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Thread: For love of the Baroque...

  1. #226
    Member EchoEcho's Avatar
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    Turning now to Spanish Baroque....

    First, some historical context (I'm informing myself as I write this, by the way). The Spanish Golden Age lasted from about 1492 until about 1659, during which time the Iberian peninsula was largely controlled by the Hapsburg Dynasty, closely aligned with the Catholic Church. Although the region prospered as a result of influx of gold and silver from the colonies, this prosperity was tempered by various economic problems as well as the redirection of resources to fight Hapsburg quarrels in other parts of Europe. Nevertheless, there was a flourishing of the arts – in literature, philosophy, architecture, painting, and music.

    Spanish Baroque music seems closely tied to (and derivative of ??) Italian baroque music. Two of the early big names were Alonso Lobo and Tomás Luis de Victoria, both on this album:

    Victoria: Requiem 1605; Lobo: Lamentations 1600
    Tenebrae

    Victoria_Requiem_SIGCD248.jpg

    This is lovely, unaccompanied polyphonic music, smooth as silk.

    Stylistically, this could be classified as late Renaissance. Certainly there is no evidence of the rise of (reversion to?) monody and/or the instrumental advances occurring in Italy.

    Rating: 3.5 stars – but higher if you dig this kind of music.
    Last edited by EchoEcho; Jan-23-2018 at 16:34.

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  3. #227
    Member EchoEcho's Avatar
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    Though music of the court and church was largely dominated by the tastes of the Hapsburgs, Spain also had an active "folk music" scene, vitalized in part by the annual pilgrimages to places like Santiago.

    Un camino de Santiago
    Arianna Savall, Ensemble La Fenice, Jean Tubery



    Very enjoyable: 4 stars
    Last edited by EchoEcho; Jan-23-2018 at 20:06.

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  5. #228
    Member EchoEcho's Avatar
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    More music that could almost be classified as folk music:

    The Guerra Manuscript, Vol. 4
    Ars Atlantica, Manuel Vilas / Naxos



    The Guerra Manuscript is a compilation of "tonos humanos" – ie. secular songs in the style of monody – compiled in 1680, during the reign of Charles II of Spain. This fourth volume of the Naxos series seemed particularly interesting.

    Per wikipedia, Charles II (1661 - 1700) was noted for his extensive physical, intellectual, and emotional disabilities and his consequent ineffectual rule. Charles II was born physically and mentally disabled and infertile. Even worse, these handicaps were mostly likely the result of regular inbreeding amongst the Hapsburg rulers in Spain!

    Quoting now:
    The years of Charles' reign were difficult for Spain. The economy was stagnant, there was hunger in the land, and the power of the monarchy over the various Spanish provinces was extremely weak. Spain’s finances were perpetually in crisis.[7] Charles' unfitness for rule meant he was often ignored, and power during his reign became the subject of court intrigues and foreign influence, particularly French and Austrian.

    Charles II died childless and was the last Hapsburg to reign in Spain. Kinda sad.

    Anyway, this is very good music! 4 stars
    Last edited by EchoEcho; Jan-24-2018 at 00:13.

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  7. #229
    Member EchoEcho's Avatar
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    One more album in a similar vein before moving on:

    Sanz: Instruccion de Musica Sobre la Guitarra Espanola
    Hopkinson Smith



    Gaspar Sanz wrote three volumes of pedagogical works for the baroque guitar that form an important part of today's classical guitar repertory and have informed modern scholars in the techniques of baroque guitar playing (wikipedia).

    These songs are from the first of these three, published in 1674.

    Rating: 3.5 stars.
    Last edited by EchoEcho; Jan-24-2018 at 00:39.

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  9. #230
    Member EchoEcho's Avatar
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    Turning now to France...

    I don't have (or know of) much Baroque music from France in the first half of the 17th century. For better or worse I start my exploration here:

    Concert royal de la Nuit
    Ensemble Correspondances, Sébastien Daucé



    This is a reconstruction of sorts of a large performance in 1653, the Ballet Royal de la Nuit, which took 13 hours to complete, and which included the participation of 14-year-old Louis XIV. Apparently, in this event young Louis danced the role of the Sun, thereby earning the sobriquet "The Sun King", which obviously stuck with him.

    This is my first time listening to this work, so I may need some time to form my impressions....

    Later:

    I'll need to finish listening tomorrow, but a couple of comments...

    We have seen (indeed we started with) unaccompanied polyphony; we have seen the rising popularity of simple guy-with-a-guitar music (eg. monody); we have seen how this vocal style was incorporated into opera as arias; we have seen the emergence of new instruments, particularly keyboard instruments, and the rise of virtuoso playing techniques; finally we have seen how all of these secular developments have fed back into sacred music, giving rise to for example oratorio and sacred cantatas.

    Anyway, all that kinda makes sense just looking at Italian (and Spanish) early Baroque. With this album though we encounter another thread: courtly dance music. Not the later waltzy stuff, but more like slow-motion square dancing. That kind of dance music plays a big role on this album.

    Maybe I would have picked up this musical thread earlier if I had examined other countries first – e.g. Masques from England. I don't know. But I certainly didn't hear much dance music in the Italian or Spanish music selections I played.

    Interesting.

    Anyway, this Concert Royal seems heavily reconstructed. I can't figure out really why chunks of Rossi and Cavalli are included, even after reading the booklet. Also I can't figure out how they can condense 13 hours into 2.5 hours and still claim it's substantially complete. But maybe I was skimming the booklet.

    It's still good, but I'll dock it a half point for its length: 2.5 stars.
    Last edited by EchoEcho; Jan-24-2018 at 07:52.

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  11. #231
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    ^^^^^

    Thanks for your posts, EchoEcho - I'm particularly interested in the last, as I'm a big fan of Jean-Baptiste Lully. I googled Concert Royal de la Nuit and found this French documentary about the making of the albums. I was in despair as my schoolgirl French wasn't up to it, but then a helpful comment alerted me to the fact that there were English subtitles that I could switch on using the first icon to the right below the screen.



    PS - We just watched it, and got some answers to the questions you asked. Only the top melodies of the ballet survived, so bass and other parts were added; the entertainment included lots of poetry, plays within plays and so on, so it would have taken a lot longer than just the musical parts; there were also lots of musical interludes, which haven't survived, and as Mazarin commissioned the Concert Royal de la Nuit, and he was known to have had Rossi and Cavalli staged, excerpts on related mythological themes were included to try and reconstruct what the concert would have seemed like to the original viewers, i.e. the impressions and atmosphere rather than the precise ingredients, which have been lost.
    Last edited by Ingélou; Jan-24-2018 at 20:01.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  13. #232
    Member EchoEcho's Avatar
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    Next stop: Jean Baptiste Lully !!

    Lully: Ballet Music for the Sun King
    Aradia Baroque Ensemble, Kevin Mallon



    My recollection is that Lully was granted some kind of monopoly on court music, and dominated the field for decades, keeping other composers sidelined. Not sure though, and today no time for reading booklets and/or wikipedia, so I will remain in the dark.

    Please direct all questions to Ingelou!

    Musically, we can compare this music with earlier Italian baroque as follows: comparable levels of instrumentation, also incorporation of the emotional expressiveness in the singing. But comparatively speaking this music is a bit reserved – no showing off here, by either the singers or the players. Also, occasional inclusion of dance music (ie early ballet), as well as some martial passages and effects. The music overall has a stately, refined feel.
    Last edited by EchoEcho; Jan-24-2018 at 16:02.

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  15. #233
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    ^^^^ 'Please direct all questions to Ingelou!'

    Ha ha, joke, she said politely - I haven't listened to nearly enough music, even by my favourite.

    However, in case my personal response is of any interest to anyone, I did make an extra effort a couple of years ago and made this extensive post on the group I started, Baroque Exchange:
    http://www.talkclassical.com/groups/...hat-2-may.html

    The composer guestbook includes some more information:
    Jean-Baptiste Lully

    You are right that he was a greedy blighter and claimed a monopoly even on other people's music. In fact, he was a flawed individual in very many ways. But I still love his music - I think mainly because his love of dance has simplified his melodies and strengthened his rhythms, and I have always loved dance myself.

    Because dancing is important!
    http://spenserians.cath.vt.edu/TextR...?textsid=32843

    Dauncing (bright Lady) then began to be,
    When the first seeds whereof the world did spring
    The Fire, Ayre, Earth, and water did agree,
    By Love's perswasion, Nature's mighty King,
    To leave their first disordred combating;
    And in a daunce such measure to observe,
    As all the world their motion should preserve.
    Last edited by Ingélou; Jan-24-2018 at 19:18.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  17. #234
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    I stumbled upon this thread the other night and have been enjoying it so much. One of my favorite baroque composers hasn't been mentioned yet (unless I missed it): Johann Heinrich Schmelzer. Here are a few links if anyone is unfamiliar. Thank you everybody.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UUiXYuiNwQ

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP09...iVFhLFgfyUuiR5

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  19. #235
    Member EchoEcho's Avatar
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    Next up:

    Dumont: O mysterium
    Ensemble Correspondances and Sébastien Daucé (the people behind the Concert Royal above).



    Henri Dumont (1610 - 1684; i.e. a generation earlier than Lully) was a Dutch composer who moved to Paris. These motets (ie. madrigals on religious themes) are from the 1680s, when Dumont held posts in the Royal Chapel.

    Lovely, interesting music: 3.5 stars.

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  21. #236
    Senior Member Dirge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nudge and a Wink View Post
    p.p.s. - Dirge please tell me that your avatar is not a current photo of yourself... If it is I shall sink into the "slough of despond"...
    That photo is from my second—or was it my third?—arrest in Vanity Fair, so it’s not even a current mug shot of myself.

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  23. #237
    Member EchoEcho's Avatar
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    One last disc before I take a break...

    Charpentier: Te Deum, etc
    Le Parlement de Musique, Martin Gester



    Reissued on Naive:

    51ZA1zgbDVL._SY355_.jpg

    Lully was the King's composer, Du Mont was the Queen's composer, and Charpentier was the Dauphin's composer. I kid you not.

    Under Louis XIV, for many posts, there were four appointees, who would serve in rotation for three months at a time each year. Eventually the better composers (etc) would keep the post for the whole year. A kind of meritocracy I suppose.

    Lively, large scale motets. 3 stars.

    =>=>

    Au revoir for now. When I come back, I'll try to finish 17th century baroque, by surveying English and German baroque music (neither of which I know much about), as well as finishing the second half of Italian baroque.

    It's been an interesting and informative exercise. I hope others have gotten something out of it as well.
    Last edited by EchoEcho; Jan-26-2018 at 02:25.

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  25. #238
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EchoEcho View Post
    One last disc before I take a break...
    Au revoir for now. When I come back, I'll try to finish 17th century baroque, by surveying English and German baroque music (neither of which I know much about), as well as finishing the second half of Italian baroque.

    It's been an interesting and informative exercise. I hope others have gotten something out of it as well.
    Certainly have! Thank you so much for posting, EchoEcho.

    Enjoy your break - and haste ye back!
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  27. #239
    Senior Member josquindesprez's Avatar
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    More Zelenka! The Missa Omnium Sanctorum is a splendid work, highly recommended to Baroque fans. Zelenka has a wonderful way of blending the light and airy with the foreboding (not sure if those are the best possible terms, but you probably get what I'm getting at if you've heard him), and I'm not sure who else at this time had that skill.

    Jan Dismas Zelenka_ Missa omnium sanctorum, ZWV 21, Christe eleison, ZWV 29 & Barbara dira effer.jpg

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  29. #240
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    I've been listening to nothing but baroque cantatas for a couple of weeks now, just dozens of them, and they are amazing. In fact I may well suggest they are the ultimate baroque form. So they have mostly been Bach, Telemann, Buxtehude. Also been throwing in some Passions, mostly from Telemann.

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