Author Topic: Instrumental music from the 16th century and before  (Read 4270 times)

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Offline Mandryka

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Instrumental music from the 16th century and before
« on: October 31, 2015, 07:30:07 AM »
A thread dedicated to your favourite music without voice from the 15th century. We're talking manuscripts like the Codex Faenza, The Lochamer Manuscript, The Buxheimer Orgelbuch and The Robertsbridge Codex. And composers, publishers and transcribers like Conrad Paumann, Pierre Attaingnant, Marco Antonio Cavazzoni, Luis Venegas de Henestrosa, Christopher Tye.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 01:16:37 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: 15th century instrumental music.
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2015, 07:43:15 AM »
I'll just start this thing off by planting a picture of a recording that I think is tremendouds fun -- music by Conrad Paumann played on organetto, Clavisimbalum, harp, hurdy gurdy etc by the Spanish group Tasto Solo, directed by Guillermo Pérez. The whole style, and the music in fact, makes me think of the Pierre Attaingnant CD released last year by Pierre Gallon et Freddy Eichelberger. Anyone who enjoyed one would enjoy the other I bet.

   

I think the way Tasto Solo play Condrad Paumann has a very good balance of introvert and extrovert, intimacy and virtuosity. The music is high quality and the programming is interesting too - for example  the transition from the redeuntes in it to anauois (which come from different sources.)
« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 09:27:33 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: 15th century instrumental music.
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2015, 09:24:27 AM »


Spiegel is an 11 movement piece by Bernard Foccroulle, here played by the composer. It consists of his own compositions interleaved with the six verses of Arnolt Schlick's Salve Regina. This is, quite simply, the most beautiful, rapt, atmospheric playing of Schlick's music I have heard. Foccroulle's pieces feel mostly quite familiar, derivative of  Messiaen certainly, Jehan Alain possibly,  and as such they are inoffensive.  They're supposed to be a dialogue with the medieval music I think, but so far I haven't found the dialogue specially revealing.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: 15th century instrumental music.
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2015, 08:56:13 AM »
 

When I first heard this recording of music mostly from the Buxheimer Orgelbuch, played on a harp, various types of clavisimbalum, violin and occasionally voice by Tasto Solo, my reaction was complete disorientation. Can this be music? They use every trick in the book to make it expressive: ornaments, agogics, voices in complex and sometimes non-supportive relations, colours and timbres. The result is music of such strangeness and complexity, like a Lachenmann quartet. I exaggerate of course, but still.

Now, after several attempts, often abandoned, I think it is the most ravishingly beautiful thing I've ever heard and the greatest music ever written. This is a familiar process for me - I remember going through the same about Ensemble Organum's Machaut.

Anyway, the really interesting thing is to compare what Tasto Solo do with Buxheimer with what Joseph Payne does - Payne uses hardly any tricks, and he plays his faceless modern American organs with restraint, and the result is much more familiar and much more glib. At least that's what I feel when I compare them piece by piece.

« Last Edit: November 04, 2015, 09:01:00 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline J.II.9

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Re: 15th century instrumental music.
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2015, 01:02:47 PM »
That Pierre Gallon cd is great. Thanks.

I don't have much too offer here since I'm rather vocal music fan. For late XV/early XVI there is an amazing ensemble: Rose Consort of Viols. They made a great recording release this year. If you can stand some singing you will be rewarded with amazing viols sounds. Repertoire includes Josquin, Busnoys, Cornysh and many other from Bologna MS Q 18.

Mynstrelles with Straunge Sounds
The Earliest Consort Music for Viols

Preview:
http://www.amazon.com/Mynstrelles-With-Straunge-Sounds-Earliest/dp/B00WP0MIAS

Offline San Antone

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Re: 15th century instrumental music.
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2015, 01:14:12 PM »
That Pierre Gallon cd is great. Thanks.

I don't have much too offer here since I'm rather vocal music fan. For late XV/early XVI there is an amazing ensemble: Rose Consort of Viols. They made a great recording release this year. If you can stand some singing you will be rewarded with amazing viols sounds. Repertoire includes Josquin, Busnoys, Cornysh and many other from Bologna MS Q 18.

Mynstrelles with Straunge Sounds
The Earliest Consort Music for Viols

Preview:
http://www.amazon.com/Mynstrelles-With-Straunge-Sounds-Earliest/dp/B00WP0MIAS

First rate group and enhanced by the inclusion of Clare Wilkinson , just about my favorite mezzo working today.  Her solo singing in the Durufle Requiem is exquisite, which is where I first discovered her.

Offline J.II.9

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Re: 15th century instrumental music.
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2015, 01:27:19 PM »
Yes, she's amazing. And for the rest of the team, just look at their gear:
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-rJ2YGqQr7J8/SyNs7hz4UqI/AAAAAAAAOds/qLWbl0dJqzI/w1087-h853-no/DSC_0315edr.jpg

Almost looks better than that famous Pink Floyd photo:
http://pinkfloydarchives.com/Discog/China/LP/Umma/Umma2/BC.jpg

Back to the subject of this thread:
When it comes to Codex Faenza, I know there are two recordings. One made by Ensemble Organum (I have it, it's hard to find one today) and other by Ensemble Unicorn which I don't have.

« Last Edit: November 11, 2015, 02:49:34 PM by J.II.9 »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: 15th century instrumental music.
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2015, 09:51:57 AM »


A lot of the difficulty with 15th century music for me, I'm more familiar with music from a century later, is that it can appear like purposeless empty note spinning. Not so here. The wonder of this collection of pieces for keyboard and lute by Carina Marti and Michel Gondko, called Von edler art, is that they give the music such a clear structure that it's tempting to think that there must be a rhetorical plan.

And another thing is variety. Early music can seem samey from the emotional point of view. But here the range of emotions these two musicians find is astonishing, and again it's tempting to think that these composers where trying to express emotions, affects.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2015, 10:03:54 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: 15th century instrumental music.
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2016, 07:59:10 AM »


My guess is that this recording of music by Conrad Paumann played by Ton Koopman was recorded  in 1982 partly to celebrate the restoration of the organ in Metz Cathedral

Quote from: https://sites.google.com/site/christchurchmontrealmusic/metzorgan
The Marc-Garnier Organ of the Cathedral of St-Étienne in Metz. In 1537, to complement a large medieval organ installed in 1454, Johann von Promsfeldt known as Jehan de Trèves supplied a small Renaissance organ in a case made by Jehan de Verdun located in the triforium in a "swallow's nest". In 1588, the famous Brabant organbuilder Florent Hocquet, sent for from Liège by the canons, began transforming the instrument. Hocquet returned to Lorraine several times and his son Nicolas set up in business in Nancy, from where he also travelled to work in Paris and Reims. After undergoing numerous transformations, the organ was reconstructed by Marc Garnier in 1981: the organ case of 1537 was retained, while the tonal design mirrored that of the Dutch Renaissance, with a short octave and meantone temperament. (www.organs.european-heritage.net)

The performance is Koopman at his best: tempos, registrations, phrasing, rhythms all seem natural. We're obviously very far from the sort of other worldly spirituality of an Italian Renaissance levitation Toccata, but I don't think that "spiritual" is an epithet incorrectly applied to these performances.  You could imagine some of them accompanying the moment of transubstantiation as well as anything by Frescobaldi.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 08:03:01 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: 15th century instrumental music.
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2016, 08:31:33 AM »


I've enjoyed this recording of music from the Buxheimer Orgelbuch by Joseph Payne more than the ones on Naxos because the instruments are so much more characterful. Güstrau and Kreverd, both meantone, well tuned and well recorded. A good selection of music too, some spiritual stuff. Payne has an affinity with the Kreverd organ because he used it for some of the Dublin Virginal Book.



This recording by Payne for Naxos is on a much less characterful instrument, but it includes what I guess is the complete Incipit by Conrad Paumann. About half and hour of music. Payne comments that played together there's a feeling of unity, and I would add a feeling of denouement too. The experience made me think of music by Cage and Feldmann.

Koopmam records about 10 minutes of the Incipit in the CD above, very well. It's a shame that Payne didn't use a better organ and that Koopman didn't record more of it.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 08:34:00 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: 15th century instrumental music.
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2016, 01:15:41 AM »


As always the essence of Clemencic's art in instrumental gothic is to find a marriage of expressiveness and roughness. These tablatures by Lublin allow him to bring a great bonus - humanity. The music is so warm and lyrical, and it seems to speak so seductively to our most tender hearts, that one friend of mine commented that it makes him think of J S Bach at his most profound - BWV 878 (fugue) for example. And I can see what he means.

The disc contains one piece which is, I think, a masterpiece, both of Clemencic's keyboard skills and of Lublin's transposition skills - Absolom. But maybe on reflection they're all masterpieces . . .

The instrument is a copy of a clavycitherium, in fact a copy of the most ancient keyboard instrument known. it is perfect for this oxymoronic vision of sweet and mild abrasiveness.


« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 01:21:38 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Instrumental music from the 16th century and before
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2016, 12:24:56 PM »



Ut heremita solus is a 4 part motet of great contrapuntal complexity by Ockeghem, the text apart from the incipit is missing. It is played here by René Clemencic and Renata Slepicka on a portable organ and trombone. It is good, very good.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 12:29:43 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Instrumental music from the 16th century and before
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2017, 12:17:56 AM »


The organ is absolutely stunning (Metzler 2015, Leipzig  university church, tuned to some sort of meantone.)  The performances are delivered with brio and concentration by Daniel Beilschmidt and sometimes wonderfully supplemented by Veit Heller and Christine Mothes. The music is rare, substantial and good, some of these pieces are delivered in a way which makes them sound like unforgettable masterpieces - a Kyrie and Gloria from the Codex Faenza, the sequences of interpretations of Fortuna Desperata and Christ is estanden are cases in point. This is I think a major release.

http://www.metzler-orgelbau.ch/htm/organs/leipzig.htm
« Last Edit: February 06, 2017, 01:03:49 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: Instrumental music from the 16th century and before
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2018, 05:50:37 PM »
A thread dedicated to your favourite music without voice from the 15th century. We're talking manuscripts like the Codex Faenza, The Lochamer Manuscript, The Buxheimer Orgelbuch and The Robertsbridge Codex. And composers, publishers and transcribers like Conrad Paumann, Pierre Attaingnant, Marco Antonio Cavazzoni, Luis Venegas de Henestrosa, Christopher Tye.
This is an interesting thread. The Robertsbridge Codex...I want to get a hold of a good recording of this.

Offline milk

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Re: 15th century instrumental music.
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2018, 06:11:00 PM »


A lot of the difficulty with 15th century music for me, I'm more familiar with music from a century later, is that it can appear like purposeless empty note spinning. Not so here. The wonder of this collection of pieces for keyboard and lute by Carina Marti and Michel Gondko, called Von edler art, is that they give the music such a clear structure that it's tempting to think that there must be a rhetorical plan.

And another thing is variety. Early music can seem samey from the emotional point of view. But here the range of emotions these two musicians find is astonishing, and again it's tempting to think that these composers where trying to express emotions, affects.
I'm going for this one! Seems fascinating.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Instrumental music from the 16th century and before
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2018, 10:48:47 PM »


I first discovered Dietmar Berger through his recording on Naxos of The Manchester Gamba Book, which I love. He's clearly a musician who's at home in solo string music. This recording on violin is also attractive and hypnotic and stimulating in a similar way, this sort of thing clearly strikes a chord with me because when I start listening I find it difficult to pull myself away.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2018, 11:04:23 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Instrumental music from the 16th century and before
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2018, 10:13:58 PM »
In fact, the purely instrumental performance of late medieval polyphonic music with text has been mooted as a non-arbitrary, historically appropriate, possibility since the 19th Century. It is, maybe, no less appropriate than supplementing texted passages with melismas, or than combing voice and instruments. You have to bear in mind that how the syllables of text relate to the notes is very unclear. Furthermore, and this is a commonplace in the early music world, the music which isn’t clearly set sylabically is often very difficult to sing. It seems not at all implausible that  instrumental interpretation was much more widespread than just the settings in The Robertsbridge Codex.



La Morra are actively exploring this possibility, just as Gothic Voices and later The Orlando Consort explored purely vocal performances of medieval music. This recording of French songs found in a manuscript (called Torino J.II.9) originating in Cyprus contains some examples of their experiments. They make the following comment

Quote
However, the possibility of exclusively instrumental performance (our choice for the remaining pieces on this recording) seems to have received far too little attention from scholars and musicians – despite the fact that (1) the presence of musical instruments at many Western European courtly establishments is confirmed by lit- erary, iconographical and archival evidence, (2) the instruments are seen in the hands of various sorts of musicians, ranging from amateurs to the professional minstrels whose skills included composing high-level art music, and (3) in many instances a strong aesthetic argument makes it a plausible alternative to vocal per- formance, despite the absence of the poetical text. It is also useful to bear in mind that the unity of poetry and music, so strong in the early days of the medieval song, began to weaken during the late Middle Ages, and that at the same time the creation of professional instru- mental groups all over Europe was paving the way for the instrumental ensemble idiom in European art music. Consideration of all these arguments suggests that the history of the instrumental performance of polyphonic vocal music may actually be longer than is traditionally assumed. Many of the Torino J.II.9 songs in fact make a particularly successful repertoire for instrumental performance. Significantly, of all the repertoire contained in this manuscript, it is in the songs that one encounters numerous instances of melodic decoration imposed on the superius part. Admittedly, the presence of virtuoso runs does not exclude vocal performance. These pieces, however, tend to achieve particular excellence when played by skillful instrumentalists. When performing Torino J.II.9 songs with instruments, we did not hesitate to exploit the possibility which emerged once the music was detached from the poetical text, namely the modification of the piece's original form.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2018, 10:17:25 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Instrumental music from the 16th century and before
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2019, 02:42:53 PM »


The combination of violin and double bass sounds wonderful, no doubt partly because of the Pythagorean tuning. The playing is immaculate: expressive and very conctroled. There’s some considerable variation too, variation of attack for example. The Machaut sequence ends with an enormous thing - a 7 minute long piece, where they use every trick in the book to hold your attention.  The de Vitry Transcriptions are no less impressive than the Machaut.

The music sometimes made me think of John Cage’s Appartment House performances by Irvine Arditti.

It’s tempting to say that these transcriptions are pointless, that you can just listen to the songs as intended. But in fact they are pleasing in a Cage way, which in itself is a bit surprising, and that’s justification enough I think.

If anyone finds the booklet online can they let me have a link please.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2019, 02:46:12 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline milk

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Re: Instrumental music from the 16th century and before
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2019, 04:04:08 AM »


The combination of violin and double bass sounds wonderful, no doubt partly because of the Pythagorean tuning. The playing is immaculate: expressive and very conctroled. There’s some considerable variation too, variation of attack for example. The Machaut sequence ends with an enormous thing - a 7 minute long piece, where they use every trick in the book to hold your attention.  The de Vitry Transcriptions are no less impressive than the Machaut.

The music sometimes made me think of John Cage’s Appartment House performances by Irvine Arditti.

It’s tempting to say that these transcriptions are pointless, that you can just listen to the songs as intended. But in fact they are pleasing in a Cage way, which in itself is a bit surprising, and that’s justification enough I think.

If anyone finds the booklet online can they let me have a link please.
Thanks so much. This is inspiring music.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Instrumental music from the 16th century and before
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2019, 05:00:05 AM »


This recording, Teialog, contains what is, I think, the most enjoyable transcription for instruments of medieva musicl I can remember hearing  - the work in question is Ockeghem’s Missa Sine Nomine.  Just a couple of clarinettes and a bassoon, the band is called Trio Lignum, it’s a mass for three voices.  Exceptional music making, and exceptional music.

In the booklet they explain what they were up to as follows

Quote
. . .  the interpretation played here is not a transcription. Every note is the equivalent of a note in the original; there are no changes, interventions, cuts or substitutions. All that transpires from this performance is that any sounding device is suitable to conjure up Ockeghem's (or any pseudo-Ockeghem's [the attribution of the mass to Ockeghem is disputed]) music; of course different difficulties arise in the work's instrumental and vocal performances - but perhaps other aspects of it are thrown into relief, too. And it prompts us to greater concentration; at least in the sense that it forces us to observe the events taking place in the notes; it does not give the prop of the text, of custom, the accepted medium of this type of music. In return, as in all great music,
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 05:31:14 AM by Mandryka »
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