Author Topic: The Early Music Club (EMC)  (Read 126558 times)

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Offline zamyrabyrd

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The Early Music Club (EMC)
« on: October 06, 2007, 10:31:49 PM »
Is anyone here into Medieval Music? I just discovered a real swinging lady who was not mentioned in Grout when I was studying Music History. I thought to start a thread on Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) as a composer in her own write, but it may be more interesting to compare her to others.

Here is a good site to start:
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/hildegarde.html

"...When few women were accorded respect, she was consulted by and advised bishops, popes, and kings. She used the curative powers of natural objects for healing, and wrote treatises about natural history and medicinal uses of plants, animals, trees and stones. She is the first composer whose biography is known. She founded a vibrant convent, where her musical plays were performed..."

There is a clip in the new Norton Anthology, done really well (more lively than some other recordings) of the "In Principio" from her largely plainchant "Ordo Virtutem" (the Play of the Virtues) for 27 women's voices and one man (the devil). Well, she was mainly surrounded by nuns so the preference for female voices is understandable...

ZB
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2007, 12:03:24 AM »
I love pre-baroque early music, although I don't have a particularly great knowledge of it on a technical level.

My favourites are Hildegard, Alfonso X's Cantigas de Santa Maria (I believe it's unsure which are attributed to him, and many are certainly by others, so generally they are all referred to as "his" works, but he just collected and published them), Pérotin, Dunstaple (very late medieval, but he is too wonderful to decide to leave out...) and above all Machaut, who, to me, is the only medieval composer who compares to renaissance era composers in terms of large surviving output, and is one of the rare medieval composers who can be understood sort of as a person rather than an almost anonymous writer of religious music. His music ranges from challenging and spikey (motets), very deep (Messe de Nostre Dame), to highly poetic, and uniquely insightful on non-religious themes (his accompanied poems).

Edit: A perhaps surprising amount of very early composers were female - amongst the ones known by only one name, pre-1000 ad, I believe there are 3 or 4.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2007, 12:13:26 AM by Lethe »
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2007, 12:51:12 AM »
Is anyone here into Medieval Music?

Not really. Too simple for my taste. I like Alfonso X thou.  :D
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2007, 12:56:54 AM »
Too simple for my taste.

Perhaps try this - it's an isorhythmic motet by Machaut, and audibly technical without any need to analyse (which would no doubt reveal much more).

http://www.mediafire.com/?fxj7dwnmvnx
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2007, 01:07:33 AM »
Perhaps try this - it's an isorhythmic motet by Machaut, and audibly technical without any need to analyse (which would no doubt reveal much more).

http://www.mediafire.com/?fxj7dwnmvnx

Thanks! That wasn't bad. Maybe I explore this Machaut.
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Offline The new erato

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2007, 01:14:23 AM »
I like medieval music. Machaut is superb. And the Florentine composers, Ciconia and above all Landini, are favorites. Dunstaple as well. Where to draw the line between medieval and renaissance though? Is Dufay clearly renaissance?

Offline The new erato

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2007, 01:27:48 AM »
This is a must:



This,also on zig-zag, has received superb reviews and are currently on my wish list.



Micrologus have done a series of fine recordings for Opus 111 worth seeking out.

And then you have the series of fine recordings by Gothic Voices on Hyperion, though they crosses over into early renaissance as often as not. Though I don't think that is a proble, or that the distinction is necessarily very clear-cut.

Offline FideLeo

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2007, 01:32:42 AM »
I like medieval music. Machaut is superb. And the Florentine composers, Ciconia and above all Landini, are favorites. Dunstaple as well. Where to draw the line between medieval and renaissance though? Is Dufay clearly renaissance?

Dufay's isorhythmic motets are often viewed as the last medieval works in the genre.   Some of the most complex medieval music was produced sometime before Dufay at the Papal court at Avignon in the style of "Ars subtilior"  For me the best medieval music recordings were made by a group called "Ensemble Gilles Binchois" (on the Cantus, Virgin Verita and Ambrosie labels) ranging from plainchants to Leonin and Perotin to Machaut's "Messe de Nostre Dame" to the chansons by Dufay and Binchois.  The Austrian Unicorn Ensemble, which once recorded for Naxos, have made some affordable and fun recordings as well, in very good sound.  Enthusiasts of the Cantigas and Andalusian repertories should seek out issues from the ongoing integral series by the Spanish Ensemble Eduardo Paniagua.  I like them a lot more than I do the various Jordi Savall efforts.   :D
« Last Edit: October 07, 2007, 02:28:40 AM by masolino »
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2007, 01:32:55 AM »
Is Dufay clearly renaissance?

He is part of the Burgundy School which is considered very early renaissance.
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Offline The new erato

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2007, 01:38:36 AM »
He is part of the Burgundy School which is considered very early renaissance.
Yes - but lots of his motets and chansons are stylistically much closer to Machaut than to the high renaissance. But whatever; if one likes Medieval Music one should look into early Dufay. And the transformation of this into renaissance is very interesting, as are all major stylistic shifts (like the transformation into Baroque in Tuscany/northern Italy, fin-de-siecle Vienna or between-the wars Paris.

Offline Lethevich

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2007, 01:42:03 AM »
Yes - but lots of his motets and chansons are stylistically much closer to Machaut than to the high renaissance. But whatever; if one likes Medieval Music one should look into early Dufay. And the transformation of this into renaissance is very interesting, as are all major stylistic shifts (like the transformation into Baroque in Tuscany/northern Italy, fin-de-siecle Vienna or between-the wars Paris.

I definitely consider Binchois's secular music similar to Machaut in spirit.
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lukeottevanger

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2007, 01:51:58 AM »
I am particularly interested in the aforementioned Italian-French Ars subtilior (AKA the Fourteenth Century Avant-Garde) - if 71 dB is looking for complexity, he need look no further. Rhythmically speaking, there is nothing to match the most extreme of these pieces until Stravinsky. A obscure byway, perhaps, from the medieval mainstream, but in these composers, as in Machaut, we really sense something of the modern concept of 'the composer'. The most intruiging figure, to my mind, is Matteo da Perugia (Perusio), whose Le Greygnour Bien I have often mentioned in threads of this kind - an utterly astonishing piece. As for recommended discs (these are the same ones I always recommend!):


Simply the best - fresh, vernal, stunning readings of this repertoire, including Le Greygnour Bien and also some unbelievable 'birdsong'. Mixes French and Italian repertoire. (Samples at Amazon - try tracks 2 and 3, though I'm not sure if they have included the birdsong...


There are also (at least) two discs by Perdo Memelsdorff's Mala Punica (Ars Subtilis Ytalica and D'Amor Ragionando, the latter pictured above) which focus on Italian music and take a much slower, more sensuous approach. Gorgeous music making too.


Though I have a few more discs in this repertoire - including the magnificent Perusio-only one pictured above - I haven't bought any recently (well, apart from the one I just one-clicked on!) so can't comment on some of the very seductive-looking discs I've just seen whilst image-searching!
« Last Edit: October 07, 2007, 01:59:36 AM by lukeottevanger »

lukeottevanger

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #12 on: October 07, 2007, 01:55:28 AM »
...the transformation of this into renaissance is very interesting, as are all major stylistic shifts (like the transformation into Baroque in Tuscany/northern Italy, fin-de-siecle Vienna or between-the wars Paris.

That's a very important point, and one which I've made before when expressing my interest in the Ars subtilior. Another similar point of hyper-expressive complexity is found in the empfindsamer Stil whose finest exponents, perhaps, are CPE and WF Bach (the latter more extreme, the former more consummate)

Offline The new erato

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2007, 01:59:51 AM »
That's a very important point, and one which I've made before when expressing my interest in the Ars subtilior. Another similar point of hyper-expressive complexity is found in the empfindsamer Stil whose finest exponents, perhaps, are CPE and WF Bach (the latter more extreme, the former more consummate)
Yes, all major styles seems to go over the top before a new, simpler and different style emerges. 

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2007, 09:35:44 AM »
Some important works, groups of works and composers from the medieval period 1100-1400:

Troubadours, Trouveres (Bernart de Ventadorn, Thibaut de Navarre, Colin Muset et.c.)

Minnesänger (Walter von der Vogelweide, Neidhart von Reuental et.c.)

Notre-Dame school   (Leonin, Perotin)

Cantigas de Santa Maria (Alphonso el Sabio)

Estampies

Carmina Burana

Missa Tournai

Guillaume de Machault

Llibre Vermell

Italian Ars nova (Landini)

Ars subtilior (Anthonello de Caserta, Johannes Ciconia)


Some importatant musicians and ensembles in casual order which have recorded medieval music and whose recordings can be safely recommended:

Studio der frühen Musik, München (Teldec and EMI):
Extensive discographie including almost all kinds of medieval music.

Ensemble für frühe Musik, Augsburg (Christophorus):

Clemencic Consort (Harmonia Mundi , Oehms and Arte Nova Classics)

Mala Punica (Arcana, Erato and Harmonia Mundi)

Ferrara Ensemble (Arcana, Harmonia Mundi)

Micrologous (Op 111)

Emmanuel Bonnardot and his ensembles Alla Francesca (Op 111, Virgin, ZigZag) and Obsidienne (Calliope)

La Reverdie (Arcana)

Ensemble Gilles Binchois (Cantus and Virgin)

New London Consort / PhilipPickett (L´Oiseau Lyre and Linn)

The Dufay Collective (Avie, Chandos and Harmonia Mundi)

Ensemble Unicorn and Oni Wytars (Naxos)

Paul Hillier and his ensembles Hilliard Ensemble (ECM, EMI and Hyperion) and Theatre of voices (Harmonia Mundi)

Gothic Voices (Hyperion)

Sequentia (German Harmonia Mundi)

Ensemble Organum / Marcel Peres (Harmonia Mundi)

The early Music Consort of London / David Munrow (EMI and Archive and Decca)

Musica Reservata (Philips)

Huelgas Ensemble (Pavane and Sony)

Anonymus Four (Harmonia Mundi)


Add to this a list of groups with only a few but important recordings:

Martin Best Mediaeval Ensemble (Nimbus),
New York´s ensemble for Early Music (Lyrichord),
Theatrum Instrumentorum (Arts),
Ensemble Anonymus (Analekta),
Tonus Peregrinus (Naxos),
Boston Camerata / Joel Cohen (Erato)
Modo Antiquo (Brilliant Classics)
Diabolus in Musica (Studio SM)
Orlando Consort (Archiv and Harmonia Mundi)

I have heard almost everything these groups have made of recordings of medieval music, and I find virtually nothing, which doesn´t pay in one way or the other. It is just to get started.

A fine starter might be the Harmonia Mundi 6CD release "Les tres riches heures du Moyen Age, containing recordings by among others: Ensemble Organum, Clemencic Consort and Anonymous Four.
Also the Early Music Consort of London´s three CDset "Music of the Gothic area" on Archiv,
the Machaut Mass by Clemencic Consort on Arte Nova,
the Llibre Vermell and Cantigas de Santa Maria CDs by Theatrum Instrumentorum on Arts,
the Messe de Tournai by Ensemble Organum on Harmonia Mundi,
the "Ars subtilis Ytalica" by Mala Punica on Arcana,
the Machault Motets by Hilliard Ensemble on ECM,
the recordings of secular Machault works by Gilles Binchois Ensemble on Cantus,
the Estampie collections by the Dufay Collective on Chandos and Avie,
the Estampie collections by the New York´s Ensemble on Lyrichord (2 CDs)
the "Beaute Parfaite" by Alla Francesca on Op 111 (containing Ars subtilior-works)
and Paul Hilliers solo CD "French Troubadour songs" on Harmonia Mundi.

As I said: Just to get started.










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hornteacher

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2007, 10:43:53 AM »
Here's a great CD of 13th century organum (which is essentially when the Notre Dame school began expanding on plainchant melodies by adding other voices in 4ths and 5ths above or below the main chant.

http://www.amazon.com/Paris-1200-Kurt-Owen-Richards/dp/B00000C422/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-4924212-6205218?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1191782569&sr=8-1

Offline 12tone.

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2007, 01:45:25 PM »
Premont,

You don't like Jordi Savall, eh?  ;D

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2007, 02:32:51 PM »
Premont,

You don't like Jordi Savall, eh?  ;D

Yes I do, and I own a considerable number of his recordings. But his contribution to medieval music is relative sparse. I would also tend to recommend his Llibre Vermell and his Cantigas de Santa Maria as well as his solo viol CD with medieval dances and traditional music, but I had to set a limit somewhere.
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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2007, 11:07:34 PM »
Premont, you heard ALL the music on your list? All honor to you. In the presence of such knowledgable people, I hardly dare raise my voice but at least, my personal preference is medieval music over baroque (excluding Bach). For one, the variety of styles is practically overwhelming. The least complicated, plainchant, is not simple at all, though.

In Grout's History of Music is a quote from Toynbee about the Church being the "chrysalis from which Western culture emerged", linking this up to the proliferation of the music in which the rites were carried. But more than that, prototypes of form and harmony are already in their incipient stages in plain chant with final, dominant, plagal, intoning notes, modes, limiting the smallest interval to the half step, areas of contrasting sections, eventually using the melodies themselves as bases for longer and more complicated compositions, etc.

As I said, I plead mainly ignorance and can only defer to those more learned than me.

ZB
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Offline jochanaan

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2007, 10:12:34 PM »
I love medieval music too.  But like others have said, it needs good performers to give it life--ones that can do more than play the sparse notes, but know the style and are willing to go beyond what's written.

Be sure not to miss The Play of Daniel.  (Has that been recorded since the classic New York Pro Musica recording with Noah Greenberg?)
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