Author Topic: Early English Instrumental Music  (Read 22915 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #100 on: October 15, 2017, 06:26:41 AM »
Yes, I don't mean counterpoint I think. There must be some clear technical difference between Frescobaldi and Byrd? Is it less fugal then? Byrd is really lovely. Often sentimental. Not severe. A pavan is a dance, right? Are Frescobaldi's partitas dances? It doesn't seem like it. Is it more religious? Both are interested in variations I guess. One thing I find very interesting is the instruments. The English virginals.

Frescobaldi wrote loads of dances -- correnti, galiards, balletti. I'm not sure it's his best work though.

I read somewhere that he used to play improvised dances in operas. (That somehow brings it all down to earth -- Frescobaldi improvising a dance to please the crowds at the opera like a Handel organ concerto! Some things it's better not to think about!)
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 06:28:19 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #101 on: October 16, 2017, 05:27:03 AM »
Frescobaldi wrote loads of dances -- correnti, galiards, balletti. I'm not sure it's his best work though.

I read somewhere that he used to play improvised dances in operas. (That somehow brings it all down to earth -- Frescobaldi improvising a dance to please the crowds at the opera like a Handel organ concerto! Some things it's better not to think about!)
One of the joys of this kind of music is the "time travel." Bach's music SEEMS modern - but that may be PARTLY the way or frequency that it's played. Frescobaldi is really an OTHER. I suppose anything "old" can give that feeling. It's a perception based on a lot of factors. Anyway, my point is that something like Frescobaldi is genuinely strange sounding in a way I particularly like. It's really another world. I cannot imagine him being asked to entertain the crowd with dances. In my mind, I imagine some of the dancers dropping dead from plague in the middle. 
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 08:42:10 PM by milk »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #102 on: October 16, 2017, 07:13:49 AM »
I don't think Frescobaldi's Bk 2 toccatas are strange, on the contrary I think they're familiar because, really, they're madrigals for keyboard. I think this is what one of his great contribution to music consists in: bringing to keyboard the opportunity for making expressive music like vocal music, the opportunity for deploying devices which singers use routinely  - suspensions, tempo changes etc. This is in my opinion what Vartolo understood probably better than anyone, it explains his tempi and his approach to phrasing and rubato.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 07:15:49 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline (: premont :)

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #103 on: October 16, 2017, 12:32:23 PM »
I don't think Frescobaldi's Bk 2 toccatas are strange, on the contrary I think they're familiar because, really, they're madrigals for keyboard. I think this is what one of his great contribution to music consists in: bringing to keyboard the opportunity for making expressive music like vocal music, the opportunity for deploying devices which singers use routinely  - suspensions, tempo changes etc. This is in my opinion what Vartolo understood probably better than anyone, it explains his tempi and his approach to phrasing and rubato.

An interesting thought, I think, and I tend to agree with  you.
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heldigt nok at tiden går.

Offline milk

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #104 on: October 16, 2017, 08:44:59 PM »
I don't think Frescobaldi's Bk 2 toccatas are strange, on the contrary I think they're familiar because, really, they're madrigals for keyboard. I think this is what one of his great contribution to music consists in: bringing to keyboard the opportunity for making expressive music like vocal music, the opportunity for deploying devices which singers use routinely  - suspensions, tempo changes etc. This is in my opinion what Vartolo understood probably better than anyone, it explains his tempi and his approach to phrasing and rubato.
Maybe I’m just not familiar enough with vocal music. For the keyboard though, there’s an interesting circularity I like. I guess I’m used to music with more recognizable themes and devices. I want to say there’s a strangeness to the music but I guess it’s so subjective to one’s knowledge and experience.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #105 on: October 19, 2017, 12:59:23 PM »


Jonathan Dunford plays Jenkins and Simpson. For me this has proved to be one of those recordings which makes little impact at first, but over time reveals itself to be nuanced and expressive and rewarding. Dunford plays in a disciplined way, his rubato and his ornaments are applied sparingly, and they are so well judged they appear to be a natural and non-intrusive part of the music.

Well recorded (but not well transferred by Spotify) the textures of the sounds are most attractive.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #106 on: October 27, 2017, 12:18:06 PM »


Philippe Pierlot & Co. play English music for little ensembles with viols: Jenkins, Locke, Simpson and a smattering of Lawes and Coperario. With this recording we are transported to a drawing room in Buckingham Palace, or somewhere like that. This is a recording fit for a king. It is exquisite playing, sensual, refined and polished, balanced and sane, noble. They play responsively, with a palpable sense of involvement and pleasure. Above all it is very British: phlegmatic.

Amazingly well recorded.


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Offline San Antone

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #107 on: October 27, 2017, 12:24:59 PM »


Christopher Tye : Complete Consort Music
Phantasm

Recording details: September 2016
Boxgrove Priory, Chichester, United Kingdom
Produced by Philip Hobbs
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: September 2017



I've only heard the samples of this recording, but I will eventually purchase it since I don't have any of Tye's instrumental music and this complete recording sounds excellent.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #108 on: October 28, 2017, 12:28:12 PM »
.     

I first got an inkling that John Ward is an interesting composer of viol music when I heard Phantasm's second recording, the one mad up of viol music and anthems. Part of the reason is that the physical quality of the sound - the textures of the strings and the presence and truthfulness  of the voices - is visceral.

This recording by The Rose Consort reveals Ward to be much more harmonically interesting than I'd appreciated from Phantasm, somehow the make the music sound full of very spicy combinations of notes. They also do something which I can't explain except by metaphor: they make the music shimmer like moonlight reflected on a rippling lake. Get the idea?

I haven't found a way of enjoying Phantasm's first recording yet, I'll try again sometime. I don't think there's anything else dedicated to Ward's viol music, maybe I've forgotten.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2017, 12:38:47 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Que

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #109 on: October 29, 2017, 03:06:54 AM »
I never warmed up to that John Ward recording by Phantasm.
Though Phantasm is not one my favourite viol consorts, my impression was that the composer is to blame - not very imaginative music, really...

As to Christopher Tye (1505 - c.1572) - I definitely was impressed by him.... :)

Enter this recent acquisition:


The playing of this recorder ensemble playing is on par with the Loekie Stardust Qt -  which is saying quite something....
And the music by Christopher Tye is simply gorgeous.

Recommended!  :)

Q
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 03:09:03 AM by Que »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #110 on: October 29, 2017, 03:47:41 AM »
The things I like most about Ward's music are an introspective feeling, the freedom with which he explores dissonance, the convoluted counterpoint and the coherence of each piece - the architectural coherence.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #111 on: October 29, 2017, 04:26:01 AM »
Michel Bernstein wrote an essay on Tye for the booklet of the Hesperion XX recording -- I'd like to read it if anyone can make a scan.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #112 on: October 30, 2017, 05:51:53 AM »


L'Acheron Gibbons. This opens with a fantasia which takes 10 minutes. In the booklet they are explicit about their conception of the music

Quote
The Fantasy XXXIX for six viols is truly monumental, first of all because of its exceptional length.  Three sombre homorhythmic bars in the spirit of a pavane set the scene for all that will happen.  Thee entire work is in fact one single movement, without any change of mood or metre. It is an implacable flow of sound that a strict rhythmic pulse imbues with an almost hypnotic effect; this is interrupted only once by an unexpected modulation, after which all is as before.  e insistent pulse of the music resumes until it is exhausted.

No one else plays it in such a linear way  as far as I can see. I think that other performers vary the tempo and sound from one section to the next, producing something as dramatic as a Frescobaldi Toccata. But here we have something very old sounding, more like a ricercar by Willaert. I think both Rose Consort and Corncordia have recorded it - about three times faster than L'Archeron. But in truth, I can't be sure 100% they're playing the same music!

The sound of L'Acheron is totally distinctive, at first I thought there was something wrong with the recording but no. They have a new set of viols, they're very proud of it, they discuss it extensively, they think their balance is the best, the most informed.

This is promising to be a controversial and stimulating new release.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 09:41:57 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline San Antone

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #113 on: October 30, 2017, 07:39:09 AM »
I never warmed up to that John Ward recording by Phantasm.
Though Phantasm is not one my favourite viol consorts, my impression was that the composer is to blame - not very imaginative music, really...

As to Christopher Tye (1505 - c.1572) - I definitely was impressed by him.... :)

Enter this recent acquisition:


The playing of this recorder ensemble playing is on par with the Loekie Stardust Qt -  which is saying quite something....
And the music by Christopher Tye is simply gorgeous.

Recommended!  :)

Q

I saw that recording, but am not a fan of recorder groups.  Too hooty.  I'll probably get the one by the group you don't like.   ;)



TD

Listening again to this old recording but still a goody

Elizabethan Consort Music 1558-1603
Jordi Savall


Offline Que

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #114 on: October 30, 2017, 10:28:26 AM »
I saw that recording, but am not a fan of recorder groups.  Too hooty.  I'll probably get the one by the group you don't like.   ;)

Ah, it's so gorgeous - you don't know what you're missing!  :)

Though I'm quite partial to Fretwork, I've put the Tye recording by Phantasm on the wishlist as wel... :D

Q
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 10:30:13 AM by Que »
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Offline Que

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #115 on: October 30, 2017, 10:33:37 AM »


L'Acheron Gibbons. [....]

The sound of L'Acheron is totally distinctive, at first I thought there was something wrong with the recording but no. They have a new set of viols, they're very proud of it, they discuss it extensively, they think they're balance is the best, the most informed.

This is promising to be a controversial and stimulating new release.

Definitely going to sample that one... Thanks for posting.  :)

Q
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #116 on: October 30, 2017, 10:35:35 PM »
From the booklet

Quote
Gibbons’ Fantasies enable us to discover a few aspects of the genre, even though the form’s primary characteristic is precisely its lack of a fixed structure. Th e underlying principle of these works is the succession of various thematic elements that are generally handled imitatively, repeating the same thematic elements in the different voices.  These can be simple restatements, although they are sometimes ornamented.  The fantasy form in principle does not make use of thematic development; these pieces are constructed from the succession of various elements that fit into and around each other, a sort of continuous music for which the Germans invented the highly apposite term durchkomponiert. The Fantasies for two instruments follow this definition totally; they are the inheritors of the Renaissance bicinium tradition, pieces that are often wrongly considered to be simple contrapuntal exercises.

This conception of the music as through composed means that sometimes there are less dramatic contrasts than you may expect from other performances.

Quote
We should not forget that Gibbons was not only a brilliant composer for keyboards but was also a church musician; religious feeling at that time could well be linked to a certain fanaticism in England at the beginning of the 17th century, as the new Anglican religion had introduced a new and visionary current and a certain revolutionary exaltation that is echoed in the music of the time. Neither is mysticism lacking in these sacred works, as they describe the architecture of heaven in an innovatory manner: music at that time was still considered to be a cosmic and an astral art, and music for the consort of viols was often seen as having an element of spirituality.

This explains the expressiveness possibly, the prayerfulness, inwardness, meditativeness.

These two aspects, through-composed and spiritual, seem to me to make the music sound very old rather than forward looking, or indeed like a composer from the start of the 17th century.

Quote
The first notes that we played on these six viols that were finally being played as a consort were in the wondrous acoustic of the Chapelle Notre-Dame de Centeilles (Siran). From the very first chords we were overwhelmed by this unheard of, extraordinary and unique sound, only to be overtaken almost immediately by an emotion that gripped us by the throat: it was as if a layer of dust had been washed away or a veil had been lifted; it seemed that an entire palette of colours and the most profound essence of the music had been finally revealed to us in full.

Quote
The organ was rightly the first instrument that came to mind when we came to analyse the sound of our consort: our viols were built in proportion to each other, with the dessus being half the size of the consort bass and the tenor three quarters; the instruments were therefore built to harmonise with each other, as are the pipes of an organ.  e musical result is final and irrevocable: for both harmony and counterpoint, the homogeneity and balance of the consort’s sound create the feeling of hearing one and the same instrument; the dissonances are as striking as they would be on an organ, whilst the shifting melodic lines are clear and easily distinguished.

I'm not sure what to make of these two comments in fact, I need to explore it more.



Quote
Mace also advises using two instruments per line, “All truly and proportinably suited”. He then explains his rule for assembling a well-proportioned Chest of Viols:“Let your Bass be large”.

The depth of bass is quite a surprise - the bass viol is 80 cm.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 10:47:43 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #117 on: November 17, 2017, 06:07:16 PM »
This is landing well with me as I continue indulging my kick of finding piano performances of music from this period.

Offline Que

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #118 on: November 18, 2017, 01:22:01 AM »


This is landing well with me as I continue indulging my kick of finding piano performances of music from this period.


To each his own... :D

My own little John Bull keyboard works collection is looking quite dandy with these awesome recordings:


(Organ works by Thilo Muster on Ifo)


(Harpsichord works by Mahan Esfahani and Peter Watchorn on Musica Omnia)

My main regret is that a sequel to Esfahani & Watchorn's succesfull "volume 1" never materialised..... ::)

Q
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Offline JCBuckley

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Re: English Renaissance and Baroque Instrumental Music
« Reply #119 on: November 18, 2017, 04:42:14 AM »



(Harpsichord works by Mahan Esfahani and Peter Watchorn on Musica Omnia)

My main regret is that a sequel to Esfahani & Watchorn's succesfull "volume 1" never materialised..... ::)

Q

Que - I was in touch with Peter Watchorn quite recently, and he told me that he'll be recording vol 2 of the Bull series in the very near future