Sunday November 6, 2022 – 3 pm
Jim Barrett, bass and recorders
Laura Evans, alto
Sarah Fay, soprano and recorders
Erica Warnock, Viola da gamba and recorders
Codex las Huelgas 1300
Anonymous, King’s Primer 1545
O LORD THE MAKER OF ALL THING
Orlando di Lasso 1532-1594
MISSA DOULCE MEMOIRE KYRIE
Josquin des Pres 1450-1521
IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI
Pierre Sandrin 1490-after 1561
FINI LE BIEN
Richard Farrant 1530-1580
CALL TO REMEMBRANCE
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina 1525-1594
SUPER FLUMINA BABYLONIS
Tielman Susato 1510/15-after1570
Lodovico Grossi da Viadana 1560-1627
Mark Johnson B.?
Jacob Handl 1550-1591
TEXTS AND TRANSLATIONS
ANONYMOUS, CODEX LAS HUELGAS 1300
Quis dabit capiti meo aquam
Who will give water to my head
et populis meis fontem lacrimarum
and a fountain of tears for my eyes,
ut plorem die ac nocte
that I may weep day and night
interfectos filios populi mei?
for the slain children of my people?
ANONYMOUS, KING’S PRIMER 1545
O Lord, the maker of all thing
O Lord, the maker of all thing
We pray thee now in this evening
Us to defend through thy mercy
From all deceit of our enemy.
Let neither us deluded be,
Good Lord, with dream or fantasy;
Our hearts waking in thee thou keep
That we in sin fall not on sleep.
O Father, through thy blessed Son,
Grant us this our petition,
To whom, with the Holy Ghost always,
In heaven and earth be laud and praise.
ORLANDO DI LASSO
Kyrie, Missa Doulce Memoire
Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy
JOSQUIN DEZ PRES
Tu solus qui facis mirabilia,
You alone can do wonders,
Tu solus Creator, qui creasti nos,
You alone are the Creator, and created us;
Tu solus Redemptor, qui redemisti nos
You alone are the Redeemer, and redeemed us
sanguine tuo pretiosissimo
With your precious blood
Ad te solum confugimus,
In you alone we find refuge,
in te solum confidimus
In you alone we trust,
nec alium adoramus,
None other do we worship,
Ad te preces effundimus
To you we pour out our prayers,
exaudi quod supplicamus,
Hear our supplication,
et concede quod petimus,
and grant us our request,
O King of kindness!
D'ung aultre amer,
To love another
Nobis esset fallacia:
Would be deceitful;
Magna esset stultitia et peccatum.
Would be great madness and sin.
Audi nostra suspiria,
Hear our sighing,
Replenos tua gratia,
Fill us with your grace,
O rex regum,
O King of kings!
Ut ad tua servitia
So that in your service
Sistamus cum laetitia in aeternum.
We may remain with joy for ever
In te Domine speravi
In te Domine speravi
In you Lord did I hope
Per trovar pietà in eterno.
To find pity for ever.
Ma in un tristo e obscuro inferno
But in a sad and dark hell
Fui et frustra laboravi.
I was, and suffered in vain.
Rotto e al vento ogni speranza
Broken and thrown to the wind is all hope.
Veggio il ciel voltarmi in pianto.
I have seen heaven turn me to weeping.
Suspir lacrime m'avanza
Only sighs and tears remain
Del mio tristo sperar tanto.
To me of my sad, strong hope.
Fui ferito, se non quanto tribulando
I was wounded, but in my sorrow
ad te clamavi.
I called upon Thee.
In te Domine speravi.
In Thee O Lord did I hope.
Doulce memoire en plaisir consummée,
Sweet memory, consummated in pleasure,
O siècle heureulx qui cause tel scavoir,
Our happy time of such understanding.
La fermeté de nous deux tant aymée,
The constancy of our two loving souls
Qui à nos maulx a sceut si bien pourvoir
Which could triumph over all adversity
Or maintenant a perdu son pouvoir,
Has now, alas, lost all its former power
Rompant le but de ma seul' espérance
And all my hopes are completely dashed,
Servant d’exemple à tous piteux à veoir
A sad, sad case for pitying eyes to see.
Fini le bien, le mal soudain commence
Good is finished, misfortune has beset us.
Fini le bien
Fini le bien le mal soubdain commence,
Good is finished, misfortune has beset us.
tesmoings en sont noz malheurs qu'on peult veoir,
It is misfortune to see your faults
car tout le bien trouvé par l’espérance,
Because Evil, through his power,
le mal nous l'a remis en son pouvoir.
has returned to us all our pleasurable hopes
O tant d'ennuy qui as voulu pourveoir
as much discontent to one who craved
de varier la fermeté aymée,
variety to love's constancy.
il auroit bien qui scauroit ton scavoir
It goes well for those who foresee this.
Doulce memoire en plaisir consommée.
Sweet memory, consummated in pleasure.
Call to remembrance
Call to remembrance, O Lord
Thy tender mercies
and Thy loving kindness,
which hath been ever of old,
O remember not the sins and offences of my youth:
but according to Thy mercy
think Thou on me, O Lord,
for Thy goodness.
GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI DA PALESTRINA
Super flumina babylonis
Super flumina babylonis
By the waters of Babylon
illic sedimus et flevimus
we sat down and wept
dum recordaremur Sion.
when we remembered thee, O Sion.
In salicibus in medio ejus
On the willows there
suspendimus organa nostra
We hung up our harps
LODOVICO GROSSI DA VIADANA
Exultate justi in Domino
Exultate justi in Domino
Rejoice in the Lord,
rectos decet collaudatio.
O ye just; praise befits the upright.
Confitemini Domino in cithara;
Give praise to the Lord on the harp;
in psalterio decem chordarum psallite illi.
sing to him with the psaltery, the instrument of ten strings.
Cantate ei canticum novum;
Sing to him a new song,
bene psallite ei in vociferatione.
sing well unto him with a loud noise.
Blessed are those who mourn
They shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
They shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness
They shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
They shall gain mercy.
Blest are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
They are the children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for my sake
Theirs is the Kingdom of heav’n.
JACOB HANDL/JACOBUS GALLUS
Beati estes cum maledixerint vobis
Blessed are you when people insult you
et persecuti vos fuerint
and persecute you
et dixerint omne malum adversum vos mentientes propter me
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Gaudete et exultate quoniam merces vestra copiosa est in caelis
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.
1918 We will remember
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine,
May eternal light shine on them, Lord,
cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, quia pius es.
with your saints for ever, for you are good.
Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine,
Give them eternal rest, Lord,
et lux perpetua luceat eis
and may light perpetual shine upon them. Amen
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Codex las Huelgas, 1300
The Codex Las Huelgas is a music manuscript or codex from c. 1300 which originated in and has remained in the Cistercian convent of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas in Burgos, in northern Spain. The convent was a wealthy one which had connections with the royal family of Castile. The manuscript was rediscovered in 1904 by two Benedictine monks who were researching Gregorian chant. The manuscript contains 45 monophonic pieces (20 sequences, 5 conductus, 10 Benedicamus tropes) and 141 polyphonic compositions. Most of the music dates from the late 13th century, with some music from the first half of the 13th century (Notre Dame Repertory), and a few later additions from the first quarter of the 14th century. Many of the pieces are not found in any other manuscripts. It is written on parchment, with the staves written in red ink with Franconian notation. The bulk of material is written in one hand, although as many as 12 people contributed to it, including corrections and later additions. Johannes Roderici (Juan Rodríguez in modern Spanish) inscribed his name in a number of places in the manuscript. He may have composed a couple of the pieces in the manuscript, as well as being scribe, compiler, and corrector, according to his own inscriptions. The manuscript was intended for use in performance, and raises questions regarding performance practice of the pieces it contains, especially the polyphonic repertory. The monastery had a choir of 100 women at one point in the 13th century, and it is believed that this choir of women performed the polyphonic works in the manuscript, despite the Cistercian rules against the performance of polyphonic music. The manuscript contains two-part solfège exercises with notations on their use in the convent. – Paul Van Nevel
Anonymous, King’s Primer 1545
O Lord the Maker of All Thing
The text, a metric translation of the hymn Te lucis ante terminum, is from the King’s Primer of 1545, but the earliest music sources date from 1625, some thirty-five years after Mundy’s death. British Library MS Harley 7339, dated 1716, claims that the piece was ‘composed first in Latin by Henry VIII and sung in his own Royall Chappell’ although the scribe, Thomas Tudway, is known for confusing details. Manuscripts, dated 1664, of music sung at Durham Cathedral, attribute the work to John Sheppard, however, Mundy is clearly given credit in a Durham Cathedral Library organ book of 1635. Thomas Tudway’s score of 1716 was copied from a Chapel Royal source which no longer survives. William Mundy became a Gentleman of St George’s Chapel in 1564, during the reign of Elizabeth I. If Mundy did produce this piece in Henry’s reign, then he would have done so when he was still Head Chorister at Westminster Abbey in his late teens!
ORLANDO DI LASSO
Born: 1532, Mons, Hainaut, Wallonie, Belgium
Died: 14 June 1594
Missa Doulce Memoire - Kyrie
Orlande de Lassus was one of the most important, famous and influential composers of late Renaissance music representing the Franco-Flemish School of vocal polyphony. Along with Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina of the Roman School he is today considered to be the chief representative of the mature polyphonic style of the Franco-Flemish School, and he was the most famous and influential musician in Europe at the end of the 16th century.
One of the most admired composers of the Renaissance, Orlando di Lasso was the first great composer whose fame spread through printed music. A master of many musical forms, Lasso wrote more than 1,000 compositions ranging from religious Masses to secular songs.
Lasso grew up in the Flemish town of Mons and received his earliest musical training there. His original name was probably Roland de Lassus. As a boy he was kidnapped three times for his beautiful voice. Between 1544 and 1554 Lasso traveled through Italy, staying in Milan, Naples, and Rome, where he became choirmaster of a major church. His years in Italy played a crucial role in his musical development, so much so that he permanently changed his name to its Italian version.
Lasso returned home in 1554 to find that his parents had died. He then moved to Antwerp, where he lived until 1556. He left when the duke of Bavaria hired him to sing in the court chapel. The duke named him head of his chapel in Munich, one of Europe's leading musical establishments, in 1562. Lasso held the position for the remainder of his life, becoming the most famous and admired composer in Europe during his time. Critics hailed him as the "prince of music" and "the divine Orlando."
Lasso excelled in all types of vocal music of his day. His work included more than 500 motets (songs written for several voices), about 60 Masses, and hundreds of other musical works. While he set most of his compositions to sacred texts, some celebrated secular occasions or individuals. The most essential aspect of Lasso's music was his ability to express the meaning of the words in a song through rhythm, melody, harmony, and other musical elements.
Almost 60 masses have survived complete; most of them are parody masses using as melodic source, material secular works written by himself or other composers. Technically impressive, they are nevertheless the most conservative part of his output. He usually conformed the style of the mass to the style of the source material, which ranged from Gregorian chant to contemporary madrigals, but always maintained an expressive and reverent character in the final product.
Several of his masses are based on extremely secular French chansons. The Kyrie on today’s program is based on a French chanson by Pierre Regnault alias Sandrin, a successful composer at the French court. The chanson, Doulce Memoire was composed around 1537. This was a very popular piece and Diego Ortiz made a series with diminutions upon this madrigal.
In addition to his traditional imitation masses, he wrote a considerable quantity of missae breves, "brief masses", syllabic short masses meant for brief services. For example, on days when Duke Albrecht went hunting: evidently he did not want to be detained by long-winded polyphonic music. The most extreme of these is a work actually known as the Jäger Mass (Missa venatorum)—the "Hunter's Mass".
Some of his masses show influence from the Venetian School, particularly in their use of polychoral techniques (for example, in the eight-voice Missa osculetur me, based on his own motet). Three of his masses are for double choir, and they may have been influential on the Venetians themselves; after all, Andrea Gabrieli visited Lassus in Munich in 1562, and many of Lassus' works were published in Venice. Even though Lassus used the contemporary, sonorous Venetian style, his harmonic language remained conservative in these works: he adapted the texture of the Venetians to his own artistic ends.
JOSQUIN DES PRES
Born: c. 1450, Condé-sur-l’Escaut, Burgundian Hainaut, France
Died: 27 August, 1521, Condé-sur-l’Escaut, France
Josquin’s early life has been the subject of much scholarly debate, and the first solid evidence of his work comes from a roll of musicians associated with the cathedral in Cambrai in the early 1470s. During the late 1470s and early ’80s, he sang for the courts of René I of Anjou and Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza of Milan, and from 1486 to about 1494 he performed for the papal chapel. Sometime between then and 1499, when he became choirmaster to Duke Ercole I of Ferrara, he apparently had connections with the Chapel Royal of Louis XII of France and with the Cathedral of Cambrai. In Ferrara he wrote, in honor of his employer, the mass Hercules Dux Ferrariae, and his motet Miserere was composed at the duke’s request. He seems to have left Ferrara on the death of the duke in 1505 and later became provost of the collegiate church of Notre Dame in Condé.
Josquin’s compositions fall into the three principal categories of motets, masses, and chansons. Of the 20 masses that survive complete, 17 were printed in his lifetime in three sets (1502, 1505 and 1514) by Ottaviano dei Petrucci. His motets and chansons were included in other Petrucci publications, from the Odhecaton (an anthology of popular chansons) of 1501 onward, and in collections of other printers. Musical laments on his death by Nicolas Gombert, Benedictus Appenzeller, and Hieronymus Vinders are extant. Martin Luther expressed great admiration for Josquin’s music, calling him “master of the notes, which must do as he wishes; other composers must do as the notes wish.” In his musical techniques he stands at the summit of the Renaissance, blending traditional forms with innovations that later became standard practices. The expressiveness of his music marks a break with the medieval tradition of more abstract music.
In his motets, particularly, Josquin gave free reign to his talent, expressing sorrow in poignant harmonies, employing suspension for emphasis, and taking the voices gradually into their lowest registers when the text speaks of death. Josquin used the old cantus firmus style, but he also developed the motet style that characterized the 16th century after him. His motets, as do his masses, show an approach to the modern sense of tonality.
In his later works he gradually abandoned cantus firmus technique for parody and paraphrase. He also frequently used the techniques of canon and of melodic imitation.
In his chansons Josquin was the principal exponent of a style new in the mid-15th century, in which the learned techniques of canon and counterpoint were applied to secular song. He abandoned the fixed forms of the rondeau and the ballade, employing freer forms of his own device. Though a few chansons are set chordally rather than polyphonically, a number of others are skilled examples of counterpoint in five or six voices, maintaining sharp rhythms, straightforwardness, and clarity of texture.
The Franco-Flemish composer Josquin des Prez is often regarded as the greatest polyphonic master of the Renaissance, second only to J. S. Bach in the art of counterpoint. "Tu solus qui facis mirabilia" is one of the few works of Josquin that is more chordal than polyphonic, thus evoking a more hymn-like quality. The rich, lower register of the voicing creates a direct, human and profound effect. As was typical in the Renaissance, sacred and secular text and music are mingled. The second part of "Tu solus qui facis mirabilia" opens with a musical and poetic quotation of Ockeghem’s song, "D’ung aultre amer," one of the most widely disseminated songs of the late fourteenth century. The secular poem is easily transferred to a sacred setting, and in the context of "Tu solus" becomes an expression of faith and devotion.
In Te Domine Speravi
Josquin's curious little piece on the Latin and Italian text In te, Domine, speravi, per trovar pieta stands at the juncture of several different genres of fifteenth century musical composition. The earliest published source for the piece is a 1504 anthology by Ottaviano Petrucci of the frottola, a lighthearted genre of Italian secular music; In te, Domine does resemble many such pieces in its lively character and chordal style. The text, however, most easily lends itself to a sacred reading: "In Thee, O Lord, have I trusted, that I may find mercy." And the musical style of the frottola closely matches a genre of Italian vernacular devotional music, sung in processions and paraliturgical praise services, known as the lauda. Josquin's In te, Domine, in fact, opens with music for the first few measures almost identical to a Paduan lauda preserved in a Capetown manuscript, with vernacular devotional text "A questa aspra penitentia." Further complicating the generic situation is the existence of several manuscript versions with sacred Latin texts instead of Italian, implying an attempt to elevate the piece to motet status (in a late medieval hierarchy of genres!). Finally, an anecdotal account of a 1547 event in Josquin's life suggests the politics of courtly patronage as a possible context for the composition. Josquin, the vignette says, once became impatient while waiting to receive his wages from an early employer, Cardinal Ascanio Sforza. To gently prod the Cardinal, he composed the frottola El Grillo, about a cricket who sings for love (even when he has no food?), and also a sycophantic In thee, O Lord, do I place my trust. While the anecdote may be entirely apocryphal, the spunky little piece of music it associated with the story has been charming listeners since Josquin's day.
Alias: Pierre Regnault dit Sandrin
Born: c. 1490
Died: after 1561
The birthdate is estimated from a payment in 1506 toward the education of a "Pierre Sandrin". He appears to have been an actor named Pierre Renault, Sandrin being a character in the farce Le savetier qui ne respont que chansons who could only speak in names of songs. Our composer held numerous chapel posts in France and Italy, but the surviving oeuvre consists of only 50 4-part chansons and one madrigal. In 1560 he made a will in Paris and returned to Rome, where he vanishes from the record.
Sandrin was a prolific composer of chansons in the middle of the 16th century, some of which were extremely popular and widely distributed. Stylistically, Sandrin's music resembles that of Claudin de Sermisy, the more famous composer of Parisian chansons, although Sandrin's blends Italian influences with the native French style. His chansons tend to be homophonic, with occasional contrapuntal detail, but the later ones employ many of the rhythmic devices common in Italian secular music of the period, particularly the frottola, and also are filled with madrigalisms such as word-painting.
One of his chansons, Doulce memoire, became one of the most popular pieces of the entire 16th century, and exists in countless copies and arrangements in sources in many countries; it was a particular favorite of lutenists and keyboard players.
A chanson for 4 voices from "Le Parangon". The lyrics of Doulce mémoire composed by Sandrin are often attributed to Clément Marot, but more likely the work of François I, King of France (1494-1547). The name Doulce Mémoire comes from one of the best-known madrigals of the 16th century: Doulce Memoire by Pierre Regnault, who was also known as Sandrin. This song, with its beautifully simple melodic lines and elegant poetry, was immensely popular throughout the 16th century, and some 30 versions of it are known, written for all kinds and combinations of instruments, from the simplest to the very complex. The chanson evokes nostalgia for something everyone has experienced — a consuming, passionate love that exists only in bittersweet memory.
Fini le Bien
The poetry is attributed to “Le Roy,” most likely François I (1494-1547), and may have been written during his imprisonment in Italy following the 1525 battle of Pavia (the inspiration for many instrumental settings that strive to create random battle noises, a variation form popular throughout the 16th century). Music for the résponce, “Fini le bien” is attributed to Pierre Certon (c. 1510 – 1572), and while the music diverges in melodic detail from the original by Sandrin, the text itself is, at least in spirit, a repetition of the first verse beginning with the last line working backward. Fini le bien was first published: 1544 in Second livre des chansons a quatre parties, no. 11.
Richard Farrant, English composer, choirmaster, and theatrical producer, who established the original Blackfriars Theatre, home to the outstanding children’s companies of the Elizabethan era. Farrant was a gentleman of the Chapel Royal until 1564, when he was appointed organist and choirmaster to St. George’s Chapel, Windsor; this post entailed the annual presentation of a play before the queen, which led to the creation of the Children of Windsor, a boys theatrical company formed from members of the choir. Farrant’s skill at directing the Children of Windsor led to his appointment in 1576 as deputy of William Hunnis, director of the Children of the Chapel. From that point until his death in 1580, Farrant directed productions for both companies, sometimes combining the two. In addition to his theatrical successes, Farrant was a respected musician and composer. He served as the queen’s organist and wrote music for the plays, as well as anthems and a service.
Richard Farrant was a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal and appears in a list of members in 1552, but resigned in 1564. Within the space of a dozen years, he participated in the funeral of Edward VI, the coronation and funeral of Mary I and the coronation of Elizabeth I. Farrant witnessed important developments in Latin Church music, but his limited output is chiefly in English. In 1564, Farrant became master of the choristers and organist at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor. He began to write and produce plays for the children of Windsor and the children of St. George’s Chapel that mixed drama and music. As a result, he became one of the first composers of English verse anthems, in which a solo voice or voices sing a verse, followed by a choral section. Verse anthems had the dual advantages of allowing text to be expressed more clearly and reducing the requirement for rehearsal time, and many early verse anthems were written for choirboys. In 1569, Farrant returned to London as master of the choristers of the Chapel Royal and retained that post.
The Blackfriars Theatre in London was built on the grounds of a former Dominican monastery. In 1576, Farrant leased part of the former buttery, claiming to need the space for his child choristers from St. George’s Chapel to practice plays for the Queen. Farrant also staged plays for paying audiences, combining his Windsor children with the Children of the Chapel Royal, directed by William Hunnis.
Few of Farrant's compositions survive. Best known are a service and the anthems Call to Remembrance and Hide Not Thou Thy Face. Other compositions attributed simply to "Farrant" in early sources may be by him or by one of two or more John Farrants, active in Salisbury in the late 16th and early 17th century. The piece holds an historical place within the Oxford Book of Tudor Anthems.
Call to Remembrance
Call to Remembrance is based on Psalm 25:6-7. A tradition of the Sovereign giving alms to the poor on Maundy Thursday dates from the thirteenth century. The Sovereign also used to give food and clothing and washed the recipients' feet until the reign of James II, long after Farrant’s death. In Farrant’s lifetime, the service was held in Whitehall Chapel and Call to Remembrance became one of the standing anthems sung by the Children of the Chapel Royal.
GIOVANNI PIERLUIGI DA PALESTRINA
Born: c. 1525, Palestrina, near Rome
Died: 2 February, 1594, Rome
Super Flumina Babylonis
Both in his life and after, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was renowned for the perceived perfection of his style. Legends quickly grew that he had "saved church music" during the Council of Trent, and the papal choir continued singing his music for centuries after his death. The seventeenth century viewed the "Palestrina style" as antique, but classical and still worthy of emulation; it remained an active musical language in the eighteenth. The nineteenth century's Cecilian movement sought to reclaim church music's Golden age by revisiting Palestrina's music, and in the twentieth, the early music revival gave him yet another vogue. Each era has looked at Palestrina's music and seen something that is balanced and pure, that deals judiciously with dissonance, and that carefully molds each phrase into an elegant arch. This is not to call his music bland; Palestrina was perfectly capable of writing poignant and affective melodies as well as classically elegant ones. He also frequently used subtle "madrigalisms" to paint the nuances of his text. All these elements of style are present together in one of his more famous motets, Super flumina babylonis.
Palestrina's four-voiced Super flumina babylonis was first printed in his second book of motets. This 1581 volume, from the Gardano press in Venice, contains a large number of his most popular works, some of which must have graced the liturgy of the papal chapel for many years. As is common in Palestrina's motet style, each phrase of his text receives one musical phrase; several begin with classic Points of Imitation. The Psalm text, however, paints the extraordinarily somber image of the Israelites in captivity: they sit by the side of the rivers in Babylon and hang up their harps, unable to sing in this strange country. Palestrina responds to this text by allowing each voice to sing the first melody in the mournful Hypophrygian mode. There follows a phrase about the Israelites' weeping, and the composer sets it to an uncharacteristically chromatic series of chords, flats following sharps. This is not his usual "perfection!" A second imitative passage, again to a downward-leading melody, speaks of the memory of lost Zion. The last and longest phrase of the piece actually contains two musical puns. At the word “suspendimus” (we hang), Palestrina gives each voice a melody just like a common "suspension" figure. In Latin, the object of the hanging is the organa; here he writes a clever evocation of "ancient music," or organum.
Palestrina’s mastery of strict Renaissance counterpoint was used as a pedagogical model by students of nearly every succeeding generation. "Super flumina Babylonis" is one of his most evocative motets, serving as an example of what is now universally idealized at the “Palestrina style.” This setting of Psalm 137 tells the story of the Children of Israel who have been captured, exiled from Jerusalem, and made slaves. With great poetry, meticulous voice leading and refined dissonance, Palestrina depicts them on the banks of a river, longing to return to their homeland.
Born: c, 1500, Soest, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Died: After 1570
Tielman Susato was important as a composer and very important as a music printer. Much about his origins and early years is unknown. Scholars take his name to mean "from Soest," referring to a Westphalian town in the bishopric of Cologne. This is supported from his occasionally signing himself Tielman Susato Agrippinensis, after the old name for Cologne, Colonia Aggripina. Thus, it is concluded, he was either born in Soest himself or was part of an Antwerp family originating from there.
Records show that in 1529 and 1530 he was a calligrapher at Antwerp Cathedral, and after 1531 added the position of trumpeter to his duties. In 1532 there is reference in the city archives of "Tielman van Colen," a town musician who owned several wind instruments. He continued as a town player until 1540.
In 1541 he went into the printing business, going partners with Henry ter Bruggen, an engraver and map maker who obtained a license to print music late that year, and Willem van Vissenaecken. Something went wrong with this business, and in September 1542 Susato made another partnership, with van Vissenaecken alone. They published a book of motets. This partnership also split, with Susato going into business alone and obtaining his first privilege to print music on July 20, 1543.
Susato ran this business for 18 years, establishing the first important music publishing house in the Low Countries. His publications included both anthologies and books devoted to single composers. One of his projects was a series he called the Musyck boexken, comprising Flemish songs. In the preface to the first one he asked Flemish composers to send him songs "suitable for publication" to show that "our Flemish tongue" was as suitable for music as French, Latin, or Italian. Another of his publications, Souterliedekens, is a group of polyphonic and metrical Dutch psalm settings, intended for the home rather than church.
His most important original music is a set of two books of 50 cantus firmus chansons in "two or three parts," meaning with the bass part optional. This is the largest number of extant cantus firmus chansons by any composer. Susato said in his preface to them that their purpose was to teach and encourage younger people who were not experienced at singing in ensemble. As such, the polyphonic writing is imitative. In addition, Susato also wrote and arranged various dances of the time in relatively simple, more homophonic texture.
Missa Doulce mémoire takes one of the sixteenth century’s greatest hits, by Pierre Regnault dit Sandrin as its inspiration. The chanson Doulce mémoire was published circa 1537 by the Lyons printer Jacques Moderne. Its subject matter, like so many of its genre, is lost love.
LODOVICO GROSSI DA VIADANA
Viadana was a Franciscan monk who held a number of musical posts in churches and cathedrals throughout Italy. His musical style progressed from the polyphony of the Renaissance to concertato style with basso continuo to monodic to Venetian polychoral. He was a key figure in the transition from Renaissance to Baroque eras because of his use of the new figured bass. Viadana’s influence stretched as far as Germany to Schütz, Scheidt, and Schein.
He was among the first to use basso continuo in church music, sometimes utilizing both this and older techniques within the same piece. The preface and musical content of his two-volume Cento concerti ecclesiastici…Con il basso continuo per sonar nel'organo (Venice 1602–07) became a well-known manual for the use of basso continuo in church music.
Exsultate justi in Domino ("Rejoice in the Lord, O Ye Righteous," Psalm 33:1- 3) was part of the Concerti ecclesiastici, Op. 12, a collection of one hundred pieces finished in 1602. Double and triple meters alternate, and Viadana uses the voices to imitate the harp and lyre mentioned in the psalm text. The motet ends with a return to the homophonic first part.
M. Johnson has spent his working life dedicated to the creation and performance of sacred music. Composer, keyboardist and choir director he creates works of profound feeling and nuance from a deep understanding of church and liturgy.
Born: 1550, Reifnitz, Carniola (now Ribnica, Slovenia)
Died: July 18, 1591, Prague, Bohemia (now in Czech Republic)
German-Austrian composer known for his sacred music, a Cistercian monk, Handl traveled in Bohemia, Moravia (now part of the Czech Republic), and Silesia (now southwestern Poland), a member of the Viennese court chapel in 1574, and was choirmaster to the bishop of Olmütz (modern Olomouc, Czech Republic) in 1579–85. His most notable work is the Opus musicum (1590), a collection of motets for the entire year.
His wide-ranging, eclectic style blends archaism and modernity. He rarely used cantus firmus, preferring the then new Venetian polychoral manner, yet he was equally conversant with earlier imitative techniques. Some of his chromatic transitions foreshadowed the breakup of modality; his five-voice motet Mirabile mysterium contains chromaticism worthy of Don Carlo Gesualdo. He enjoyed word painting in the style of the madrigal, yet he could write the simple Ecce quomodo moritur justus later used by George Frideric Handel in his funeral anthem The Ways of Zion Do Mourn (1737).
Within the cycles of the church lectionary this piece was written to accommodate the scripture readings of weeks four through six in ordinary time. Handl’s primary mode of composition was for the church year. Beati Estes sets the closing verses of the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:11–12. The motet as a form represents one of the earliest forms of polyphonic choral composition in Western music. From the Medieval motet of the Middle Ages to avant-garde contemporary motets, the form has been a hallmark of classical music.
Born: 1510, Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain
Diego Ortiz is important to history not only as a leading Spanish composer of the Renaissance era, but also as the author of Trattado di glosas, the first printed instruction book about ornamentation for bowed string orchestras. This was an international success, and was published in Italian. The book contains entirely written-out ornamentations designed to fit specific time periods. The player is directed to determine which was most appropriate, and to write it into his part at the right spot. Furthermore, the work contains studies for bass instruments, treble viol, and keyboard, as well as some madrigals. Like most authentic books on ornamentation and instruction of the period, it is a valuable source of information on performing style of the time.
Not much is known about Ortiz's life. The two versions of his book were published simultaneously (in December 1553) while he was in Naples in the service of Pedro de Urries, a Spaniard who was Duke of Riesi, Sicily. The Italian edition is full of Spanish turns of phrases, which suggests that it was prepared by Ortiz himself, and that the writer had been resident in the Spanish-ruled Italy for some time.
By February 1558 he was named maestro de cappella for Fernando Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba and the Spanish Viceroy of Naples, and kept that position (or perhaps was rehired for it after a hiatus) by the next Viceroy, Pedro Afán de Rivera, Duke of Alcalá, to whom he dedicated his Musices liber primer, which includes some Magnificat settings, all based on plainchants.
Associated with Pierre Sandrin’s “Doulce Mémoire”. Ortiz’s well-known divisions of 1533 represent how composers approached what was the 16th century’s most popular piece. Diego Ortiz offers his artistic opinion regarding the age old theme of lost love.
Mr. Rawson is a musician living and working in Purley on Thames, Berkshire, England, with experience in many musical styles and organizations. His main interest is in composition. A great amount of his compositions have been successfully performed by choirs, schools, churches, groups and solo performers. Recent commissions include two songs for 3-part choirs for the Polish National Forum for Music’s “Singing Poland" project. During the 2020 lockdown Jeremy Rawson composed 59 church introits.
Mr. Rawson is the conductor of Gratis Choir based in Reading, England. For many years, he was a member of the BBC Symphony Chorus, singing a large and challenging repertoire in many concerts, both in the UK and abroad, and in recording sessions each year. He has also sung with numerous local choral societies and has served as conductor for choruses and orchestras. An experienced pianist as an accompanist for soloists on various instruments, singers and with local orchestras, piano and percussion. Trained as a music teacher, gaining a BED degree from the University of Oxford in 1976, and he has taught piano, music theory and aural work successfully.
Mr. Rawson is married with three adult children whom are living and working in Reading and Oxford, complemented by three grandsons and a granddaughter. His wife taught for many years at a local primary school where she was leader of the school musicals. She has directed successful productions of Jeremey’s many musicals performed by the children at her school.
1918: We Will Remember Them
The text is drawn from Laurence Binyon's For the Fallen. This elegiac poem was written around the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. For the Fallen appeared in The Times when it was first published and characterized the general sentiment at the time regarding loss and celebration of the heroic deeds of local men and women. Laurence Binyon addresses the loss of lives in World War I and how they will live on forever in the stars. 1918: We Will Remember Them was composed in 2018 at the centenary of the Great War in honor of Great Britain’s Remembrance Day.
In the first lines of ‘For the Fallen’, the speaker begins by personifying England. He depicts the country as a mother to all her citizens. She thanks them for the services they have given to her. She “mourns her dead across the sea.” They are lost to her shores, but she recognizes the sacrifice they’ve made. It soon becomes clear that they were fighting for freedom, specifically in the First World War. Despite how terrible these losses are, there is still music. It celebrates their bravery.
The following stanzas depict what the soldiers were like who marched into battle. They were sharp, young, loyal, filled with patriotic duty, and firm in their stance against the enemy. They knew their chances of surviving the war were slim, but they fought on and faced down death until it took them.
The speaker discusses how things have changed drastically for these men. They are never going to return home to their families and sit around the table again. They’ve been put to rest far from their native land. But, they will live on in their family member’s memories and in the hearts of all those who benefit from their service. They will shine in the sky as eternal stars, outlasting those who did not die in the war.
Nobuaki Izawa is a Japanese composer, based in Tokyo, Japan. Currently he is a member of Coro Verde (since 1991). He was the student conductor of the Hosei University Academy Chorus (1993-94).
Lux Aeterna is the communion antiphon for the Requiem Mass. As such, it has been set to music by a long standing list of composers including: György Ligeti used it in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the theme song to Requiem for a Dream, written by Clint Mansell and performed by the Kronos Quartet, a section of the liturgy from Messa da Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi as well as Robert Paterson, Morten Lauridsen, Christopher Tin, George Crumb, Vassil Kazandjiev, Joonas Kikkonen, Howard Hanson, Maurice Duruflé, Edward Elgar, Ola Gjeilo and many more. The setting that we hear today was composed by Nobuaki Izawa in 2018.
The lyrics of Lux Aeterna (Light Eternal) are fashioned on texts from several different Latin sources, including the Requiem Mass which contains references to “light.” This is an intimate work of quiet serenity centered on a universal symbol of hope, reassurance, goodness, and illumination.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
The ensemble earlybird began as a few friends meeting around the table each week for the pleasure of singing all kinds of music, particularly that of the Renaissance. They have performed at venues throughout Connecticut, their favorite being the former railroad tunnel at Steep Rock Preserve where they perform candlelit concerts for friends, hikers, dog walkers and riders on bicycle and horseback.
Jim Barrett, bass and recorders
Jim Barrett studied music at Boston University and at Hartt College of Music. He began singingwith Gaudeamus in 1992, and performed with members of that group under the direction of Paul Halley on Pete Seeger’s Grammy-winning album, Pete. Jim was a member of the early music group Everyman Guild for four years, performing in venues such as Sacred Heart University and Music Mountain. He has sung on several recordings for Pelagos Music, including the experimental Sony/Philips super audio CD recording, Sacred Feast, and the Gaudeamus & Chorus Angelicus 2006 CD, “What Child is This?” He is currently a section leader for Crescendo in Lime Rock, CT. A recent review from the Berkshire Eagle stated: "Barrett contributed deep emotional gravitas”.
Laura Evans, alto
Laura Evans has sung in mixed ensembles throughout Connecticut as section leader and soloist. Groups include CONCORA, Composers Choir, Crescendo, Hartford Chorale and New Haven Oratorio Choir. She has been a cantor for area churches, and is currently the cantor at Valley Presbyterian. She is a founding member of earlybird.
Sarah Fay, soprano and recorders
Sarah Fay, Bachelor of Music, Boston University and MS in Music Education from WCSU, has studied choral conducting at the Hartt College of Music, and early music at the Vancouver Music Festival. She is Music Director and Organist for the First Congregational Church of New Milford, where she directs the Senior Choir. She is an Adjunct Vocal Music and Piano Instructor at the Frederick Gunn School, and works with the Vocal Performance and FineLine Voices at FineLine Theater Arts. Sarah taught choir at Fox Lane Middle School in Bedford, NY for 30 years. She has performed with Crescendo, Composers Choir, New Haven Oratorio Society, the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus and the Putnam Chorale.
Erica Warnock, Viola da gamba and recorders
Erica Warnock grew up in a household surrounded by musicians where her love of early music was kindled. Principal teachers have been Lawrence Lipnik and Grace Feldman. One the years she has performed with the Everyman Guild, Wykeham Consort, Parthenia, and recorded video game soundtracks with husband Guy Wolff. She particularly loves playing with singers, because the human voice is what all instruments aspire to evoke.