Category Archives: Renaissance

The Henry VIII book

Henry VIII Book

In 2014 DIAMM facsimiles published The Henry VIII book, a full-color facsimile of GB-Lbl MS Add.31922, which contains many works by Henry VIII of England.

This new edition presents over 260 full-color page images plus an 85-page introduction by David Fallows, who examines the book with fresh eyes and shares considerable new information about the content and context of this manuscript.

Below, two of King Henry’s works for recorders.

Comments Off on The Henry VIII book

Filed under New editions, Renaissance

A catalogue of Mass, Office, and Holy Week music printed in Italy, 1516–1770

Frescobaldi print

A catalogue of Mass, Office, and Holy Week music printed in Italy, 1516–1770 focuses on the vast repertoire (comprising approximately 2000 sources) of music for the Office, Holy Week, and the Mass published in Italy from 1516 to the cessation of the printing of such repertoire in the latter part of the 18th century. Even by the end of the first quarter of the Settecento, Italian prints of sacred music were quite rare.

Compiled by Jeffrey G. Kurtzman and Anne Schnoebelen for the JSCM Instrumenta series, this free online resource includes a wide range of indices, from academic references to publishers.

Above, Girolamo Frescobaldi’s Secondo libro, an edition covered in detail in the catalogue (click to enlarge); below, his Ave Maris stella, one of the works preserved in this edition.

Comments Off on A catalogue of Mass, Office, and Holy Week music printed in Italy, 1516–1770

Filed under Baroque era, Renaissance, Resources

The Gibbons hymnal

Gibbons hymnal

The Gibbons hymnal: Hymns and anthems (London: Novello, 2013) presents the 17 hymn tunes composed by Orlando Gibbons for George Wither’s The hymnes and songs of the church (1623), many of which are still popular today. This is the first modern edition that incorporates Wither’s hymn texts beyond the first verses.

Gibbons composed treble and bass lines for the hymns; the editor, David Skinner, has constructed the inner voices to create a collection of pieces that can be performed either as hymns or as simple anthems. Also in this volume are Gibbons’s ten surviving full anthems.

Below, Gibbons’s O clap your hands, one of the anthems included in the edition.

Comments Off on The Gibbons hymnal

Filed under New editions, Renaissance

Frottolas and monkeys

Antico

The frontispiece of Andrea Antico’s Frottole intabulate da sonare organi libro primo (1517) features a woodcut of a player at a harpsichord, a singer holding a score, and a monkey holding a lute.

The image involves a symbolic mocking of Antico’s  rival, the publisher Ottaviano Petrucci. Antico had greater success than Petrucci in publishing keyboard music, and the allusions in the frontispiece highlight this fact. The monkey is meant to symbolize Petrucci, and the singer is Lady Music, who is pointing her finger accusingly at him.

This according to “A monkey business: Petrucci, Antico, and the frottola intabulation” by Hiroyuki Minamino (Journal of the Lute Society of America 26–27 [1993–94] pp. 96–106).

Above, the woodcut in question; below, Ensemble Renaissance performs Antico’s frottola Vale iniqua.

Comments Off on Frottolas and monkeys

Filed under Animals, Humor, Renaissance

Cleopatra and the Oriental menace

Claude_Vignon_-_Cléopâtre_se_donnant_la_mort

In canonical French Orientalist discourse of the 19th century, the Orient is cast as effeminate, weak, and in need of rehabilitation by Western civilization. However, the dramatic arts of late 16th- and early 17th-century France constructed a different picture, one in which the Orient as temptress was a deadly threat to the West.

During the late Valois and early Bourbon monarchies, the queen regents Catherine de Médicis (1519–89), Marie de Médicis (1575–1642), and Anne d’Autriche (1601–66) were associated with political turmoil and civil war that threatened to destroy the kingdom. Within this troubled political context, fatal women of the Orient sought to entice their prey on the French stage. Most deadly among them was Cleopatra, embodiment of Egypt, incarnation of women’s malignant sexual seduction, exposed in her subjugation of Marcus Antonius, the fallen, conquered, and emasculated Roman.

With the rise of Louis XIV (1638–1715) and his imposition of a purportedly indomitable and masculine monarchy, women were to be vanquished outright. Reigning women, including those in the tragedies of Philippe Quinault (1635–88), were the victims of self-destructive passions ending in defeat, death, or abandonment by the heroes whom they sought to enslave. An emblematic example of such a crushed woman is the sorceress Armide in the tragédie en musique by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632–87), the libretto of which is by Quinault.

This according to “Regnorum ruina: Cleopatra and the Oriental menace in early French tragedy” by Desmond Hosford, an essay included in French Orientalism: Culture, politics, and the imagined Other (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2010, pp. 23–47).

Above, a 17th-century depiction of Cleopatra by Claude Vignon; below, a 20th-century depiction of Cleopatra by Elizabeth Taylor.

Comments Off on Cleopatra and the Oriental menace

Filed under Renaissance

The Tallis psalter

Tallis-Psalter

The Tallis psalter: Psalms and anthems, canticles, preces and responses (London: Novello, 2013) is a complete edition of the Psalter, enabling a performance within the Anglican liturgy for the first time in centuries.

The original Psalter contains Thomas Tallis’s nine tunes set to metrical verses by Archbishop Matthew Parker, and published around 1567. Many of the tunes have since been reworked as popular hymns.

Also included are Tallis’s surviving English anthems, including popular works and lesser-known miniatures. The volume is edited by David Skinner.

Below, The Byrd Ensemble performs Tallis’s nine psalms.

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under New editions, Renaissance

Johannes Tinctoris: Complete theoretical works

tinctoris

Johannes Tinctoris: Complete theoretical works presents a complete new edition of Tinctoris’s treatises, along with full English translations and multiple layers of commentary material, covering a wide range of technical, historical, and critical issues arising from both the texts themselves and the wider context of Tinctoris’s life and the musical environment of early Renaissance Europe.

Combining the highest levels of historical, textual, and critical scholarship with innovative technological presentation, this open-access edition explores new methods of relating text-based materials to the numerous, often complex, music examples that punctuate the treatises.

The project, which is based at Birmingham Conservatoire, is an outgrowth of the ongoing research of Ronald Woodley into the life and works of Tinctoris.

Above, a depiction of Tinctoris at his desk; below, the Kyrie from his Missa L’homme armé.

Related articles:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Comments Off on Johannes Tinctoris: Complete theoretical works

Filed under New editions, Renaissance, Resources, Theory

Basse danse with attitude II

The letters of Andrea Calmo, a 16th-century Venetian actor and playwright who wrote of having been taught the bassadanza by wolves, highlight how dance was regarded by a member of the middle classes in Venice.

As well as having a general appreciation of dance, which he saw as an enjoyable and moral activity, Calmo was knowledgeable about dance specifics and accurate in his use of dance terminology; in fact, his knowledge of dance practices was extensive enough to enable him to use specific dance references as a tool in creating the humor in his letters.

In a letter wooing a fine dancer, Calmo’s praises include the following:

“Now you can perform well the salti a torno, performing capriole, dancing on only one foot for half and hour, and moving the other foot so quickly it is as if your feet were tickling.”

“Alas, that to go behind, in front, those riprese, those clever steps and turns on joined feet, and all with mesura, with design and grace, in addition to the beautiful, grand, well-rounded and well-proportioned bosom.”

This according to “Learning the bassadanza from a wolf: Andrea Calmo and dance” by Jennifer Nevile (Dance research: The journal of the Society for Dance Research XXX/1 [2012] pp. 80–97). Above, Ball in Venice in Honor of Foreign Visitors, c.1580 (Italian School). Below, bassadanza with attitude!

Related article: Basse danse with attitude I

4 Comments

Filed under Curiosities, Dance, Humor, Performance practice, Renaissance

Gabrieli crosses the border

Giovanni Gabrieli’s unique achievement was the unification of two opposing styles that had been developing throughout the Renaissance: the local Venetian technique involving antiphonal masses of sound and the international technique of interwoven melodic strands.

Having assimilated both traditions, he resolved their conflicts in his Symphoniae sacrae of 1597 and especially of 1615; in so doing, he crossed the border between Renaissance and Baroque and penetrated well into the new territory.

To allow full appreciation of these works, the choirs must not be widely separated: The optimum situation is that depicted in the frontispiece of the tenor part of the fifth volume of Praetorius’s Musae Sioniae (1607, inset; click to enlarge), with one choir on the floor and the other two in balconies on their right and left. The impact must come not from the juxtaposition of masses of sound, but from clarity of texture.

This according to “Texture versus mass in the music of Giovanni Gabrieli” by George Wallace Woodworth, a contribution to Essays on music in honor of Archibald Thompson Davison (Cambridge: Harvard University Department of Music, 1957, pp. 129–138.

Today is the 400th anniversary of Gabrieli’s death! (His birth date is not known.) Below, Green Mountain Project performs his Magnificat à 14, which was published posthumously in 1615.

Comments Off on Gabrieli crosses the border

Filed under Baroque era, Renaissance

The Sultan’s pipe organ

In 1599 the English organ builder Thomas Dallam personally accompanied to Istanbul an instrument he had built for the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed III at the behest of Queen Elizabeth. The gift was intended to smooth relations in the hope of gaining access to Ottoman caravan routes.

The instrument, which could sound a fanfare, chime the hours, and play several pieces by itself due to controlled wind release, delighted the Sultan, who declared a festive occasion with amnesty for over 300 prisoners.

Dallam himself made a highly favorable impression, and was offered many luxuries in exchange for staying in Istanbul. He respectfully declined, however, citing his responsibilities toward his family. Dallam’s success assured his prosperity back home, and soon the trade routes to India were opened to the British.

This according to “A gift for the Sultan” by Peter English (Saudi Aramco world XXXIV/6 [November–December 1983]).

Related article: The Nawāb’s musical bed

4 Comments

Filed under Curiosities, Instruments, Renaissance