Three from Mignarda

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Program: #10-38   Air Date: Sep 13, 2010

We come back to the upstate New York duo with three recent discs: "La Rota Fortuna" (music in honor of Spinacino); "Au pres de Vous" (French 16th century chansons); and "Harmonia Caelestis" (16th c. sacred Spanish repertory).

NOTE: All of the music on this program is from recordings by the duo Mignarda, lutenist Ron Andrico and mezzo Donna Stewart. For more on the group, you may explore their web site:

We featured three of their recent recordings:

La Rota Fortuna: Chansons & lute solos in honor of Francesco Spinacino, fl. 1507

This recording is in honor of the very first printed music for lute, Intabulatura de lauto libro primo (and libro secundo), by Francesco Spinacino and published by Petrucci in Venice, 1507. Spinacino is a shadowy figure and there is virtually no surviving information about him other than a vague dedicatory poem in the 1507 book, and a reference to him among other skilled late 15th century lutenists in the poem, Monte Parnaso, by Philippo Oriolo da Bassano (circa 1520).

The music in Spinacino’s book includes several purely instrumental recercars but is heavily weighted toward intabulations, or arrangements for one and two lutes of late fifteenth century vocal music. Composers of the source material include such luminaries as Agricola, Isaac, Busnoys, Ockeghem, Ghizeghem, and the comparatively modern Josquin des Prez. Spinacino’s intabulations are somewhat abstract and are characterized by musical lines that drop in and out for the (relative) sake of convenience, and virtuosic displays of fast scale passages, mainly at openings and cadences. Most importantly, Spinacino’s publication offers a clear indication of the role of the lute in playing some or all of the parts of a polyphonic vocal composition.

We offer this recorded program as an homage to Spinacino and his pioneering publication. Our approach is to present several chansons that were intabulated by Spinacino in their original vocal form, with the historically appropriate adaptation of playing the untexted parts on the lute. We use Spinacino’s recercars as they were likely intended, as preludes or as interludes between pieces to either set or sustain the mood of a particular chanson. With the exception of the two vocal pieces by Josquin, the anonymous ballade, Mon mari ma diffamée, and an Italian laude, most chansons herein are set in the rondeau form, which we follow faithfully and present in their entirety.

Additional to the music directly linked to Spinacino, we include our settings of two chansons by Busnoys and Ockeghem, ostensibly in an effort to present a context but in fact because we love the pieces. Also included are a recercar and pavanna by Spinacino’s contemporary, Joan Ambrosio Dalza, and the stirring laude, Se mai per maraveglia, from Franciscus Bosiniensis. Both composers followed on Spinacino’s heels and their work was published by Petrucci in the same series in 1508, 1509 and 1511 respectively. Finally, we include a pavanna and calata, dances from the Thibault manuscript (Paris, Bibliotheque nationale. Ms. Res.Vmd.27, circa 1490).
Our title for this recording, La Rota Fortuna, is not entirely whimsical. The idea of Fortune’s Wheel – that good fortune is cyclical – permeates poetical and philosophical writings from antiquity onwards, and is featured conspicuously in the texts of our recorded program. Of particular note is Spinacino’s setting for lute of Fortuna d’un gran tempo, a piece rife with the symbolism of fortune and mutability that is also found untexted in Petrucci’s Odhecaton (1503).          
1  Fortuna desperata - Antoine Busnoys (c.1430-1492)
2  Recercar dietro - Joan Ambrosio Dalza (fl. 1508)
3  Quant de vous seul - Johannes Ockeghem (c.1410-1497)
4  Seule à part moy - Antoine Busnoys
5  Pavanna Ferrarese - Joan Ambrosio Dalza
6  Recercar - Francesco Spinacino (fl. 1507)
7  Je ne fay plus - Antoine Busnoys
8  Fortuna d'un gran tempo - Josquin (c.1450-1521) /Spinacino
9  Amours, amours - Hayne van Ghizeghem (c.1445-1497)
10  Recercar - Francesco Spinacino
11  Se mai per maraveglia - Franciscus Bossnensis (fl. 1509-11)
12  Pavanna - Anonymous, Thibault ms.
13  Calata - Anonymous, Thibault ms.
14  J'ay pryse amour - Antoine Busnoys
15  Comment peult avoir joye - Josquin/Spinacino
16  Recercar - Francesco Spinacino
17  Mon mari ma diffamée - Anonymous/Spinacino
18  Adieu, mes amours - Josquin/Spinacino


AU PRES DE VOUS: French chansons of the 16th century

Without music, poetry is almost graceless, just as music without the melody of verses is inanimate and lifeless. --Pierre de Ronsard

This CD presents a sequential program, the results of a very personal exploration of the important marriage of music, poetry and dance tunes of sixteenth century France. Like gems arrayed in a pleasing setting, each individual piece shines on its own but sparkles all the more in sequence. Historical research must have a starting point that draws one in: Embracing the more popular surviving examples of chansons and dance tunes, like warm remembrance of a familiar story, reveals the reasons why the piece became popular and always seems to prompt us to turn the next page where something new and very special lies awaiting discovery. Some chansons and lute solos on this recording may have a familiar ring to early music specialists but they are mingled with a few premiere recordings of forgotten gems and a generous sampling of the rare and less familiar. We hope our interpretations justify their inclusion.

Claudin de Sermisy is probably the best known exponent of the 16th century French chanson, and we include five of his masterpieces in miniature. Au pres de vous, while less known today, was one of Claudin's more popular chansons, and the heartfelt sentiment was immortalized in an anonymous painting, The Prodigal Son, now in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris, where the music is clearly visible on a table and performed with voice, flute and bass lute. Pour un plaisir, a poem that was set by several composers, is an example of poetry and music joined with a simple texture, effectively communicating the text. Jouyssance vous donneray was probably Sermisy's first major 'hit', as evidenced by the number of times the chanson was printed, copied into manuscripts, and arranged for instruments. It also appeared in a painting by the mysterious Flemish Master of the Half-Lengths, c.1530, again depicting voice, flute and a tiny lute. With poetry by Clément Marot, this popular chanson puts a rather modern face on the tradition of courtly love. Dont vient cela, also with poetry by Marot, was another very popular chanson which was later arranged in a psalm setting, for lute, keyboard, dance ensemble, and even appeared in a later vocal setting with a Scots text. Las je me plains, Sermisy's setting of a text by Ronsard, is simple and transparent yet seems to look ahead to a more flowing and sensuous melodic style.

The publications of Pierre Attaignant (c1494-c1551) were a major vehicle in the phenomonal popularity of the 16th century chanson. First published in part books in Chansons Nouvelles en musique à quatre parties (1528), several chansons appeared in arrangements for voice and lute or lute solo in the publication Tres breve et familiere introduction (1529). The book included a handful of purely instrumental preludes along with some of Sermisy's more popular pieces and anonymous chansons such as Fortune laissez moy: Attaignant’s setting for solo lute was the source for our vocal ornaments in this piece. In 1530, Attaingnant published Dix huit basses dances, another seminal book of dances arranged for the lute. Our recording includes selections from all three of these publications by Attaignant, with our own settings for voice and lute from the 1528 print. De mon triste desplaisir, probably by Jean Richafort, was the basis for the famous song by England's Henry VIII, Pastyme with good company, alluding to the well known French-English connection which we exploit with some of our choices for lute solos. Doulce mémoire is a justly famous four-part chanson with music by Pierre Regnault (Sandrin, c. 1490 – 1561) and text by François I of France, in this 1555 two-part adaptation by Lyonese arranger and publisher, Antoine Gardane. The pair of beautiful chansons, Toutes les nuictz by Clément Janequin, and Je suis déshéritée by Pierre Cadéac, are related in that both composers served in the post as tutor for singers of the bishop of Auch, Janequin in the 1520s and Cadéac in the 1540s.

Stepping forward to the mid-16th century with the chansons of Thomas Crecquillon and Jacques Clément (Clemens non Papa), we observe a transition to a very melodic cantus line. Several of our selections are gleaned from a 1553 print by Pierre Phalese, which presents arrangements of four-part chansons for solo voice and lute, some of which we have edited with reference to the original part music. We make amends for the more rustic chansons with a setting of Psaume 114, Quand Israel hors d’Egypte sortit by Guillaume Morlaye, an elaborated arrangement for voice and lute of Pierre Certon's (c1510-1572) original tenor. We close with two of Orlando Lassus' better-known stylistically late chansons, Bonjour mon coeur and the chanson spirituelle, Susanne un jour.
Lute solos included are heavily weighted toward dances, with two very different pavanne & gaillarde pairings, and a few branles. The preludes, ricercars and fantasias act as interludes and connective tissue between chansons, as they were originally intended.  
Au pres de vous
1   Au Pres de Vous - Claudin de Sermisy (c. 1490-1562)
2   Ricercar - Francesco da Milano (1497-1543)
3   Pour un plaisir que si peu dure - Sermisy
4   Jouyssance vous donneray - Sermisy
5   Branle gay: C'est mon amy - Attaingnant, 1530
6   Pavanne - Attaingnant, 1530
7   Branle de Poictou - Attaingnant, 1530
8   Dont vient cela - Sermisy
9   De mon triste desplaisir - Jean Richafort (c. 1480-1547)
10 Prelude - Attaingnant, 1529
11 Fortune laisse moy ma vie - Attaingnant, 1529
12 Pavanne - Attaingnant, 1530
13 Gaillarde - Attaingnant, 1530
14 Las je me plains - Sermisy
15 Doulce mémoire - Sandrin/Antoine Gardane (1509-1569)
16 Ricercar - Marco dal l'Aquila (c.1470-1537)
17 Toutes les nuictz - Clément Janequin (c.1480-1558)
18 Je suis déshéritée - Pierre Cadéac (fl. 1538-1558)
19 Praeludium - Phalese, 1547
20 Pour un plaisir que si peu dure - Thomas Crecquillon (c.1505-1557)
21 C'est a grand tort - Thomas Crecquillon
22 [Susanne un jour]- Anonymous English intabulation
23 Pour un plaisir que si peu dure - Philip van Wilder (c.1500-1553)
24 Puisqu' ainsi est que suis escondit - Philip van Wilder
25 Le bon espoir - Josquin Baston (c.1515-1576)
26 Fantasia - Francesco da Milano
27 Misericorde au martir amoureulx - Jacques Clément (c. 1510-1555)
28 Venes mes serfs - Jacques Clément
29 Quand Israel hors d'Egypte sortit - Guillaume Morlaye (c.1515-1560)
30 Pavanne - Guillaume Morlaye
31 Gaillarde - Guillaume Morlaye
32 Bonjour mon coeur - Orlando de Lassus (1532-1594)
33  Susanne un jour - Orlando de Lassus


HARMONIA CAELESTIS: 16th century Spanish Motets for Voice 
 This recording highlights the intense devotional imagery found in the motets of 16th century Spanish composers including Cristóbal de Morales, Francisco Guerrero, Tomás Luis de Victoria and Esteban López Morago. In returning to the sacred polyphony that brought us together, we have arranged the program as an extended meditation, following the example of our forebears in selecting and adapting the best examples of polyphonic sacred music for private devotions.

While we love, respect and, whenever possible, indulge in the a cappella tradition of sacred polyphony, our format of solo voice and lute represents nothing less than a continuation of the 16th century practice known as intabulation, or arranging vocal music to be played on the lute. Most recordings of lute today are focused on the wonderful repertory of fantasias and dances, yet the bulk of the surviving music for lute consists of intabulations of vocal music, predominantly sacred polyphony.
The fast-decaying strings of the lute are incapable of sustaining long polyphonic lines in the three or four parts it plays, yet several factors emerge through this rendering that demonstrate why intabulation was such a dominant historical medium. First and foremost, the text is absolutely clear in the absence of competing vocalization of the lower parts, demonstrating the composer's intent with a happy marriage of melody and meaning. Transparency and clarity of line are enhanced to a point seldom heard in the thicker texture of an all-vocal performance, resulting in a more expressive reading of the text. Articulation of rhythmic nuance, often sublimated in ensemble, is enhanced, enabling performers to exploit rhetorical devices inherent in the text. All of these factors lead to the main point: a successful performance of intimate devotional music.

Spanish sacred polyphony, with its depth of passion, sensitively wrought polyphony and abundance of appealing rhythmic gesture, is a logical choice for our reconstructions of private devotional music. We have a particular fondness for the music of Francisco Guerrero and have included six very different examples of his versatile style. Guerrero's Ave virgo sanctissima stands out as particularly "Spanish", composed to support the hotly-debated doctrine of Immaculate Conception held by the Spanish Immaculatist movement. Banned in the 16th century by papal bull, the Immaculists eventually prevailed when the Feast of the Conception was designated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1858. Doctrine aside, the popularity of this beautiful motet is evident in that it was the basis for no fewer than six Masses by Spanish and Portuguese composers. In this recording, the lute plays the lower three parts and we are joined by an anonymous harpist playing in canon with the cantus line.

Victoria's O magnum mysterium, beloved and virtually ubiquitous in its four-voice setting, is a perfect model for intabulation with subtle divisions on the lute substituted for sustained vocal lines. Less well known, Dominus meus et Deus meus by Cristóbal de Morales is a Lenten text from John 11:27, quoting Martha's response to Jesus during the story of the raising of Lazarus. Morales' multi-sectional Salve Regina is a model of transparency, and the ugency and drama of the text likewise adapts perfectly to our format. Oculi mei semper ad Dominum, our only motet by Esteban López Morago, is a setting of the text of Psalm 24 and the arrangement for solo voice and lute allows us to sensitively exploit Morago's restless dissonant treatment of the lower parts. Our final motet is Guerrero's Ave Regina Caelorum, a Marian antiphon sung at the close of Compline. Gregorian chants are interspersed throughout the program and we close with the heartfelt hymn, Ubi caritas et amor.

The lute interludes consist mainly of duos from mass movements, originally by Josquin, arranged by Miguel de Fuenllana in Orphénica Lyra (1554), and Enríquez de Valderrábano in Silva de Sirenas (1557). These 16th century printed sources are among seven Spanish publications of music for the vihuela, a flat-backed instrument strung, tuned and played like the lute. Diana Poulton and others have demonstrated that the two instruments were used interchangably in Spain although the vihuela virtually disappeared by end of the century. The vocal texture of the original models translates very well to the lute and offers the instrumentalist an opportunity to indulge in clear and transparent polyphony. Fuenllana's duo settings include Fecit potentiam and Benedictus from Josquin's Missa Pange lingua, and Pleni sunt coeli from Missa Hercule. Valderrábano's Fantasia sobre un Benedictus is derived from Josquin's Missa Ave maris stella, and distinctly quotes the chant.
Two lute solos are from distinctly non-Spanish sources, Isaac's Benedictus, intabulated by Hans Neusidler and Josquin's motet Inviolata integra by Hans Gerle, are included to illustrate the extent to which Franco-Flemish music was integral to the repertory of Spanish cathedrals. Heinrich Isaac, a contemporary of Josquin, never traveled to Spain but his music was known to Spanish intabulators, and Adam Gilbert has made a case for Isaac's familiarity with Spanish music, including his mass on the Spagna tune. Josquin's motet, Inviolata integra, appears in Spanish cathedral choirbooks and was aso set as a duet for plucked strings by Valderrábano.

Harmonia Caelestis
1   O magnum mysterium - Tomás Luis de Victoria (c.1548 – 1611)
2   Senex puerum portabat - Tomás Luis de Victoria (c.1548 – 1611)
3   Duo Fecit potentiam - Miguel de Fuenllana (c.1500 – 1579)
4   O crux benedicta - Francisco Guerrero (1528 – 1599)
5   Duo Et resurrexit - Enríquez de Valderrábano (c.1500 – 1557)
6   Ave Maria - Gregorian Chant
7   Ave Maria - Francisco Guerrero (1528 – 1599)
8   Duo Benedictus - Miguel de Fuenllana (c.1500 – 1579)
9   O Domine Jesu Christe - Francisco Guerrero (1528 – 1599)
10  Duo Pleni sunt - Enríquez de Valderrábano (c.1500 – 1557)
11  Dominus meus et Deus meus - Cristóbal de Morales (c.1500 – 1553)
12  Benedictus Isaac - Hans Newsidler (1508 – 1563)
13  Salve Regina - Cristóbal de Morales (c.1500 – 1553)
14  Duo Pleni sunt from Missa Hercule - Miguel de Fuenllana (c.1500 – 1579)
15  Ave Virgo Sanctissima - Francisco Guerrero (1528 – 1599)
16  Ave maris stella/Fantasia - Enríquez de Valderrábano (c.1500 – 1557)
17  Oculi mei semper ad Dominum - Esteban López Morago (c.1575 – 1630)
18  Pater noster - Francisco Guerrero (1528 – 1599)
19  Inviolata integra - Hans Gerle (c.1500 – 1570)
20  Ave Regina Caelorum - Francisco Guerrero (1528 – 1599)
21  Ubi caritas et amor - Gregorian chant

Composer Info

Antoine Busnoys (c.1430-1492), Joan Ambrosio Dalza (fl. 1508), Johannes Ockeghem (c.1410-1497), Johannes Ockeghem (c.1410-1497), Francesco Spinacino (fl. 1507), Josquin (c.1450-1521), Hayne van Ghizeghem (c.1445-1497), Franciscus Bossnensis (fl. 1509-11), Pierre Attaignant (c1494-c1551), Pierre Regnault (Sandrin, c. 1490 – 1561), Claudin de Sermisy (c. 1490-1562), Francesco da Milano (1497-1543), Jean Richafort (c. 1480-1547), Sandrin/Antoine Gardane (1509-1569), Marco dal l'Aquila (c.1470-1537), Clément Janequin (c.1480-1558), Pierre Cadéac (fl. 1538-1558), Thomas Crecquillon (c.1505-1557), Philip van Wilder (c.1500-1553), Josquin Baston (c.1515-1576), Jacques Clément (c. 1510-1555), Guillaume Morlaye (c.1515-1560), Orlando de Lassus (1532-1594), Tomás Luis de Victoria (c.1548 – 1611), Miguel de Fuenllana (c.1500 – 1579), Francisco Guerrero (1528 – 1599), Enríquez de Valderrábano (c.1500 – 1557), Cristóbal de Morales (c.1500 – 1553), Hans Newsidler (1508 – 1563),

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