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Love can transpose things bass and viol to form and dignity.

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Mandryka:
The title is of course taken from the start of A Midsummer Night's Dream.


--- Quote ---Things base and vile, holding no quantity,
Love can transpose to form and dignity.
Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind.
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind
--- End quote ---




It's to the violist Jonathan Durnford that I owe the realisation that  music for viol solo has multiple summits which are as interesting to hear, and hence as "great" , as any solo cello music.

This recording of solo viol music attributed to Le Sieur Du Buisson is one of those summits. Austere, rich in counterpoint, meditative, complicated and full of variety:  Dunford's style, which is very much based on shades of grey and on clarity of voicing, suits this cerebral and spiritual music to a tee.

I'm no expert in viol, but I hear in Dunford's recordings something I've heard too infrequently from others: he occasionally plays the instrument like a lute. I love this. I love the huge contrast of texture it brings. I hazard a guess that lute is a major influence on Jonathan Dunford. Even when he bows, the sound he makes is quite often short like a plucked instrument, rarely long and rich and resonant like an organ. I wonder if this way of playing viol influenced the way Wispelwey plays the prelude to the 4th cello suite in his 3rd recording of the Bach. Would that Dunford would record the Bach!

What was the function of this sort of music? Private mediation?  Prayer in solitude? These performances make me think again about sacred and secular in early music: I bet that the boundary is fuzzy.


aligreto:

--- Quote from: Mandryka on February 05, 2016, 11:55:56 PM ---


It's to the violist Jonathan Durnford that I owe the realisation that  music for viol solo has multiple summits which are as interesting to hear, and hence as "great" , as any solo cello music.

This recording of solo viol music attributed to Le Sieur Du Buisson is one of those summits. Austere, rich in counterpoint, meditative, complicated and full of variety:  Dunford's style, which is very much based on shades of grey and on clarity of voicing, suits this cerebral and spiritual music to a tee.

I'm no expert in viol, but I hear in Dunford's recordings something I've heard rarely, if ever, from others: he occasionally plays the instrument like a lute. Pizzicato. I love this. I love the huge contrast of texture it brings. I hazard a guess that lute is a major influence on Jonathan Dunford. Even when he bows, the sound he makes is quite often short like a plucked instrument, rarely long and rich and resonant like an organ. I wonder if this way of playing viol influenced the way Wispelwey plays the prelude to the 4th cello suite in his 3rd recording of the Bach. Would that Dunford would record the Bach!

What was the function of this sort of music? Private mediation?  Prayer in solitude? These performances make me think again about sacred and secular in early music: I bet that the boundary is fuzzy.

--- End quote ---

I am even less of an expert on the viol than you claim to be but I also like the sound of the viol family of instruments. What appeals to me is the tone and the sonority, especially from those instruments in the lower register. That CD looks very appealing from what you describe.

Mandryka:


A large number of pieces for viol and organ by Louis Couperin. Sensitively and lovingly played by Anne Marie Lasla and Olivier Vernet. Initial impressions is that this is the real McCoy. A gem of a performance, rapt and atmospheric.

10 viol pieces by Louis Couperin, with the rest by Du Mage Mont and others. I'd be interested to know whether others sense the true voice of Louis Couperin - I don't know, but I like the it  as much as I like Louis Couperin's organ music.

(: premont :):

--- Quote from: Mandryka on February 09, 2016, 02:07:25 PM ---
10 viol pieces by Louis Couperin, with the rest by Du Mage and others. I'd be interested to know whether others sense the true voice of Louis Couperin - I don't know, but I like the it  as much as I like Louis Couperin's organ music.

--- End quote ---

Excusez-moi, I am confused.

Are the L. Couperin pieces transcriptions of some of his organ music? Or newly discovered ??? original music for viol?

And what about Du Mage? Viol music?. His only surviving work is the Premier livre d'orgue.

Mandryka:

--- Quote from: (: premont :) on February 10, 2016, 05:46:37 AM ---
Are the L. Couperin pieces transcriptions of some of his organ music? Or newly discovered ??? original music for viol?



--- End quote ---

Allegedly. Apparently they are early pieces from the Bauyn manuscript. Here's what the booklet says (which makes me think that I should see if there is a biography of Louis Couperin. )


--- Quote ---The Regrets

One can only regret that the young Louis Couperin did not leave more music for the first instrument which brought him out of the shadows into public light. One regrets that so few traces of his life remain, because his music is full of eloquent love and impassioned force; one regrets, too, that it is still not possible to have access to the two five-part viol fantasias that are part of the Oldham manuscript, having survived the fate of pages wilfully torn up, pages of music formerly composed for a fleeting instant of time, and depriving future generations of all the other fragments no doubt missing as well... while regretting that it is still impossible to have a full version of the complete works including pieces like this, which would quite cer-tainly have illustrated the fullness of his inspiration. Of his music for viols, only the first flow-ers remain, and very few masterpieces. For Couperin, Malherbe’ s phrase was not to ring true: ‘ ...and the fruit shall bring forth what the flowers promised’ . He did not have the time.

The Flowers

Each of the pieces recorded here, even if not perfect or fully mature, is as rich in emotion, youth, dynamism, and eloquence as it is also in the science of composition and in gravity: in a word, filled with princely beauty. Each piece reflects the timid but simple and modest soul of our defunct Orpheus. Are these pieces undated memories of his musical origins, affectionately preserved in the organ section of the Bauyn manuscript? Their place in the manuscript as well as that of the ‘ Pseaumes’ was the starting point of the pleasing partner-ship of the organ with the viol, desired in this recording. Or were they moments of glory at the court, vestiges of the prestigious post of treble violist to the King? It matters little whether the setting was in a provincial town, in the Louvre or in Paris; with music like this Louis would have succeeded brilliantly.... His imagination fires his melodies and each new turning is a surprise. The composer’ s changing moods result in unorthodox harmonies which astonished the listener. Each piece reminds one of a ‘ palais de Luxembourg’ , with its antique columns and rooms filled with paintings by Rubens; or the wealthy Marie de Medici and the Italian Mazarin. At this period classicism was just one facet of baroque style and Louis Couperin wrote like Corneille before Racine came on the scene. France had yet to adopt a specific style, although it was clearly in gestation. And so Louis took pleasure in abrupt rhythmic changes and harmonic clashes, making this very personal touch a recog-nisable hallmark of his individual style, characteristic of true genius. He was a born impro-viser who composed guided by his inspiration, separating, for instance, a treble viol solo passage from its string continuo bass in order to create a passage of lyrical grandeur; the same is true for three notes in the bass in the Fantaisie, pars operis 142.

Louis Couperin’ s music for viols has so much to tell, and its rhetorical mastery is eloquent. He is capable of remarkable concision, and can pack everything into a short eight bar-phrase. Some of his music, for example the ‘ Pseaumes’ , pars operis 137 & 138, reminds one of a French-inspired haiku, or short Japanese poem, with its characteristic fresh lightness. But at the same time these pieces are like tender loving words which one could well imagine as part of a dialogue between Romeo and Juliet. This is not the only occasion when Louis Couperin associates heightened dramatic tension with concisely-wrought compositions. The harpsichord works include a sarabande, pars operis 60, which is a masterpiece of increasing excitement, reminiscent of an emboldened young lover, followed by an instant of hesitation, as if the girl were feigning indifference. In the end all is concluded with loving elegance. The Symphonie pars operis 146 for viols is even more audacious, telling the same tale, and using an unusually asymmetrical and thoroughly baroque plan which has led many experts to think that the manuscript was incomplete. It starts with a vision of the treble viol pouring out its complaint in a declamatory gesture, when all of a sudden the bass viol arrives on the scene with a lyrical outburst. This is followed by a short reply from the treble viol, taking the form of an unconvincing speech for the defence, albeit full of promises. The bass viol is all the more convincing in its declaration. Couperin introduces a harmonic device which requires the instrument to emphasise the argument by means of playing chords. The treble viol’ s immediate answer is a cascade of semiquavers, suggesting a declaration, encouraged by the discreet underlining presence of a now-pacified bass viol. This arabesque has led the listener in an impassioned yet perfectly natural way to a triple-time dance section, a verita-ble lovers’ duet with an emotional climax to conclude the scene that has just been enacted. Would anyone dispute the title of ‘ les fiançailles’ or ‘ la déclaration’ ? Surely this music foreshadows the descriptive titles used by his nephew François Couperin? The programme corresponds to Chopin’ s Etude in C sharp minor, opus 25 no.7, not to mention many other romantic works. And yet are we really so far from the world of Monteverdi and Cavalli’s large-scale operas to detect something of their style? Only words are lacking.

Similar dramatic awareness is to be found in the Symphonie pars operis 145. The ear is sud-denly accosted by the sound of viols, as if making an effort to hear the sound like the amazed guests of Jacques Champion de Chambonnières the day of the serenade for the feast of St Jacques at Chaumes (24 July, 1651). This trio may well exemplify the high-spirited style of three Couperin brothers; it is full of youthful enthusiasm, anxiety and melancholy, but lack-ing in classical perfection. Could one imagine a better reason why this promising genius was invited to Paris?

It is already time to leave his company, although there is no shortage of music should we wish to stay with him. Keyboard transcriptions of viol pieces may be an attractive idea. The Pavane, an Allemande in earlier style and the Piémontaise are all pieces which sound very convincing when played by viols. One particular piece, the bass division for organ, is clear evidence of a lost art, Louis having been an excellent performer on the viol. The dazzling virtuosity of the art of variation-writing and improvising for the viola bastarda on songs and popular tunes was an art which corresponded perfectly to the youthful force of his compositions, and which he tran-scribed for the St Gervais organ, using a ‘ jeu de tierce’ or the cromorne stop. Certainly many of these bass divisions (variations) cannot easily be considered as original viol music, but rather thought of as reconstructions or later performances of improvised and lost pieces. This appears to be the case of the rather truculent fantaisie pars operis 214, Oldham 69, the superb declama-tory character of which seems to come straight from a collection of part-books by Selma y Salaverde (fl 1638). It has often been stated that Louis Couperin invented this particular genre for the organ. Even if this was not the case (and it would mean under-estimating his predeces-sors’ art of marrying instrumental colours), then it certainly provided him for a long time with the breezy style of the viol.

The Fruit

Let us remain in touch with his sources of inspiration, and the same profound noble sense of style, (royal duties making it necessary - sous-maître of the King’ s Music, Composer of the Chapel, and the Queen’ s Master of the Music) expressed in the works of the great Henri Dumont, whose music was more traditional and more adult, yet so closely related to Couperin in style. Dumont’ s works are truly regal in their beauty, the fruit that one hoped Louis Couperin’ s music would bear. . .



--- End quote ---


--- Quote from: (: premont :) on February 10, 2016, 05:46:37 AM ---Excusez-moi, I am confused.


And what about Du Mage? Viol music?. His only surviving work is the Premier livre d'orgue.

--- End quote ---

Me who's confused -- mont not mage!

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