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Program: #97-04   Air Date: Jan 27, 1997


Preservation of this program is made possible by a generous grant from Wendall Wilson.

I. Chansons et Danceries: French Renaissance Wind Music (Piffaro). Archiv CD 0289 447 1072 4.

From ArkivMusic: Tom Moore gave a warm welcome to Philadelphia-based Piffaro's first Archiv recording (devoted to Italian music) in Fanfare 19:4, and I'm more than happy to endorse his enthusiasm here. Even before hearing the disc it was a relief to discover from the insert listing that this is a group that for once recognizes that the “loud“ double-reed Renaissance wind ensemble (shawms and sack-buts) is a separate entity to the “quiet“ recorder ensemble. By preserving the clear distinction Piffaro not only avoids the inevitable problem of unmusical solecisms but has also produced a varied and well-balanced program. 

The selection draws on three genres. Firstly we have arrangements of popular French chansons made by the pioneering Venetian
 publisher Petrucchi (Josquin) and innovative anthologist-publishers such as Pierre Attaignant and Susato. To those are added a couple of transcriptions of more strictly polyphonic works by Willaert and Jean Maillard, while at the other end of the spectrum come popular dance tunes of the day from collections that include a suite culled from Jacques Moderne's important and wide-ranging Musique de Loye (ca. 1550). In several instances Piffaro has produced its own arrangements of dance tunes, not, I think, totally avoiding the familiar problem of introducing a shade too much twentieth-century sophistication in the process. But it would be not only churlish but absurd to be po-faced and purist when the playing of these seven splendid musicians is so professional and so full of zest. Above all there is a sense of sheer enjoyment in these performances that evokes memories of David Munrow's early Music Consort of London in its heyday. 

Recording, notes, and presentation (all the sources are meticulously listed) fully match the very high level of the music-making. 

 Josquin Desprez (1450 - 1521)
Nicolas Gombert (1500 - 1556)
Bransles de village
Claudin de Sermisy (1490 - 1562)
Claude Gervaise (1500 - 1555)
Claudin de Sermisy (1490 - 1562)
Nicolas Gombert (1500 - 1556)
Thomas Crecquillon (1480 - 1557)
Philip van Wilder
Estienne Du Tertre
Adrian Willaert
16. Ricercare 4:26
Jean Maillard
Total Playing Time 1:02:31

II.  Milán - Narváez: Music for Vihuela (Christopher Wilson). Naxios CD 8.553523.

From This Naxos "Early Music" release features Christopher Wilson on vihuela which is a string instrument similar to the lute. This CD contains music from two early Spanish composers where the vihuela was all the rage in court circles. Both composers wrote in the traditional fantasia, but their styles are completely different. The liner notes state that Milan who was a professional musician wrote in a style which seemed to be improvisational but was in fact well planned while Narvaez seemed to stretch the range of the instrument taking it to new levels.
This CD is not just a musical rarity of interest only to people who love early music but should belong in every collection. The melodies are hauntingly beautiful.

III. The Winged Lion (Palladian Ensemble). Linn CD CKD 015.

From Gramophone: ''The Winged Lion'' claims to celebrate early Venetian instrumental music. The Palladian Ensemble offer characterful performances that aim above all to make compelling musical statements. It seems increasingly that the trend among younger ensembles is to market the exotic qualities of early music, leaving aside the trappings of scholarship with which it has generally been associated. Any research into the editions and performing practices is kept well in the background—so much so that only the very well-informed will know for sure where the lines between historicity and interpretation have been drawn. We are not, for example, told that a number of the works on this CD were composed for instruments different from those used here. Neither are we told that some of them have no real connection with Venice. Nor is the music grouped in any sort of obvious order or exclusively from the beginning of the seventeenth century, as the booklet implies.

The Palladian Ensemble are extremely confident and artful musicians, and they play very well together. they are at their best as an ensemble of individuals. The Castello sonata with which they begin offers a perfect example of their approach: the quick sections sprightly and tartly articulated, the slower sections rhetorical, everyone has at least one moment to shine as a soloist, not least the theorboist William Carter, who accompanies divinely. Cavalli's Canzon from his Musiche sacrae of 1656 is performed with sensitivity and the little ground-bass section four minutes into it is sublimely realized, although an organ (called for by the composer) might have added an appropriate gravitas.
It should be pointed out that G. B. Vitali worked in Modena (where his Op. 7 was published in 1682) and probably never set foot in Venice. The Ciacona was originally scored for two violins and violone with spinet—which is not to say that it isn't successful on recorder, violin and cello with guitar. The booklet writer remarks in particular on the vogue for guitar in Venice, hence the inclusion of two very slight guitar solos by the mysterious (and probably not Venetian) Santiago de Murcia (fl.1700). G. B. Buonamente was a violinist who worked in Mantua, Parma and Vienna, but not Venice, although he did publish his 1626 collection there. The Palladian Ensemble bring his suite off with strong contrasts of sweet lyricism and highly articulated dotted and syncopated rhythms.
Marco Uccellini, also a violinist, pursued his career in Modena and later Parma, like Buonamente, he published his music in Venice. Rachel Podger performs the Sonata quarta (Op. 5) with due poise and virtuosity, accompanied by the theorbo. She and Carter are joined by the recorder player Pamela Thorby and the cellist Joanna Levine for the last three items, based on popular tunes (published in 1645, not 1642); these works have been recently recorded by Nicholas McGegan's Arcadian Academy on two violins (with cello, keyboard and guitar, Harmonia Mundi, 7/94). Thorby's commanding tone, in which hardly a tremor of vibrato is allowed to intrude, changes the balance in these works, which is clearly just the effect Vivaldi wanted in RV84 and RV100 (which, incidentally, calls for bassoon as the bass instrument). RV84 is a trio sonata, not a concerto, although the flute part is soloistic and the violin part ripieno-ish. The concerto character is again evident in the contrasting slow movement for flute and cello alone. 

1 Sonata Duodecima 6:58 
2 Ciaconna 2:59 
3 Sonata Quarto 5:01 
4 Concerto In F Major RV 100: Allegro 2:23 
5 Untitled 2:47 
6 Allegro 2:42 
7 Suite: Gagliarda Seconda 1:42 
8 Corrente Terza e Quarta 1:29 
9 Brando Terza 2:58 
10 Avanti Il Brando 1:02 
11 Brando Quarto 1:23 
12 Canzon 6:13 
13 El Amor 2:28 
14 La Jota 2:52 
15 Sonata a Tre 6:21 
16 Concerto In D Major RV 84: Untitled 2:51 
17 Largo 2:48 
18 Allegro 2:20 
19 Aria Undecima Detta Il 'Caporal
 Simon' 2:05 
20 Aria Decimaquarta Sopra 'La Mia Pedrina' 4:16 
21 Aria Decimaquinta Sopra 'Le Scatola Da Gli Agghi' 1:59


IV. An Excess of Pleasure (Palladian Ensemble). Linn CD  BKD 010.

From Gramophone: his enterprising selection of largely unfamiliar works opens with Marco Uccellini's Aria sopra ''La Bergamasca'', an immediately attractive and spirited set of variations on a repeated bass pattern and a highly suitable opener for a carefully-chosen and surprisingly varied sequence. Indeed, from its origins in Italy at the beginning of the century, the combination of two melody instruments above a supporting basso continuo developed to become, in the shape of the trio sonata, one of the central forms of the baroque. All the composers on this record worked at one time in England, thus giving a rather tangential perspective on that development, but it is precisely such curiosities as Geminiani's delightful Scots Airs, despatched here with a breathtaking command of the intricate and demanding passagework, that give this selection its charm. In terms of style there could hardly be a greater contrast between this and Matthew Locke's eccentric and at times hauntingly melancholic Broken Consort in D, while Biagio Marini's Sonata breathes the entirely different air of Italian academicism.
A considerable part of the success of this record lies in the ingenuity and knowledge with which the pieces have been chosen, and the unsuspected and at times quite entrancing corners of the early baroque that they reveal, from the seemingly effortless counterpoint of Purcell's Two in one upon a Ground to the almost shocking modernity of the concluding Bizzarie by Matteis. The Palladian Ensemble is just two years old, but they have already attracted considerable critical acclaim for their stylish and committed performances. Here they play with verve and enthusiasm, but that is not to imply lack of either polish and subtlety; at times virtuosic, at others gently affective, this is playing of a high order in terms of both technique and imaginative power.'
Ayres for the Violin, Book 1
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4, Andamento con divisione
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4, Aria Amorosa Adagio (D minor):
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4, Grave Adagio
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4, Ground in D la sol re (sopra un basso per fare unno)
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4, Ground (sopra un basso Malinconico)
Broken Consort
Divisions on 'John come kiss me now'
(5) Scots Airs, Auld Bob Morrice
(5) Scots Airs, Lady Ann Bothwells' Lament
(5) Scots Airs, Sleepy body
Two in one upon a ground
Ayres for the Violin, Book 1
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4, Andamento con divisione
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4, Aria Amorosa Adagio (D minor):
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4, Grave Adagio
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4, Ground in D la sol re (sopra un basso per fare unno)
Ayres for the Violin, Book 4, Ground (sopra un basso Malinconico)
Broken Consort
Divisions on 'John come kiss me now'
(5) Scots Airs, Auld Bob Morrice
(5) Scots Airs, Lady Ann Bothwells' Lament
(5) Scots Airs, Sleepy body
Two in one upon a ground

V. The Golden Dream—17th Century Music from the Low Countries (The Newberry Consort). Harmonia Mundi CD HMU 907123.

 1 Sinfonia in D Major
De Nicolas a Kempis - The Newberry Consort & Paul O'Dette
2 Quare tristis es
De Constantijn Huygens - The Newberry Consort, Paul O'Dette & Drew Minter
3 Je veux mon doux Sauueur
De Anonymous - The Newberry Consort, Drew Minter & Paul O'Dette
4 Divisions on a Theme
De Daniel Norcombe - The Newberry Consort, Paul O'Dette & Mary Springfels
5 Sinfonia in G Minor
De Nicolas a Kempis - The Newberry Consort & Paul O'Dette
6 Fantasia Resonans
De Joachim van den Hove - The Newberry Consort & Paul O'Dette
7 Onse Vader
De Jacob van Eyck - The Newberry Consort & Marion Verbruggen
8 Avertisti faciem
De Constantijn Huygens - The Newberry Consort, Paul O'Dette & Drew Minter
9 En fin mon ame
De Anonymous - The Newberry Consort, Drew Minter & Paul O'Dette
10 Lachrime Pavaen
De Johann Schop - The Newberry Consort, David Douglass, Paul O'Dette & Mary Springfels
11 Ciaccona
De Tarquinio Merula - The Newberry Consort & Paul O'Dette
12 Hélas Seigneur
De Nicolas Vallet - The Newberry Consort, Paul O'Dette & Drew Minter
13 Doulants Lachrymae
De Dirk Rafaelsz Camphuysen - The Newberry Consort & Drew Minter
14 Fantasia a 3
De John Coperario - The Newberry Consort, David Douglass, Mary Springfels & Marion Verbruggen
15 Erravi
De Constantijn Huygens - The Newberry Consort, Drew Minter & Paul O'Dette
16 Schriet niet meer
The Newberry Consort, Paul O'Dette & Drew Minter
17 Fantasia a 3
De Orlando Gibbons - The Newberry Consort, Mary Springfels, Marion Verbruggen & David Douglass
18 Wanneer het hert
De Dirk Rafaelsz Camphuysen - The Newberry Consort & Drew Minter

VI. The Queen’s Delight (The King’s Noyse). Harmonia Mundi CD HMU 907180.

  The happy meeting / anon. --
Boatman / anon. --
Trip and go / anon. --
Barbara Allen's cruelty / anon. --
Preludium / William Byrd --
Browning my dear --
Hollis berrie / anon. --
Newcastle / anon. --
Newmarket / anon. --
Now, o now, I needs must part : to the tune of John Dowland's The frog galliard --
Coockow as I me walked / John Baldwin --
Sing care away : to the tune of Heart's ease / anon. --
Souches marche / anon. --
Emperor of the moon / anon. --
Tickle my toe / anon. --
I smell a rat : to the tune of Upon a summer's day / anon. --
Wilson's wilde / anon. --
Walsingham / John Marchant --
Begone, sweit night / anon. --
Strawberries and cream / anon. --
The Queen's delight / anon. --
Half hanniken / anon. --
Nottingham ale : to the tune of Lili Burlero / anon.

VII. Girolamo Frescobaldi: Il Primo Libro da Capricci (John Butt, organ).  Harmonia Mundi CD HMU 907178.

 Bernardo Pasquini: Pastorale

Giovanni Battista Fasolo: Benedictus et elevatio simul

Anonimo: Aria di Fiorenza

Bernardo Storace: Ricercare

Tarquinio Merula: Canzona

Emanuele Soncino: Cromatica

Girolamo Frascobaldi: Canzon detta la Pesenti

Gregorio Strozzi: Toccata di Passacaglia

Giovanni Picchi: Pass'è mezzo

Michelangelo Rossi: Toccata Prima

Merula: Sonata Cromatica

Frescobaldi: Capriccio

Frescobaldi: Canzona

Giovanni Salvatore: Ricercare Quarto

Adriano Banchieri: Battaglia


IX. Schmelzer: Violin Sonatas   (Romanesca Ensemble). Harmonia Mundi CD HMU 907143

  Sonatae Unarum Fidium  
1 Sonata IV 9:45
2 Sonata V 10:13
3 Sonata VI 7:57
4 Sonata, 'Cucù' ('Cuckoo') 5:53

Sonata, 'Victori Der Christen' ('The Victory Of The Christians Over The Turks')

Adapted By – Andreas Anton SchmelzerComposed By – H.I.F. Biber*

5 Der Türken Anmarsch 1:03
6 Der Türken Belägerung Der Stadt Wien 1:31
7 Der Türken Stürmen 1:57
8 Anmarsch Der Christen 1:46
9 Treffen Der Christen 1:03
10 Durchgang Der Türken 1:01
11 Victori Der Christen 1:14
  Sonatae Unarum Fidium  
12 Sonata I 8:34
13 Sonata II 6:13
14 Sonata III 7:28

X. A Distant Shore: Music of Bach, Weiss, and Kellner. (Paul O’Dette, lute). Dorian CD DOR 90242.

Composer Info

Josquin Desprez (1450 - 1521), Nicolas Gombert (1500 - 1556), Claudin de Sermisy (1490 - 1562), Claude Gervaise (1500 - 1555), Thomas Crecquillon (1480 - 1557), Philip van Wilder, Estienne Du Tertre, Adrian Willaert, Jean Maillard, Milán, Narváez, Geminiani, Matthew Locke, Biagio Marini, Purcell, Matteis, De Nicolas a Kempis, De Constantijn Huygens , De Daniel Norcombe, De Joachim van den Hove, De Jacob van Eyck, De Johann Schop, De Tarquinio Merula, De Nicolas Vallet, De Dirk Rafaelsz Camphuysen, De John Coperario, De Orlando Gibbons, William Byrd, John Baldwin, John Marchant, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Bernardo Pasquini, Giovanni Battista Fasolo, Bernardo Storace, Emanuele Soncino, Gregorio Strozzi, Giovanni Picchi, Michelangelo Rossi, Giovanni Salvatore, Adriano Banchieri, Andreas Anton Schmelzer, H.I.F. Biber, J.S. Bach, D. Kellner, S. Weiss.

CD Info

Archiv CD 0289 447 1072 4, Naxios CD 8.553523, Linn CD CKD 015, Linn CD  BKD 010, Harmonia Mundi CD HMU 907123, Harmonia Mundi CD HMU 907180, Harmonia Mundi CD HMU 907178, Opus 111 CD 30-125 , Harmonia Mundi CD HMU 907143, Dorian CD DOR 90242

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