Songs & Stories from Three Lands

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Program: #14-05, Air Date: 01/27/14

Renaissance Italy and Petrarch settings; a remarkable Armenian troubadour; and Renaissance Nuremberg from royal court to the rise of humanism.

I. Io Vidi in Terra (José Lemos, countertenor/Jory Vinikour, harpsichord/Deborah Fox, theorbo). Sono Luminus CD DSL-92172.

 
Artistically breathtaking and engagingly intimate, the vocal music of the early Italian Baroque was an exercise in close artistic collaboration. Bringing together three of the most renowned practitioners of historically-appropriate performance of Early Music and Baroque repertoires, the Sono Luminus release of Io Vidi in Terra provides a rare immersion into a mysterious world that, despite its relative obscurity in the perspectives of 21st-Century observers, shaped almost every aspect of music as it blossomed in subsequent generations.
 
From Voix des Arts:
 

Born in Brazil, José Lemos possesses a voice that defies conventional classifications.  It is less a countertenor voice in the modern sense than a true contralto, the depth of the tone and rosewood colorations of the timbre evoking memories of Kathleen Ferrier rather than Russell Oberlin or Sir Alfred Deller.  Though he is an accomplished and critically-acclaimed presence in the world’s opera houses and concert halls, it is in the music like that heard on Io vidi in terra that Mr. Lemos’s gifts glisten most radiantly.  Unlike many of his countertenor colleagues, Mr. Lemos sings without the slightest hint of artifice.  So disarmingly uncomplicated is his singing on this disc that, rather than requiring the sort of suspension of credulity demanded by many performances, song seems not only more natural than speech but the sole medium via which such emotions can be shared.  Mr. Lemos’s technique encompasses all of the demands of these selections, including the oft-mangled Early Baroque trillo, and a particular joy of his singing is the manner in which he delivers bravura passages as organic developments of the melodic lines rather than making of them exercises in vanity.  Vocally, Mr. Lemos’s singing is a seductive blend of light and shade: lured into the smoky recesses of his lower register, the listener is then enchanted by the twilit glow of the singer’s upper octave.  There is not another singer in this range active today who sings with such evenness of tone and absolute integration of the registers, and these qualities contribute indelibly to the exalted grace of Mr. Lemos’s performance on this disc, as does the skill with which he exploits every emotive possibility of his flickering vibrato.

The intelligence with which the programme for this disc was selected is revealed by the fact that, even in comparison with the music of Monteverdi, there are no ‘lesser works’ heard here.  The name Tarquinio Merula may prompt little recognition among 21st-Century listeners, but his music—with which Io vidi in terra begins and ends—is wonderfully engaging.  Launched by a rippling figuration for the theorbo, played with audible relish by Deborah Fox, ‘Su la cetra amorosa’ immediately transports the listener to a candlelit chamber in a slightly murky past in which traditions of Renaissance troubadours were being transformed by the lyric art of a new generation of musical geniuses.  When harpsichordist Jory Vinikour enters the conversation, ‘Su la cetra amorosa’ bubbles with effervescent spirits, conveyed unmistakably by Mr. Lemos’s voicing of the piece’s coloratura, which trips along like the play of a mountain stream among pebbles.  Then, when in the final passage the text states that he would sing more sweetly than the most melodic bird, Mr. Lemos achieves this distinction eloquently.  Merulla’s ‘Canzonetta spirituale’ was one of the most popular pieces of its time, and Mr. Lemos’s singing of it leaves no doubt of why it so captivated those who heard it.  Perfectly following every hairpin turn in the song’s rhapsodic progress, Mr. Lemos sings with a stillness that ravishes the ear in this evocative lullaby for the infant Christ.

 
Tarquinio Merula: Su la cetra amorosa
Marco Da Gagliano: Io vidi in terra angelici costumi
Bernardo Storace: Aria sopra la Spagnoletta
Claudio Monteverdi: Si dolce e’l tormento, SV 332
Benedetto Ferrari: Ardo
Claudio Monteverdi: Quel sguardo sdegnosetto, SV 247
Alessandro Piccinini: Partite variate sopra La Folla
Barbara Strozzi: L’amante segreto
Bernardo Storace: Balletto
Girolamo Alessandro Frescobaldi: Cosi mi disprezzate, Aria di passacaglia; Se l’aura spira
Tarquinio Merula: Canzonetta spiritual
 
 

II. Troubadour & the Nightingale (Isabel Bayrakdarian, sop./Manitoba Chamber Orchestra/Anne Manson).  MCO CC 13001.

 

From the Winnipeg Free Press:
 

All the music on this CD was arranged or composed by Bayrakdarian’s husband, Serouj Kradjian. In his program notes (for which he is given no credit), he expresses a great interest and influence by the female troubadours of the 12th and 13th centuries in Southern France, near Spain.Ravel’s Kaddisch is mesmerizing and suitably prayerful. Bayrakdarian’s gorgeous clear and sensuous voice is the perfect vehicle for this moving piece.

Sayat-Nova/Four Songs starts with Graceful one — rhythmically interesting, especially with the addition of a single hand drum. Long, singing phrases twist and turn in the mournful The Nightingale. Kamancha gives the orchestra a prominent role in this exciting dance.There is no doubting the skills and talent of Isabel Bayrakdarian; she is as convincing a troubadour as you’ll ever find, marvelous in every way. Manson knows this music like the back of her hand, as does the MCO, which excels in this recording. 

 
—“Sayat-Nova” (Haroutiun Sayatian 1712-1795) arr. Serouj Kradjian: Graceful One; The Nightingale; As Long as I’m Alive; Kamancha.
 
 

 

III. Vinum et Musica: Songs and Dances from Nuremberg Sources (Dominique Visse/Capella de la Torre/Katharina Bäuml). Challenge Classics CD CC72544.

 
Five hundred years ago no one would have had to argue long about the image and significance of Nuremberg. The city was the intersection of numerous trade routes, housed the imperial regalia, was the germ cell of German humanism. A musical tour through what was then the centre of Europe –Dominique Visse and the Capella della Torre are embarking on no less a venture on this CD. They takes us back to an epoch around 1500, a date always regarded as the heyday of the free imperial city. A guided tour might have started then (as now) up at the Kaiserburg, Nuremberg Castle, the emblem of Nuremberg. Actually a relic of the Early Middle Ages, the castle was still used for military purposes until the Thirty Years War. Probably there were quite a few mercenaries in it humming the song L’homme armé, one of the most popular melodies ever of early modern times, heard here in what is possibly the earliest version by Robert Morton. It warns of the “armed man” and calls on men to don their armour. At the same time, Nuremberg Castle was also residence until 1571 of all kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire when they stopped on their itineraries in “Noris” (an allegorical name for the city and its region). The state motet printed in Nuremberg Fortitudo Dei regnantis in praise of the Polish king Sigismund I was composed to mark this.

The ensemble of the Capella de la Torre corresponds more or less exactly to that of the Nuremberg town pipers of the era: shawm, bombard and bass, augmented with trombone and cornett (zink). Documented for the first time in 1384, the town pipers played at church services, municipal council sessions, at weddings and carnival processions and became so famous that in the sixteenth century they represented Worms and Bamberg as well as Nuremberg at the annual ratification of the tariff and customs privileges in Frankfurt.

 
I. Io Vidi in Terra (José Lemos, countertenor/Jory Vinikour, harpsichord/Deborah Fox, theorbo). Sono Luminus CD DSL-92172.
 
Artistically breathtaking and engagingly intimate, the vocal music of the early Italian Baroque was an exercise in close artistic collaboration. Bringing together three of the most renowned practitioners of historically-appropriate performance of Early Music and Baroque repertoires, the Sono Luminus release of Io Vidi in Terra provides a rare immersion into a mysterious world that, despite its relative obscurity in the perspectives of 21st-Century observers, shaped almost every aspect of music as it blossomed in subsequent generations.
 
From Voix des Arts:
 

Born in Brazil, José Lemos possesses a voice that defies conventional classifications.  It is less a countertenor voice in the modern sense than a true contralto, the depth of the tone and rosewood colorations of the timbre evoking memories of Kathleen Ferrier rather than Russell Oberlin or Sir Alfred Deller.  Though he is an accomplished and critically-acclaimed presence in the world’s opera houses and concert halls, it is in the music like that heard on Io vidi in terra that Mr. Lemos’s gifts glisten most radiantly.  Unlike many of his countertenor colleagues, Mr. Lemos sings without the slightest hint of artifice.  So disarmingly uncomplicated is his singing on this disc that, rather than requiring the sort of suspension of credulity demanded by many performances, song seems not only more natural than speech but the sole medium via which such emotions can be shared.  Mr. Lemos’s technique encompasses all of the demands of these selections, including the oft-mangled Early Baroque trillo, and a particular joy of his singing is the manner in which he delivers bravura passages as organic developments of the melodic lines rather than making of them exercises in vanity.  Vocally, Mr. Lemos’s singing is a seductive blend of light and shade: lured into the smoky recesses of his lower register, the listener is then enchanted by the twilit glow of the singer’s upper octave.  There is not another singer in this range active today who sings with such evenness of tone and absolute integration of the registers, and these qualities contribute indelibly to the exalted grace of Mr. Lemos’s performance on this disc, as does the skill with which he exploits every emotive possibility of his flickering vibrato.

The intelligence with which the programme for this disc was selected is revealed by the fact that, even in comparison with the music of Monteverdi, there are no ‘lesser works’ heard here.  The name Tarquinio Merula may prompt little recognition among 21st-Century listeners, but his music—with which Io vidi in terra begins and ends—is wonderfully engaging.  Launched by a rippling figuration for the theorbo, played with audible relish by Deborah Fox, ‘Su la cetra amorosa’ immediately transports the listener to a candlelit chamber in a slightly murky past in which traditions of Renaissance troubadours were being transformed by the lyric art of a new generation of musical geniuses.  When harpsichordist Jory Vinikour enters the conversation, ‘Su la cetra amorosa’ bubbles with effervescent spirits, conveyed unmistakably by Mr. Lemos’s voicing of the piece’s coloratura, which trips along like the play of a mountain stream among pebbles.  Then, when in the final passage the text states that he would sing more sweetly than the most melodic bird, Mr. Lemos achieves this distinction eloquently.  Merulla’s ‘Canzonetta spirituale’ was one of the most popular pieces of its time, and Mr. Lemos’s singing of it leaves no doubt of why it so captivated those who heard it.  Perfectly following every hairpin turn in the song’s rhapsodic progress, Mr. Lemos sings with a stillness that ravishes the ear in this evocative lullaby for the infant Christ.

 
Tarquinio Merula: Su la cetra amorosa
Marco Da Gagliano: Io vidi in terra angelici costumi
Bernardo Storace: Aria sopra la Spagnoletta
Claudio Monteverdi: Si dolce e’l tormento, SV 332
Benedetto Ferrari: Ardo
Claudio Monteverdi: Quel sguardo sdegnosetto, SV 247
Alessandro Piccinini: Partite variate sopra La Folla
Barbara Strozzi: L’amante segreto
Bernardo Storace: Balletto
Girolamo Alessandro Frescobaldi: Cosi mi disprezzate, Aria di passacaglia; Se l’aura spira
Tarquinio Merula: Canzonetta spiritual
 
 
II. Troubadour & the Nightingale (Isabel Bayrakdarian, sop./Manitoba Chamber Orchestra/Anne Manson).  MCO CC 13001.
 
From the Winnipeg Free Press:
 

All the music on this CD was arranged or composed by Bayrakdarian’s husband, Serouj Kradjian. In his program notes (for which he is given no credit), he expresses a great interest and influence by the female troubadours of the 12th and 13th centuries in Southern France, near Spain.Ravel’s Kaddisch is mesmerizing and suitably prayerful. Bayrakdarian’s gorgeous clear and sensuous voice is the perfect vehicle for this moving piece.

Sayat-Nova/Four Songs starts with Graceful one — rhythmically interesting, especially with the addition of a single hand drum. Long, singing phrases twist and turn in the mournful The Nightingale. Kamancha gives the orchestra a prominent role in this exciting dance.There is no doubting the skills and talent of Isabel Bayrakdarian; she is as convincing a troubadour as you’ll ever find, marvelous in every way. Manson knows this music like the back of her hand, as does the MCO, which excels in this recording. 

 
—“Sayat-Nova” (Haroutiun Sayatian 1712-1795) arr. Serouj Kradjian: Graceful One; The Nightingale; As Long as I’m Alive; Kamancha.
 
 
 
III. Vinum et Musica: Songs and Dances from Nuremberg Sources (Dominique Visse/Capella de la Torre/Katharina Bäuml). Challenge Classics CD CC72544.
 
Five hundred years ago no one would have had to argue long about the image and significance of Nuremberg. The city was the intersection of numerous trade routes, housed the imperial regalia, was the germ cell of German humanism. A musical tour through what was then the centre of Europe –Dominique Visse and the Capella della Torre are embarking on no less a venture on this CD. They takes us back to an epoch around 1500, a date always regarded as the heyday of the free imperial city. A guided tour might have started then (as now) up at the Kaiserburg, Nuremberg Castle, the emblem of Nuremberg. Actually a relic of the Early Middle Ages, the castle was still used for military purposes until the Thirty Years War. Probably there were quite a few mercenaries in it humming the song L’homme armé, one of the most popular melodies ever of early modern times, heard here in what is possibly the earliest version by Robert Morton. It warns of the “armed man” and calls on men to don their armour. At the same time, Nuremberg Castle was also residence until 1571 of all kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire when they stopped on their itineraries in “Noris” (an allegorical name for the city and its region). The state motet printed in Nuremberg Fortitudo Dei regnantis in praise of the Polish king Sigismund I was composed to mark this.

The ensemble of the Capella de la Torre corresponds more or less exactly to that of the Nuremberg town pipers of the era: shawm, bombard and bass, augmented with trombone and cornett (zink). Documented for the first time in 1384, the town pipers played at church services, municipal council sessions, at weddings and carnival processions and became so famous that in the sixteenth century they represented Worms and Bamberg as well as Nuremberg at the annual ratification of the tariff and customs privileges in Frankfurt.

 
  • 1 Fanfare 01:42  

    Composer: Anonymous

  • 2 L?Homme armé à 4 01:17
     Composer: Robert Morton
  • 3 Fortitudo Dei regnantis à 6 03:17
     Composer: Arnold von Bruck
  • 4 Basse Danse Aliot Nouvelle 03:13
     Composer: Anonymous
  • 5 Hymnus in vitam S. Sebaldi à 3 03:01
     Composer: Anonymous
  • 6 Kaddish à 5  06:25
     Composer: Salomone Rossi
  • 7 Benedicite Almechtiger Gott 02:18
     Composer: Konrad Paumann
  • 8 Ave Maria a 6 05:54
     Composer: Josquin Desprez
  • 9 Tanz/Nachtanz à 5 02:23
     Composer: Brüder Hess
  • 10 Se la face ay pale à 3 03:29
     Composer: Guillaume Dufay
  • 11 Se la phase pale 02:06
     Composer: Konrad Paumann
  • 12 Ich spring an diesem Ringe 03:15
     Composer: Anonymous
  • 13 Salve Regina prima pars 06:28
     Composers: Gregorianisch, Josquin Desprez
  • 14 So trinken wir alle à 5 02:07
     Composer: Arnold von Bruck
  • 15 Passamezzo 04:13
     Composer: Anonymous
  • 16 Dulces exuviae  04:46
     Composer: Adrian Willaert
  • 17 Exegi monumentum aere perennius 06:23
     Composer: Paul Hofhaimer
  • 18 Fortuna - nasci, pati, mori 02:14
     Composer: Ludwig Senfl
  • 19 Vecchie Letrose 02:25
     Composer: Adrian Willaert
 
 
 
 

Composer Info

Serouj Kradjian, Adrian Willaert, Ludwig Senfl, Paul Hofhaimer, Brüder Hess, Josquin Desprez Gregorianisch, Guillaume Dufay, Konrad Paumann, Josquin Desprez, Arnold von Bruck, Salomone Rossi, Robert Morton, Tarquinio Merula, Girolamo Alessandro Frescobaldi, Barbara Strozzi, Bernardo Storace, Alessandro Piccinini, Claudio Monteverdi, Benedetto Ferrari, Tarquinio Merula, Claudio Monteverdi, Bernardo Storace, Marco Da Gagliano,

CD Info

Sono Luminus CD DSL-92172, Challenge Classics CD CC72544, MCO CC 13001