Program: #13-18, Air Date: 04/29/13The sweet season is (finally) upon us, and the ensemble le Tendre Amour gives us this lovely program of the seasons in music of the early 17th century.
NOTE: All of the music on this program is from the recent release from the ensemble Le Tendre Amour. The recording is on the Brilliant Classics label and is 94313. For more information: http://letendreamour.com/
A delightful collection of English songs from the 17th century, constructed around the major influence of the four seasons, and showcasing the great enthusiasm for music, particularly amateur music making, that took place during this era.
During the Commonwealth of England (c.1640--1660), music disappeared almost entirely from religious and court occasions. The use of instruments and music in churches was banned, and organs were destroyed by order of the regime -- so the public turned to village and tavern musicians, country dances and new musical clubs for music making. Coinciding with the decline of the Elizabethan madrigal, folk music and settings of the famous poets of the day were popular; similarly, keyboard variations on dance tunes and romantic songs for voice and lute were all the rage, and this continued into the years of the Restoration under Charles II. The monarch's influence can be detected in the French style of some of the later works, featuring oboe and large groups of strings.
This outpouring of inspired music is captured perfectly in this new collection, performed with insight and sensitivity by Ensemble Le Tendre Amour. Composers featured include Purcell, Playford, Morley, Croft, Lawes, Byrd, Eccles, Ravenscroft and, of course, many anonymous works. From bucolic country music to sophisticated pieces for a gentrified city audience, the music provides a vivid soundtrack to life in the turbulent world of 17th century England.
In the 17th century it was quite common to construct a work “from the bottom to the top,” starting with a simple bass line that repeats many times as the top melody lines are improvised with many variations on a theme. Long notes were divided into shorter and shorter notes, with ever more complex variations. This style of writing was called “Divisions”, as the notes were “divided” on top of the “ground” (the bass line). This is the basis for our program – divisions of time: time in the sense of musical time, but also time in the sense of the four seasons, Nature´s way of dividing the year. Melodies evolve, one flowing to the next.
Spring is introduced with the sweet call of the nightingale as written by John Playford, and love is awakened with “John Come Kiss Me Now,” along with delightful court songs by Nicolas Lanier and William Lawes. Summer´s passionate “Sweeter than Roses” and playful “All in a Garden Green” balance bright dances such as “The Glory of the Sun” and “Stanes Morris,” chosen for their liveliness and energy. Fall leads to frolicking, as Purcell´s “Autumn” and a complementary little “Aria” by Matteis describe the annual harvest. One can almost hear the windy gusts in our interpretation of Byrd´s “The Woods so Wild.” Soon, winter´s cold draws us back inside again with a solemn old Christmas tune “Remember O Thou Man”. And the circle is drawn to a close as we recall the year´s work, and praise the eternity of music with Purcell´s profound “Here the Deities Approve.” This is a program meant for any time of the year, as we remember how we all live together in our “Garden Green.”
- Spring: Chirping of the Nightingale / Chirping of the Lark (The English Dancing Master, 1651 edition)00:53
- Spring: John come kiss me now (The Fitzwilliam Virginal Booke c.1618 / The Division Violin, 1685 edition)04:40
- Spring: Va poco di manera Italiana / Aria Amorosa (Book I and IV of Aires in 3 Parts, 1676/85)03:36
- Spring: No more shall meads be deckt with Flowers (Select Ayres and Dialogues, The Second Book, 1669)03:44
- Spring: Ciaccona (Airs Anglois, Vol. 4)02:35
- Spring: Glory of the West / The Goddesses (The English Dancing Master: edition 1651)01:17
- Spring: Can beauty’s Spring (Autograph songbook, #22)01:30
- Spring: Chaconne (Pieces de Guittarre de Differends Autheurs)03:56
- Spring: Now ye Spring is come (Elizabeth Rogers Hir Virginall Booke, 1656)01:02
- Spring: Ground after the Scotch Humour (Ayrs for the Violin, Part 4)02:13
- Summer: Ground in C Minor (from Suite No. 3, D. 221)02:52
- Summer: Sweeter than Roses (Incidental Music to Pausanius, Z. 585, 1695)03:10
- Summer: Greensleeves (The Division Flute, first part)04:55
- Summer: All in a Garden Green / Onder een linde groen (The English Dancing Master, edition 1651 / Secular keyboard works)02:07
- Summer: Stanes Morris / The Glory of the Sun (The English Dancing Master, 1651/2)01:10
- Autumn: O Mistress Mine (The First Book of Consort Lessons, 1599)02:34
- Autumn: The Woods so wild (The Fitzwilliam Virginal Booke, c.1618)03:10
- Autumn: The Chestnut / Autumn (Elizabeth Rogers Hir Virginall Booke / The Fairy Queen, Z. 629/35)02:15
- Autumn: Aria (2nd Book of Aires in 3 parts, 1676)01:06
- Winter: Cold and Raw (The English Dancing Master, 1686 edition)01:39
- Winter: When a cruel long Winter (The Fairy Queen, Z. 629/31, Act IV)02:05
- Winter: Remember O Thou Man (Melismata, 1611)03:10
- Winter: Virgin Queen / An Italian Rant (The Dancing Master, 1702, 1657 editions)01:22
- Winter: A Division on a Ground (The Division Violin, 1685 edition)03:07
- Winter: Here the Deities approve (Welcome to all the Pleasures, Ode for St Cecilia’s Day, Z. 339)04:05
Nicolas Lanier, Purcell, John Playford, Morley, Croft, William Lawes, Byrd, Eccles, Ravenscroft