Author Topic: The Early Music Club (EMC)  (Read 121729 times)

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Offline sanantonio

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #920 on: January 07, 2017, 05:18:07 PM »
I had been looking forward to hearing the performance of the Machaut mass included on this disk of Bohemian Christmas music:



Early Music New York, Frederick Renz, dir.

Frederick Renz has quite an early music resume:  studied harpsichord with Gustav Leonhardt in Holland as a Fulbright Scholar. He was keyboard soloist with the legendary New York Pro Musica Antiqua for six seasons and founded the Early Music Foundation when the former organization disbanded in 1974. 

Then there's this: the Early Music New York presents and records music of the 12th through the 18th centuries, including historical dramatic and dance works. Medieval and Renaissance repertoire is performed by a chamber ensemble of voices and instruments without conductor.

The polyphony of the mass is accompanied throughout by trombones.  This practice was prevalent in decades prior to the 1970s and fell out of practice once the historically informed movement matured.  It now sounds strange to my ears, but other than that the singing sounds good despite the overly reverberant acoustic.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #921 on: January 07, 2017, 10:55:38 PM »
^^^^^^^For a casual early music listener, would that recording still be worth getting? Or is it rather more suited to those with a lot more knowledge of musical performances in the era.........

It's quite medieval sounding.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #922 on: January 08, 2017, 02:18:10 AM »
Apropos the discussion of instruments use in church music during the Middle Ages -

machaut : la messe de nostre dame
rene clemencic | clemencic consort



From what I gather from listening to the recording, since I can't read the Japanese notes, Clemencic is trying to present the work within a realistic context of the day of the mass:

  • first we hear peasant songs outside the church
    then organ alternating with communal singing of processional hymns
    then the mass interspersed with other appropriate chants (as well as some inappropriate instrument sections)

An unusual but interesting method of presenting the mass - but I would vastly have preferred that the instrumental playing between the sung mass sections have been organ-only and not included peasant dance music which is completely against what would have occurred in the 14th century.  It is an odd thing, since Clemencic seems to be aiming at a realistic impression of what would have happened during the period.

The actual performance of the mass is fairly straight forward and very well done.  But because of the many interruptions this performance of the mass is seriously compromised, imo.

It's a sort of medievalism maybe, you know, let's make the old music sound exotic and colourful, a similar idea in Peres and Schmelzer but implemented differently. Anyway I think the book to read on this is by Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, but it's too expensive for me.

I find this general pattern really interesting. Orientalism and Medievalism, interpreting otherness in time and in space. Someone started a thread here about what you would study if you were to have a year of research. Well, I think this is a good contender.
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Offline sanantonio

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #923 on: January 08, 2017, 02:48:14 AM »
It's a sort of medievalism maybe, you know, let's make the old music sound exotic and colourful, a similar idea in Peres and Schmelzer but implemented differently. Anyway I think the book to read on this is by Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, but it's too expensive for me.

I find this general pattern really interesting. Orientalism and Medievalism, interpreting otherness in time and in space. Someone started a thread here about what you would study if you were to have a year of research. Well, I think this is a good contender.

I have the Leech-Wilkinson book on the mass, but bought it years ago when it wasn't that expensive.  His book is very good for analysis of the music, maybe too technical for a non-musician, but he only gives a short biographic overview and a paragraph or two on the whole endowment/memorial aspect.

BTW, I heard back from Elizabeth Eva Leach; she replied to my email last week.  She basically agreed with me that all the evidence surrounding Machaut's will, endowment, memorial concerning funding the performance of the mass after his death is circumstantial but is not "completely weak" however, she also says this "It might be that Machaut's Messe was the mass, but it might equally well be another (probably plainsong) mass."   She also cites a long paper by Roger Bowers (which I downloaded from JStor).

Bowers uses different logic than Anne Robertson who argues the strongest for the mass as memorial in her book, "Guillaume de Machaut and Reims," but still considers the mass was written for a unique purpose: maybe a memorial or maybe as a gift to the cathedral upon his retirement there.  It is interesting that Robertson uses a translation of the cathedral plaque which takes a few liberties with the Latin in order to strengthen her argument, whereas Bowers is more accurate acknowledging that the word "petitorium" is a legal term and hints at a legal proceeding and as a result of a less than satisfactory resolution at court for the Machaut estate, an endowment was collected by friends . 

This is different from how Robertson translates the word as a "personal petition" by the Machaut brothers, and which implies a much more overt gesture by Machaut about his intentions for performance of the mass. 

So, I think Schmelzer's entire hypothesis is founded on circumstantial evidence for which different conclusions can be drawn.  I would have preferred had he simply said "this is how I wish to perform the music because it brings the music alive to 21st century ears" and not gone into his psuedo-intellectual explanation about the afterlife of the work.

Offline sanantonio

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #924 on: January 12, 2017, 05:15:00 PM »
Wonderful disc from the L'Oiseau Lyre M&R box ~

Matteo da Perugia : Secular Works
Medieval Ensemble of London | Timothy & Peter Davies



His surviving compositions include mass movements, two isorhythmic motets and both Italian and French secular songs. Willi Apel regarded Matteo as the principal composer of his generation, in whose compositions one could trace the stylistic transition between the mannerism of the 1380s to the ‘modern style’ of the early 15th century. This viewpoint was challenged by Besseler; since then Matteo's position in history has remained an open question, and his music awaits a thorough stylistic study.

Some preliminary observations can be made, however. His cantus lines contain quirky leaps (the diminished 4th is a favourite interval), often from unstable sonorities that precede expected cadential arrivals. He often surrounds structural pitches with appogiaturas and auxiliary notes and embellishes his melodies with detailed, fast-moving ornamental figurations, notated in I-MOe α.M.5.24 with an expanded arsenal of italianate figures. A favourite device in the songs is to construct a melodic sequence upon a complex or syncopated rhythmic pattern (for example in Le greygnour bien and Le grant desir). He often begins phrases with imitation in all three voices. Several of his works explore a more adventurous chromaticism than is typical of this period.
  [Ursula Günther and Anne Stone. "Matteo da Perugia." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 13 Jan. 2017.]

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #925 on: January 12, 2017, 11:09:00 PM »
Anthologie chantee des Troubadours XIIe and XIIIe siecles



The 248 songs of the troubadours identified here are recreated and recorded in a lively and original artistic approach that takes into account the latest work on the interpretation of medieval Occitan lyrics and interpreting medieval notation.  Troba Vox Editions is a label devoted to the music of the Troubadours Art Ensemble  and other groups specializing in this music.  The recordings are distributed by Abeille Musique, and available for streaming on Qobuz.Com and the Naxos Music Library.

The music in Vol 5 is outstanding, and I'm going to explore the whole series. The problem is this: in the qobuz downloads there is zero documentation. It's appalling.
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Offline sanantonio

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #926 on: January 20, 2017, 05:56:32 AM »
Dufay : Choral Music
Cantica Symphona



Wish they'd left their instruments in the cases, but otherwise, the singing is good and a nice selection of works.

I am not familiar with this group, Cantica Symphona.  I wonder what is the historical basis for using these instruments accompanying the voices?  Not overdone, just curious.  There is plenty of contemporaneous information about how much the "church Fathers" detested instruments at church.  And this continues until the late 16th century (organ excepted) but it is not to say that the amount of vitriol might also have been a reaction to what was being done despite the church's preference.

Thus we find that Erasmus, writing more than a century after Machaut's death, had cause to criticize instrumental music in much the same way as the Fathers had done, but with the significant addition that it was now to be heard 'even in the holy temple, just as in the theatre'. 

This was a comparatively new development around 1500, and one that is corroborated by other writers.

Offline sanantonio

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #927 on: January 20, 2017, 06:22:31 AM »
This month's Early Music America magazine has a feature article on women composers during the periods from 9th-17th century.  One caught my eye (literally), Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677).  I'd heard of her before, but the painting of her is a bit risque.



Lady Gaga has got nothing on her!

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

Offline Ken B

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #928 on: January 20, 2017, 09:27:47 AM »
This month's Early Music America magazine has a feature article on women composers during the periods from 9th-17th century.  One caught my eye (literally), Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677).  I'd heard of her before, but the painting of her is a bit risque.



Lady Gaga has got nothing on her!

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/aDBPfhG-gVk" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/aDBPfhG-gVk</a>
She is a character in a movie I saw once, but cannot recall what the movie was!
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Offline Judge Fish

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #929 on: January 20, 2017, 11:14:54 AM »
Hi All!

I saw this new release and I thought I'd ask here for people's opinions about it and/or the group before I pull the trigger:

Knights, Maids, and Miracles / La Reverdie



It's a bundle of five of their previous releases, I believe from the 90s.

I can download the whole shebang for $10 from prestoclassical or googleplay (at least until they fix their pricing). But since I'm the kind of person that tries to listen to everything I buy at least once a year or so, I'm reluctant to buy a bunch of discs without doing a little sniffing around first.

So... what do you think? Should I jump on it?  Does the music sound as nice as the packaging looks?


UPDATE: The set includes the following earlier releases:

SVSO IN ITALIA BELLA - Musique dans les cours et cloîtres de l'Italie du Nord

O TU CHARA SCIENCA - la musique dans la pensée médiévale

NOX-LUX - France and Angleterre, 1200-1300

INSULA FEMINARUM - Résonances Médiévales de la Féminité Celte

SPECULUM AMORIS - Medieval Love Lyrics of Mysticism and Eroticism

« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 11:21:08 AM by Judge Fish »

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #930 on: January 20, 2017, 11:23:18 AM »
An unconditional recommendation from me.
res severa verum gaudium

Offline sanantonio

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #931 on: January 20, 2017, 11:33:04 AM »
Hi All!

I saw this new release and I thought I'd ask here for people's opinions about it and/or the group before I pull the trigger:

Knights, Maids, and Miracles / La Reverdie



It is on Spotify. 

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #932 on: January 20, 2017, 01:51:16 PM »
I am not familiar with this group, Cantica Symphona.  I wonder what is the historical basis for using these instruments accompanying the voices?  Not overdone, just curious.  There is plenty of contemporaneous information about how much the "church Fathers" detested instruments at church.  And this continues until the late 16th century (organ excepted) but it is not to say that the amount of vitriol might also have been a reaction to what was being done despite the church's preference.

Thus we find that Erasmus, writing more than a century after Machaut's death, had cause to criticize instrumental music in much the same way as the Fathers had done, but with the significant addition that it was now to be heard 'even in the holy temple, just as in the theatre'. 

This was a comparatively new development around 1500, and one that is corroborated by other writers.

Bear in mind that these motets weren't necessarily sung in church services.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #933 on: January 20, 2017, 02:03:56 PM »
Wonderful disc from the L'Oiseau Lyre M&R box ~

Matteo da Perugia : Secular Works
Medieval Ensemble of London | Timothy & Peter Davies





Do they take it very fast compared with Tetraktys? The Tetraktys timings are here

https://www.etcetera-records.com/album/617/chansons

I believe Davies Bros stopped recording and performing because they got very depressed about negative reviews which didn't approve of their instruments.


« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 02:12:57 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline HIPster

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #934 on: January 20, 2017, 06:34:58 PM »
Hi All!

I saw this new release and I thought I'd ask here for people's opinions about it and/or the group before I pull the trigger:

Knights, Maids, and Miracles / La Reverdie



An unconditional recommendation from me.

+1  :)

Fantastic group.

Offline Que

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #935 on: January 21, 2017, 01:11:32 AM »
I am not familiar with this group, Cantica Symphona.  I wonder what is the historical basis for using these instruments accompanying the voices?  Not overdone, just curious.  There is plenty of contemporaneous information about how much the "church Fathers" detested instruments at church.  And this continues until the late 16th century (organ excepted) but it is not to say that the amount of vitriol might also have been a reaction to what was being done despite the church's preference.

Thus we find that Erasmus, writing more than a century after Machaut's death, had cause to criticize instrumental music in much the same way as the Fathers had done, but with the significant addition that it was now to be heard 'even in the holy temple, just as in the theatre'. 

This was a comparatively new development around 1500, and one that is corroborated by other writers.

I've sampled their recordings on several occasions, and every time I really disliked it..... The use of instruments and the way they are used sounds completely out of place.
The whole approach sounds terribly interventionist.

Which makes life more easy....a lot of expensive discs not to consider.... 8)

Q
À chacun son goût.

Offline HIPster

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #936 on: January 21, 2017, 08:51:02 AM »
I've sampled their recordings on several occasions, and every time I really disliked it..... The use of instruments and the way they are used sounds completely out of place.
The whole approach sounds terribly interventionist.

Which makes life more easy....a lot of expensive discs not to consider.... 8)

Q

Hi Que,

This Dufay recording by Cantica Symphonia is my favorite by this composer:



The instrumental accompaniment fits quite well, I feel.  It's really excellent.  :)

The instruments do not sound out of place at all here; they include organ, violins, harps and lute.  Other Cantica Symphonia recordings add other instruments to the mix, such as cornets and trombones, but here, the voices and instruments go very well together.

I was able to purchase this recording for under $5 U.S. - an incredible bargain.  ;)

Offline sanantonio

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #937 on: January 21, 2017, 04:01:40 PM »
I've sampled their recordings on several occasions, and every time I really disliked it..... The use of instruments and the way they are used sounds completely out of place.
The whole approach sounds terribly interventionist.

Which makes life more easy....a lot of expensive discs not to consider.... 8)

Q

I admit to leaning in your direction.  I didn't have to invest anything to hear it on Spotify, which is a great service to sample before buying.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #938 on: January 21, 2017, 11:36:35 PM »
It would be misleading to suggest that instrumental participation in 15th century sacred music is "out of place", to use que's expression.

In an interview on the glossa website  Maletto said that he thought that instruments and voices works well for Dufay because of the complexity of the voicing in the music, as if he uses the different timbres of  the instruments to  clarify what's going on for the listener. This doesn't sound stupid to me, and as far as I can see it's quite stylish. Whether Maletto always succeeds in this aim is a moot point of course, but the aim seems laudable.

There's an interesting set of notes about this and other aspects of performance practice on Blue Heron's site.

« Last Edit: January 21, 2017, 11:39:52 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Que

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Re: The Early Music Club (EMC)
« Reply #939 on: January 22, 2017, 12:59:20 AM »
It would be misleading to suggest that instrumental participation in 15th century sacred music is "out of place", to use que's expression.


I wouldn't suggest that either. As a matter of personal preference am not so keen on the use of instruments.
Since my knowledge on the mater is way too limited, I have have no general opinon on the historical authenticity of such an approach.
And frankly I am more interested in whether I enjoy what I hear - it is just that historical informed performances often lead me into the right direction.

Whatever the merits of Maletto's reasons and justifications, it totally rubs me the wrong way.
I indeed have read before he want to "help" the listener to dicifer the complexities of the music. Well....no, thanks, I'm good.... 8)
I have listened my way into this kind of music the hard way, which turned out to be very rewarding. :)

Q
À chacun son goût.

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