forth ad infinitum.

As you can see there is a tremendous opportunity here for musicians to use their imaginations and make something new out of something very old.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 06:46:08 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2019, 05:25:49 AM »
And maybe to give us something to focus on, I'll kick it off my mentioning that I've been listening to this CD from Ensemble Celadon



whether you'll like it or not depends partly on how you will react to Paulin Bündgen's voice, he has a rather distinctive countertenor which I find fascinating at best. It also depends on whether you're predisposed to see this music as gaudy, loud and jaunty -- i.e. your preconceptions about rhythm and about accompaniment and about voice. Put it like this: Ensemble Celadon is the extreme polar opposite of gaudy, loud and jaunty, almost to a fault. But for my part I prefer it to err in that direction that the other.

Above all they are words first people, which I think is not a bad way to be at all:

Quote
As musicians, our greatest concern was to reflect the emotions that we had experienced
when we fi rst read these songs and poems. Real men and women of fl esh and blood are
described in these songs
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 05:29:21 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2019, 05:52:59 AM »
A place to record any thoughts and feelings about troubadours, trouvères and other people of that ilk.

I'll start this exciting journey off by noting one of the things which makes it most exciting. As far as I know, we know very little, if anything, about rhythm, tempo, pitch, dynamic contrasts, embellishment expressive or otherwise, accompaniment, instruments, vocalisation, the number of singers who sang at the same time, or the vowel sounds they made, or their voices, whether it was sung inside, outside, in courts, in taverns, in brothels, in homes, in market places, in churches, at state occasions, at public executions,  whether it was sung loudly or quietly, whether it was danced, and so on and so forth ad infinitum.

As you can see there is a tremendous opportunity here for musicians to use their imaginations and make something new out of something very old.

The corresponding Wikipedia article seems to be rather well-researched.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troubadour

This is certainly outside my comfort zone, but a few years ago I listened to this:



and I remember liking it quite a lot. You made me want to revisit it.

EDIT: I have a few other Alla Francesca recordings which I also like.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 06:16:56 AM by Florestan »
"Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part." - Claude Debussy

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2019, 06:33:29 AM »
The corresponding Wikipedia article seems to be rather well-researched.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troubadour

This is certainly outside my comfort zone, but a few years ago I listened to this:



and I remember liking it quite a lot. You made me want to revisit it.

EDIT: I have a few other Alla Francesca recordings which I also like.

It's outside my comfort zone too, despite having made a few forays into the world of troubadours before. Unlike  Minnesang which I feel very connected to emotionally, most of what I've heard of troubadour music really turns me off. I'm not sure why this should be, and I suspect that it's just a matter of finding singers who excite my imagination and CDs with a selection which appeals. Hence this little project to explore what's on record.

There are about 350 troubadour poems which have music associated with them, and for the couple of thousand poems without music, I know performers like to be creative about fining a suitable tune.  So there's a lot to chose from when you make a CD I guess.

Re Alla Francesca, I know I like much of what I've heard from Emmanuel Bonnardot. In fact, by coincidence, today I ordered this CD

« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 06:40:52 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2019, 06:51:22 AM »
It's outside my comfort zone too, despite having made a few forays into the world of troubadours before. Unlike  Minnesang which I feel very connected to emotionally, most of what I've heard of troubadour music really turns me off. I'm not sure why this should be

Isn't Minnesaenger just the German equivalent of the Occitan trobador? Apart form that, what is the difference between them? Are there two different styles? Please, don't tell me that the dichotomy "German - serious & profound" / "Italian - entertaining and pleasing"  manifested itself that early.  :D
"Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part." - Claude Debussy

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2019, 06:59:37 AM »
Isn't Minnesaenger just the German equivalent of the Occitan trobador? Apart form that, what is the difference between them? Are there two different styles? Please, don't tell me that the dichotomy "German - serious & profound" / "Italian - entertaining and pleasing"  manifested itself that early.  :D

I don't know, I don't have any sort of grip on the answers to those questions, or indeed on the style differences among the troubadours and troveres.

Given that so little is understood about the meaning of the music, maybe part of the problem is to do with stereotyping, we imagine the southern troubadour as being loud, passionate, even driven by sexual passion, the northern to be cooler, dispassionate and driven by divine passion. And this reflects itself in the sort of performances you get. North and South again.

Put it like this, no one would dream of singing the Minnesaenger like, for example Gérard Zuchetto and his band La Tròba present the troubadours (which to me sounds like music you might hear in a brothel in Istanbul), though I don't know if Zuchetto has any reason do do it like he does other than that's his whim.

In the same way, no-one would think of presenting Guiraut Riquier, for example, like Eberhard Kummer presents Wolkenstein.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 07:08:03 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Florestan

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2019, 07:12:37 AM »
we imagine the southern troubadour as being loud, passionate, even driven by sexual passion, the northern to be cooler, dispassionate and driven by divine passion. And this reflects itself in the sort of performances you get. North and South again.

Who is this "we"? And why should "we" assume that?

Quote
Put it like this, no one would dream of singing the Minnesaenger like, for example Gérard Zuchetto and his band La Tròba present the troubadours (which to me sounds like music you might hear in a brothel in Istanbul), though I don't know if Zuchetto has any reason do do it like he does other than that's his whim.

Funny, nay extremely funny, you should say this --- I have just got this (well, not exactly this, I meant volume 2, the image has volume 4):



 :D :D :D

Now, I've never visited any Istanbul brothel yet so I'll take your word on it. But then again, you wrote:

Quote
As far as I know, we know very little, if anything, about rhythm, tempo, pitch, dynamic contrasts, embellishment expressive or otherwise, accompaniment, instruments, vocalisation, the number of singers who sang at the same time, or the vowel sounds they made, or their voices, whether it was sung inside, outside, in courts, in taverns, in brothels, in homes, in market places, in churches, at state occasions, at public executions,  whether it was sung loudly or quietly, whether it was danced, and so on and so forth ad infinitum.

As you can see there is a tremendous opportunity here for musicians to use their imaginations and make something new out of something very old.

In light of all of the above, I ask you: what's wrong with Zuccheto?
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 07:18:06 AM by Florestan »
"Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part." - Claude Debussy

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2019, 08:00:14 AM »
Who is this "we"? And why should "we" assume that?

Funny, nay extremely funny, you should say this --- I have just got this (well, not exactly this, I meant volume 2, the image has volume 4):



 :D :D :D

Now, I've never visited any Istanbul brothel yet so I'll take your word on it. But then again, you wrote:

In light of all of the above, I ask you: what's wrong with Zuccheto?

I know Zuchheto slightly, or rather, we’ve corresponded,  he’s been in the Troubadour business for years and he’s very serious about making meaningful music out of it. It’s just that it’s not my cup of tea.

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Offline Florestan

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2019, 08:09:13 AM »
I know Zuchheto slightly, or rather, we’ve corresponded,  he’s been in the Troubadour business for years and he’s very serious about making meaningful music out of it. It’s just that it’s not my cup of tea.

Very interesting. Well, I'll listen to his second volume, and report here, asap.



"Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part." - Claude Debussy

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2019, 08:33:56 AM »
Very interesting. Well, I'll listen to his second volume, and report here, asap.

There’s an earlier thing he did which I like more in fact

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Offline Florestan

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2019, 08:52:01 AM »
Well, I listened to a random track of Zuccheto's 2nd volume and I can see where you're coming from --- the lady has a luscious, whore-ish tone for certainly. I liked it (honni soit qui mal y pense). And now that I think of it, is it not possible that those ladies were actually not your ordinary Istanbul brothel whores but courtesans well versed in the arts (such as the Venetians ones were centuries later)? Just asking.

And don't you dare tell me that it was a uniquely Southern phenomenon ---  remember Venusberg in Tannhaeuser? Germans were just as much prone to wenching as the Southerners, if not more --- it's only that they were much more hypocritical about it and much more adept at disguising it as "serious, profound & metaphysical" love.  ;D

"Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part." - Claude Debussy

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2019, 12:41:02 PM »
Why has your avatar suddenly got those bedroom eyes?

Re La Trobà, from memory the singers aren’t bad, quite characterful in fact, but they tend to sing all the strophes and it’s repetitive, I think it takes better singers to pull that off, especially because the words in an understandable form, indeed in any form, are inaccessible. I think it was a serious mistake that they didn’t publish the words, he did publish a book to go with the set, which I have, but it only contains a fraction of the texts they sing.

The instrumental part (and that’s all speculative I think) is too colourful for me, I get very bored with it very quickly. It may be all suffers from that routine feeling that you often get in complete surveys, but I bet there’s some good things in there. If anyone finds anything they think is special, please say.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 01:00:00 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2019, 01:03:05 PM »
Who is this "we"?

Giuseppe Verdi. And whoever made that print I put in the opening post.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 01:18:05 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline schnittkease

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2019, 03:59:50 PM »


What a coincidence - I was just hearing this disc earlier today (as part of my rare forays into medieval music) and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Offline Zeus

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2019, 06:47:46 PM »
I have that Nuits Occitaine disc in my collection, and I like it.

Inspired by this thread, I'm giving this disc a spin:

Thibaut de Champagne - Le Chansonnier du Roi
Alla Francesca, Brigitte Lesne
Aeon



In general I like Troubadour / Trouvere music in part because it supports a pet theory that I have – that playing an instrument and singing along to it is a very ancient and natural form of music-making that probably hasn't changed much over the centuries.  For the simple reason that people haven't changed much over the centuries.  Although this simple style of music is not well represented in the written record, I would bet it was as popular back then and for the same reasons as a guy with a guitar singing in a bar or on the streets is popular in our times.  JMHO FWIW.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 06:57:57 PM by Zeus »
"There is no progress in art, any more than there is progress in making love. There are simply different ways of doing it." – Emmanuel Radnitzky (Man Ray)

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Troubadour Thread.
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2019, 08:20:31 PM »
I have that Nuits Occitaine disc in my collection, and I like it.

Inspired by this thread, I'm giving this disc a spin:

Thibaut de Champagne - Le Chansonnier du Roi
Alla Francesca, Brigitte Lesne
Aeon



In general I like Troubadour / Trouvere music in part because it supports a pet theory that I have – that playing an instrument and singing along to it is a very ancient and natural form of music-making that probably hasn't changed much over the centuries.  For the simple reason that people haven't changed much over the centuries.  Although this simple style of music is not well represented in the written record, I would bet it was as popular back then and for the same reasons as a guy with a guitar singing in a bar or on the streets is popular in our times.  JMHO FWIW.

As far as I understand it, the scores are silent about instruments, and the iconographic evidence is difficult to interpret because the instruments shown may have been meant symbolically and not literally. The medieval literature always represents troubadours singing a cappella or accompanying themselves with just one instrument - viel, lute or harp.

« Last Edit: Today at 12:18:49 AM by Mandryka »
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