Gerald Hoekstra, director
7:30 p.m. · Friday, April 22, 2005 · Urness Recital Hall
Missa Ave maris stella — Josquin des Prez c. 1450-1521
Kyrie — Sanctus — Agnus dei
Josquin's Missa Ave maris stella , like many Renaissance settings of the mass ordinary, draws on liturgical chant for its melodic material, in this case a well-known hymn to the virgin Mary. Using a method known as the paraphrase technique, Josquin takes the hymn melody, modifies it freely, and weaves it through all the voices of his polyphonic setting. Although the melody is treated in various ways throughout the mass, it is heard most clearly and radiantly in the last Agnus, where it appears climactically in the soprano; in fact, both the tenor and soprano carry the hymn melody here, in strict canon. In the first Agnus, the tenor and bass have the paraphrased hymn melody in strict canon. The second Agnus, in contrast, is for soprano and alto only and is freely composed.
Early Music Singers
The singing of the Lamentations, three sets of nocturnes with texts from the writings of the prophet Jeremiah, constituted an important part of the historic liturgy of Holy Week; they were sung as lessons during the early morning offices on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. As early as the fifteenth century, musicians began setting them polyphonically. An unusual aspect of these compositions is the tradition of setting the Hebrew letters that precede each verse (and which appear in the Vulgate) as well as the texts themselves. Although Tallis's Lamentations are the best known and most frequently performed, many Renaissance composers produced polyphonic settings, including Crecquillon, Sermisy, Byrd, Lassus, and Palestrina. Tallis's career in the Royal Chapel spanned the reigns of English monarchs from Henry VIII to Elizabeth, but his Lamentations are thought to date from the years of Elizabeth. Since the Anglican liturgy in use during this period did not include the singing of the Lamentations (or for that matter, any music with Latin text), this work was probably intended for private devotional use. The somber Phrygian mode harmonies of this work underscore effectively the mournful and pentitential character of the text.
The Lamentations of Jeremiah, First Set — Thomas Tallis c. 1505-1585
III. Settings of Texts from Vergil's Aeneid
During the Renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, scholars became intensely interested in the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, many of which had not been known before in the West. Musicians also became interested in these writings, and one manifestation is the setting of passages from Vergil's Aeneid by Josquin, Willaert, Rore, and others. Josquin's Fama, malum employs the fully polyphonic style of the motet circa 1500. Willaert's Dulces exuviae , in contrast, is in a more chordal style and shows great sensitivity to the rhetorical structure and speech rhythms of the text. Both passages come from Book IV, which recounts the tale the Trojan hero's layover in Carthage and his love affair with Dido, queen of Carthage.
Fama, malum — Josquin des Prez
Juno, the patron goddess of Carthage, and Venus, Aeneas's mother, have schemed to marry Dido and Aeneas when they take shelter from a rainstorm in a cave while hunting. Rumor gets wind of the marriage and stirs up trouble by spreading gossip throughout the land.
Dulces exuviae — Adrian Willaert ca. 1490-1562
Heartbroken after Aeneas leaves her to sail to Italy, Dido builds a pyre, intending to destroy the relics he has left behind and herself along with them. Before she kills herself with Aeneas's sword, she bitterly recalls the difficult life she has led and laments the happiness she might have enjoyed if only Aeneas and the Trojans had never come to Carthage.
IV. Music from the the Odhecaton (1501)
Although the art of printing from movable type was invented in the mid-fifteenth century, it took several decades for the complex problems of printing polyphonic music to be solved. In the 1490s the Venetian printer Ottaviano Petrucci designed and cast a complete set of musical symbols and devised a method whereby, in three separate pressings, he was able to print music. In 1498 he petitioned the Venetian Signoria for a patent on the process, but it was not until three years later, 1501, that he issued his first music book, the Harmonice Musices Odhecaton ("One hundred songs of harmonic music"). It was a beautifully executed volume, offering French chansons and instrumental music, mostly by composers from the Low Countries and northern France -- Busnois, Ockeghem, Josquin, Agricola, and the composers featured here. Since the music was printed without words, scholars assume that it was intended for instrumentalists. Within a few years Petrucci produced two sequel volumes, titled simply Canti B and Canti C , nine volumes of music for the mass, four books of motets, and the first of a series of volumes of Italian secular songs. The Odhecaton marks a significant moment in music history. Henceforth complex art music would be available not only to musicians at the courts or churches with the resources to hire copyists or purchase manuscripts, but increasingly to amateurs and the broader European public as well.
Hor oires une chanson — shawm, cornett, sackbuts, dulcian — Anonymous ca. 1500
E qui la dira — cornett, sackbuts, dulcian — Heinrich Isaac ca. 1450-1517
Brunette — recorders & harp — Johannes de Stockem c. 1445-1487
Latura tu et nennin dea — recorders — Antoine Bruhier fl. early 16th c.
Venis regrets — tenor viol & harp — Loyset Compère 1460-1518
Tan bien mi son pensa — cornett, sackbuts, dulcian — Jean Japart fl. c. 1476-81
Nostre cambrière si malade estois — recorders — Ninot le Petit fl. c. 1500
James, james, james — cornett, sackbuts, dulcian — Jean Mouton c. 1450-1522
V. Elizabethan Consort Music
Lachrimae Amantis — viols & harp — John Dowland 1563-1626
The Earl of Essex Galiard — viols — John Dowland
Hence, stars, too dim of light — shawm, cornett, sackbuts, dulcian — Michael East c. 1580-1648
Fantasy no. 7 a 5 — viols — John Ward 1571-1638
Pavan a 4 — recorders — Thomas Tomkins 1571-1656
Fantasy no. 6 a 5 — viols — John Ward
The Silver Swan — viols — Orlando Gibbons 1583-1625
The office of Vespers as it developed in the Western liturgical tradition was one of the most important musically of the liturgical hours. Besides various versicles, readings, and prayers, it included the singing of four or five complete psalms with introductory antiphons, a strophic hymn, and the Magnificat. At St. Mark's Basilica and other major churches of Venice during the late sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries, it was celebrated in grand concerted fashion for choirs, soloists, and instruments on Sundays and important feast days; it was essentially a sacred concert.
Giovanni Antonio Rigatti's setting of the Vespers psalm Dixit Dominus sounds strikingly similar to the compositions of his better-known older contemporary, Claudio Monteverdi (c. 1567-1641). This is not surprising, since Rigatti received his training as a choirboy at St. Mark's during the years that Monteverdi served there as maestro di cappella there. Using all of the expressive devices of his time, Rigatti brings out with contrasting styles the meaning of each verse of the text. Especially effective is the use of the stile concitato , a style employing static harmonies with rapidly repeated notes and fanfare figures invented by Monteverdi for the expression of anger and war-like sentiments.
Dixit Dominus (Psalm 109) — Giovanni Antonio Rigatti c. 1613-1648
— voices, violins, sackbuts; Basso continuo: dulcian, organ, and harpsichord
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Reception following the concert.
Ane Kirstine Wynn
Christine Wilkinson and Aria Peters, treble viol, violin
Rachel Nesvig, tenor viol
Mary Beth Bolin and Gerald Hoekstra, bass viol
Noelle Pierce, soprano recorder
Christine Holmgren, alto recorder
Catherine Wing, tenor recorder
James Haas, bass recorder
Laurie Bardenwerper, cornett
Noelle Pierce, soprano shawm
Phyllip Johnson and Edward Pompeian, tenor sackbut
Stephanie Anderson, bass dulcian
Heather Wood, harp
Additional instrumentalists on Rigatti, Dixit Dominus:
Amy Larsen, tenor sackbut
Karin Hancock, harpsichord
Catherine Rodland, positive organ