Festival BACH de lausanne
Baroque Academy

Commentaire personnel

À travers l’Europe, de la Renaissance aux débuts du baroque
Par Hille Perl

Some musical genres of the solistic instrumental music of the 16th to 18th centuries were based on a simple method: use something you know and develop it into something new and – possibly- unexpected; you could take a common dance, a madrigal or chanson, a Cantus firmus or just improvise over cadence or a well known ground.



Diego Ortiz Toledano (1510-1570)                     Recercada sobre Canto LLano
                                                                       La Gamba
                                                                       Passamezzo Moderno
Diego Ortiz: one of the oldest instrumental tutors: the ‚Tratado de glosas,, published in Rome in 1553, is an instruction, how to improvise on the gamba over musical forms that were common knowledge. The ideas for the Improvisation of the Canto Llano ‚Re di Spagna‘ and the two Italian ‚tenores‘ La Gamba and Passsamezzo moderno are taken from this book


Luis de Milán (?-1561)                                    Fantasia 1 & 2
The Spanish Lute instrument of the time was the Vihuela da Mano, and Luis de Milan was the foremost master of the time. His book ‚El maestro‘ of 1536 contains  varied pieces, uses advanced compositin techniques, uses chromatic in a very modern way and is the first example we know of printed music, where indications for tempo are found.


Anon                                                               Xacaras
The simple chord-sequence of the Xacaras (possibly the dance from Jaca in northern Spain) was very popular on the Iberic peninsula and survives in middle and south america in the popular music to this day. Variations survive by Santiago de Murcia, Lucas Ribayaz or Gaspar Sanz and many more. This is an anonymous setting taken from the collection of organ music from Antonio Marrtin Y Coll.



Vincenzo Bonnizzi (?-1630)                             Jouissance vous donnerray
Bonnizzi was a Student of both Orazio Bassani and Claudio Merula, as he writes in his ‚Alcune Opere di diversi Autori‘ which was published in Venice in 1626. It is one of the important sources for so called ‚viola bastarda‘ pieces: the technique where the viol uses all parts of the madrigal for diminutions and variations: the high and the low parts. The wide tessitura of the viol allows the player to use this technique instead of concentration on only one or two parts: This example here on the madrigal by Adrian Willaert is one of the most beautiful pieces from this repertoire.


Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)                 Canzone per il Basso
A completely different instrumental form also popular especially for pieces of several parts is the instrumental Canzona: where the parts play  to each other the themes in canonic counterpoint. This example by Girolamo Frescobaldi is interesting in so far, as the listener may follow the continuation of the themes in hie head, as the incipits are often indicated and not followed through the entire theme. An excercise for the imagination as well as a free form Toccata-style example. This Canzona could also be played on a trombone or a dulcian, but the viol, as so often finds her own access to the piece.


Anonym (15.Jh)                                               Saltarello
The history of the saltarello is long – and the precise dance-step is hitherto unknown.  We can only assume, that turning and jumping – as the name indicates – was somehow involved. I like this Saltarello: to simultanously calm and excite the mind, close the eyes, follow the music in your mind with mental physical movement. Enjoy


Antonio Bertali (1605-1669)                            Sonate in d
The Veronese composer Antonio Bertali was foremost a violinist, and this sonata also originally is a violin sonata: It made its way into this concert as one of the early sonatas that within itself show variants of the same themes in all the movements except the introduction, the middle section ,and the conclusion.


Girolamo Kapsberger (1580-1651)                 Toccata Seconda & Ciaconna
Of German origin and born in Venice, Kapsberger apparently spent most of his life in Rome, where he published many  works: madrigals, pieces for the newly invented chitarrone, the lute and other instrumental music, a lot of pieces of a certain eccentricity but with a lot of charme as well. This Toccata and the Ciaccona are taken from his Third book from 1626.



John Eccles (1668-1735)                                Ground in f
Eccles or Eagles became ‚Master of the King’s Musick‘ in 1700 . He was well known for his Masques, dances and songs. This fine Ground in f minor is taken from his theater music.


Tobias Hume (1569-1645)                               Life & Death
Hume’s main profession was to be a soldier. He served – amongst others – in the Russian and Swedish armies, but played and composed for the viol all his life. Over a long period of time he and John Dowland held an argument about which instrument was better suited to accompany song and could thus claim to be the queen of all instruments: the viol or the lute, which remained unsolved to this day. Nevertheless Hume was acquainted with all modern viol techniques and published two books of music for the viol, most of it set in tabulature – like lute music, with the generous use of chordal playing. His music is the first known source to describe bowing techniques such as Coll’legno or left hand pizzicato.


Thomas Mace (1613-?)                                 A Voluntary
Music’s Monument is Thomas Mace’s main publication and probablöy the most important source we have, not only about the instrumentalm techniques on the lute and the viol in 17th century England but also about instrument making and even the space music could be played in. Here is an example of the music printed in this important book.


Richard Sumarte (15?-ca1630)                       Preludin & Daphne
>The Manchester Music book of Lyra viol pieces is a collection from the around 1660 that contains music from different composers and in many different tunings. The two pieces here can be found in that collection, but who Mr Sumarte was, where he lived or when he was born, has so far not been found out. Like Hume’s pieces these are typicall ‚Lyra viol‘ compositions.


Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738)                    Carolans Dream
Blind O’Carolan was a master of melody, this tune, found in many collections of Irish tunes of the 17th and 18th centuries is sometimes also called Molly Halfpenny.


Anonymus                                                      Greensleeves
The collector John Playford in his division Violin (Printed in 1685) published this version of the famous tune: Alas my love you do me wrong, to cast me off discourteously, and I have loved you oh so long, delighting in your company.



Jacques Cordier (1580-1653)                          La Bocanne
Cordier was a Dancing Master as well as a violinist: He became a famous coreographer and was extremely popular as a dancer, despite the fact- or because of it?- that he was a hump-back This melody has the same name as his nickname: Le bocan


Antoine Francisque (1570-1605)                     Prelude
                                                                    Susan ung jour
While the guitar as it invaded Franc e from Spain was getting more and more popular, Antoine Francisque with his amazing virtuosity managed to keep the lute in fashion: his ‚Trésor D’Orühée‘ that was published in 1600 contains the two pieces we present in this program.


Mons de Sainte Colombe (1640-1690)           Chaconne
                                                                   La Vignon
The gamba virtuosoes, Mons. de Sainte Colombe le Père together with his son, whose mysterious identities remains more or less undiscovered to this day; despite the efforts of numerous gambists: to find out more about the lives of the father and also the son, who worked in England as a gambist after 1700, the legend remains, that they were involved of making the use of the seven-string viola da gamba poular in France from the middle of the 17th century. The modest but playful chaconnes we present in this program are joyous testimony of the lives of these musicians that could speak the language of the viol so well.


Michel Farinel (1649-1725)                             Faronell’s Ground
At the end of this musical voyage we set a piece by Michel Farinel: born in Grenoble, the young Michel travelled to Rome where he studied with  Giacomo Carissimi. After 1672 we find him back in France, but hungry for travel and new experiences he married the daughter of the London based composer  Robert Cambert: Anne Cambert. The couple joined an Opera company and travelled to Spain where he worked as a court musician for a few years. Later they went back to France and worked at Versailles before returning to Grenoble. A true travelling Cosmopolitan ends this program; his version of the Folia-Ground was published in Playford’s ‚Division Violin‘ in 1685, which spread his fame in England.

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