Duarte Lobo

An Early Music Father's Day!

On Saturday and Sunday, June 18 & 19, 2016, Jouyssance performed a concert dedicated to early music featuring father's and father figures. Here is the program and program notes from that event. 

Jouyssance sings of all things fatherly at St. Bede's Episcopal Church on Saturday, June 18, 2016.  

A Celebration of Father’s Day – Program Notes

by Nicole Baker, PhD

Welcome to Jouyssance’s Father’s Day celebration! You’ll hear about the God the Father, be he merciful, angry, our protector, or our leader. And when it comes to the father of the house, Jouyssance takes an admittedly archaic tack as it focuses on traditional concepts of men and family: you’ll meet hen-pecked husbands, rogues, drinkers, tobacco smokers, soldiers and hunters. Indeed, if we could have found a song about golf, it would have been here.

Highly prolific in his output, William Byrd produced works from viol consort music to Masses for private Catholic worship. His brief setting of a verse from Psalm 76, Terra tremuit, is often heard on Easter Sunday. Published in Byrd’s 1607 Gradualia, the work features some very obvious text-painting as the voices sing “and the earth trembled.”

The most successful Jewish composer of the late Renaissance, Salomone Rossi of Mantua was primarily a madrigalist, and he pioneered the important instrumental genre of the early Baroque, the trio sonata. Today, his best known works are his Jewish liturgical “motets.” His setting of an abridged version of the Kedusha (Keter) responses is surprisingly varied in its textures. The opening word Keter means crown, and it appears in ornate melismas in all voices. Eventually, Rossi settles into his usual homophonic texture, which is more in keeping with the early Baroque style favored in Mantua.

The anonymous Tappster, dryngker, amid all of its crassness, exhibits the sweet English sound, or contenance angloise that was a hallmark of the early to mid-15th century. Composed in the style of an English catch, it has parallel sixth chords typical for its time.

One of the finest composers of the late British Renaissance, Thomas Weelkes earned his degree at New College, Oxford, and spent much of his career at Chichester Cathedral as a singer, organist, conductor, composer, and teacher. Our first taste of Weelkes is the rowdy smoking song Come Sirrah Jack, ho, which sounds about as close to modern barbershop as late 16th century music can get. The song appears in the composer’s earthy and often topical 1608 publication, Ayeres or Phantasticke Spirites for Three Voices (his penchant for strong drink is evident in several selections). In Come Sirrah, the middle voice in effect operates in a different meter from the others, perhaps replicating the vertigo one might feel from too much tobacco.
Weelkes was also a prolific composer of service music for the Church of England, but much of it was lost. Fortunately, one of his surviving pieces is the poignant full anthem When David heard, which portrays David’s grief at losing his son Absalom. His tremendous talent as a madrigal composer helps convey the text through chromaticism and subtle word-painting.

Little is known about Pierre Certon: he worked at Notre Dame in Paris in 1529 and then moved to Saint Chapelle, where he served as master of the choristers. Certon played an important role in the development of the 16th century French chanson. The gossipy, rhythmic chanson La, la la, je ne l’ose dire exemplifies the mid-16th century Voix de ville — rustic songs centered on village life — and incorporates the dialogue style Certon favored.

One of the most diverse and prolific composers of all time, the Franco-Flemish composer Orlando di Lasso developed his international style by traveling throughout Europe as a youth in the service of the Gonzaga family. At age 24, with several posts already on his resume, Lassus gained a position at the Bavarian court in Munich, where he would remain for the rest of his life. As Hofkappellemeister, Lassus made Munich the most famous and lavish musical center in Europe. Published in 1565, the two-part motet Beati omnes qui timent Dominum shows an earlier, less chromatic side of Lasso. Giving each phrase of the psalm its due, Lasso flows effortlessly from one texture to another, indulging in occasional word painting along the way.
Later in the program we’ll present his delightful chanson, Quand mon mari. Published in 1564, the work shows Lasso’s ability to import Italian madrigalisms into French chansons. Full of irony and affect painting, he displays a mastery of textures that alternate between polyphony and homophony.

Kyrie Rex immense, Pater comes from the 12th century manuscript, the Codex Calixtinus of Santiago de Compostela. Musicologists believe that, despite its Spanish home, the manuscript originated in Aquitaine, the home of some of the earliest musically developed polyphony. The piece we present is a troped, or altered, version of a Kyrie.

The most famous Portuguese composer of his time, Duarte Lobo served as mestre de capela at Évora Cathedral and later in various posts in Lisbon. Lobo worked in a variety of styles, ranging from High Renaissance imitative counterpoint to early Baroque polychoral homophony. Published in 1621, Lobo’s Pater peccavi hearkens back to the style of Josquin, but incorporates characteristic Iberian chromaticism.

Possibly the last motet he composed, Josquin des Prez’s Pater noster/Ave Maria combines in one monumental work the two cardinal prayers of the Roman Catholic Church. Josquin left instructions and an endowment for it to be sung following his death at processions that went by his house in Condé-sur-Escaut. The moody, contemplative music departs from the more blatant imitative polyphony of his earlier days. Instead, the work includes numerous “hidden” canons that obscure his compositional method. Relatively austere and low in range, this motet features Josquin’s characteristic drive to cadences and an almost antiphonal nature.

A master of light madrigals, Thomas Vautor flourished in the early years of the 17th century, and most likely was based in Leicestershire, where he worked for George Villiers, the notorious Duke of Buckingham who may have had an amorous relationship with James I. All of his extant works are contained in a single volume, dedicated to Villiers. Witty and exquisitely crafted, Vautor’s Mother I will have a husband relies on a double-chorus texture, and no small amount of slang, to convey an argument between a precocious young girl and her mother.

Like many composers of chansons and madrigals, Pierre Passereau was widely praised in his time, but little is known about him. He is best known for lively, rhythmic works full of repeated notes and syllabic text settings that describe a situation or a story. Il est bel et bon appears in numerous editions, pointing to its popularity at the time (and now), and like many of Passereau’s chansons, deals with a rather unsophisticated subject in a witty, learned way. Listen for the onomatopoeic imitation of hens clucking.

Guillaume Dufay is arguably the greatest composer of the 15th century, and with England’s John Dunstable, helped launch the Renaissance. Often mistakenly linked to the Burgundian Court, he actually worked all over Europe, including Cambrai and Italy. Dufay composed his monumental isorhythmic motet Ecclesiae militantis for the coronation of Pope Eugenius IV on March 11, 1431. What makes this work particularly grand is the number of voices – normally there are three, but here we have five. The isorhythm appears in the slow moving lower two voices, or tenors, while the upper two voices sing different texts both praising Eugenius, and appealing to God the gentle Father for a return to peace in the Christian world. The upper two voices move fluidly and, progressive for its time, reflect the different moods of the text. All of the voices become increasingly complex in rhythmic design, leading smoothly into the brilliantly climactic final bars.

A onetime boy chorister at Canterbury and eventually a member of Chapel Royal, Edward Pearce is best known as the teacher of Thomas Ravenscroft. Few works of Pearce’s survive —
tonight’s charming A Hunting Song, with its nonsense lyrics and call-and-response interplay, is one of two secular vocal works extant.

The women of Jouyssance present the Franconian motet Psallat chorus/Eximie pater/Aptatur. Prior to the work of theorist and composer Franco of Cologne, rhythm in sacred music was limited to six patterns. Polytextual motets like this one are among the first to break free of the rhythmic modes and show some independence among the voices, thanks to a system of notation that serves as an ancestor to what we have today. The result is a delightful work involving two active upper voices and a slower moving, repetitive, lower voice.

The tune “L’homme armé” has served as the basis for some 40 settings of the Mass Ordinary from about 1450 to modern times, with Karl Jenkins’ the most recent. Johannes Ockeghem is generally considered the first “true” Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer. After stints in Antwerp and Dijon, Ockeghem moved to Paris, working for three different French kings. His music often involves complex metrical and canonic schemes that serve as the background for beautiful, consonant sonorities that served as the basis for the Renaissance sound. His Missa L’homme armé may not be as complex as other works of his, but the Gloria does present the tenor – the original chanson – in a different meter from the other voices.

Probably the greatest German composer of the late Renaissance, Hans Leo Hassler composed a wide variety of Masses, motets, canzonettas, Lieder, and keyboard music. Thanks to his study abroad, the Nuremburg native synthesized and brought back to Germany Italian compositional styles, particularly those found in Venice. It’s not known how much contact he had with the likes of Merulo, Gabrieli and Zarlino, but their work certainly influenced his, as can be heard in the brilliant, virtuosic, double-choir piece Cantemus Domino, published in 1615, which closes our program.

Choral Music of the Portuguese Renaissance

By Nicole Baker, PhD

This essay originally appeared in the newsletter of the Southern California Early Music Society (SCEMS).  Reprinted with permission.  Visit the SCEMS website to join the Society and receive regular Southern California early music news and essays.  

The music of the Iberian Renaissance reflects the many forces that shaped its culture: its Moorish and Jewish populations, the Catholic Church, the wandering minstrels and troubadours that criss-crossed Medieval Europe, its links to England, influences from its colonies around the world, and local popular music traditions.  Renaissance music from Spain has long been favored by audiences and performing groups alike for its passion and beauty.  Names like Victoria, Morales, and Guerrero populate concert programs of choirs of all levels. Medieval music specialists like Jordi Savall have allowed us to experience the exotic, Moorish-flavored beauty of such Spanish collections as the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, the Cantigas de Santa Maria, and the Codex Calixtinus.

Thanks to a paucity of sources, audiences have had fewer opportunities to hear music from Portugal.  But a chance encounter with a Naxos CD titled simply “Portuguese Polyphony” has opened this listener’s ears to this wondrous repertoire.  Jouyssance has already presented a heavily Portuguese Iberian Twelfth Night, and will reprise some of the same music (and add a lot more!) at its April 21 concert at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton.  Music of Portugal will also form the backbone of Jouyssance’s next CD, Cantiga: An Early Music Journey through Iberia

The lack of sources for this music starts at the beginning of Western music history: most Medieval sources of chant are lost, with the earliest preserved at the Cistercian abbey of Alcobaça, and at the convents of Lorvão and Arouca.   The first cathedral music schools – strong indicators of a growing musical tradition – were founded in the 11th century, with Lisbon’s founded a century later in 1150.

King Dinis and Queen Isabel of Portugal

King Dinis and Queen Isabel of Portugal

Secular minstrel music, sung in a Galician-Portuguese dialect, flourished from the late 12th century well into the early 14th, with the reign of Afonso III (1248-79) being a particular highpoint.  Influenced by the Provençal troubadour tradition, most of the songs were either epic heroic ballads or courtly love songs.  King Dinis (1261-1325) was himself a troubadour and musicologist recently discovered some fragments of his music.

Astonishingly, no polyphonic music survives from the 14th and 15th centuries, despite evidence that much existed.   The earliest surviving works do bear markers of political and cultural links to England, and influence from the music of Henry VI's chapel can be heard.

The first major composer was Pedro do Porto (known in Spain as Pedro de Escobar) who served the court of Queen Isabella of Spain. He served as maestro de capilla at Seville Cathedral from 1507 to 1514 and later mestra de capela to Cardinal Archbishop Afonso of Évora in eastern Portugal.  Évora Cathedral would prove to be a major musical center: some of its most important musicians included Manuel Mendes (c.1547-1605) , Filipe de Magalhães (c1571–1652) and Diogo Dias Melgás (1638–1700).

Manuel Cardoso

Manuel Cardoso

Perhaps more critical was its cathedral school, which produced musicians who worked throughout Iberia and beyond: Manuel Cardoso (1566–1650) and Duarte Lobo (c1564/9–1646) worked in Lisbon and elsewhere; and the Spaniard Estêvão Lopes Morago (c.1575–after 1630) served Viseu Cathedral.  

Renowned in his time for his music, the devout Carmelite friar Cardoso enjoyed the patronage of King João IV, who kept a portrait of the composer in his music library.  Cardoso had strong ties to the royal families of both Spain and Portugal, with King Philip IV a key later patron. 

Cardoso’s beautiful Magnificat secundi toni will appear on the upcoming CD as well as the Muckenthaler program.  Although he lived well into the Baroque era, Cardoso’s style remained rooted in the stile antico of the late Renaissance polyphonists.  Composed by 1605, and published in Lisbon in 1613, the Magnificat follows the traditional harmonic and rhythmic style of Palestrina, although there’s a surprising amount of chromatic spice and dissonance.  His use of augmented chords show an awareness of the new "crunchy" harmonies of the early Baroque, and creates a particularly expressive language helped by occasional passages of homophony that highlight the text.

Another important cathedral chapel was that of Braga, whose first known mestre de capela was Miguel da Fonseca (fl.1530–1544). His son Manuel was also a skilled composer, and his lovely Natus est nobis appears on Jouyssance’s first CD.

The Augustinian monastery of Santa Cruz at Coimbra served as a major musical center in the 16th and 17th centuries, employing the versatile Pedro de Cristo (c1550–1618).  Although known best in his time for his secular works and sacred villancicos, his motets show his skill at polypohony.   He was also known as a performer at the keyboard, the harp, the flute, and the dulcian, an ancestor to the bassoon.

Jouyssance has performed works that show two distinct styles: his sacred works are expressive and even dark in color.  His bouncy villancicos are full of syncopation, and recall modern Mariachi music!

Joao IV

Joao IV

João IV (1604–1656), also known as King John IV, was to some extent the Henry VIII of Portugal.  Trained as a musician from childhood, he amassed the largest music collection of his time, which, based on a partial catalogue that survives, included the only copies of numerous Spanish and Portuguese composers.   The collection was sadly destroyed in the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.  A skilled composer himself, and a possible student of Cardoso, only a handful of his works survive.

The political union of Portugal and Spain between 1580 and 1640 created new career opportunities for Portuguese composers both in Spain and in the Spanish New World. Prominent among them were Estêvão de Brito (c.1575–1641), maestro de capilla of Badajoz and Málaga cathedrals, and Jouyssance favorite Gaspar Fernandes (c.1570–1629), who crossed the Atlantic to become maestro de capilla of Puebla Cathedral in Mexico. He often incorporated rhythms from native cultures into his own works, which includes 250 songs and villancicos in Spanish, Portugese, Nahuatl, and various African dialects.

Portuguese polyphony continued to flourish throughout the 17th century. But the dawning of the Baroque brought about a major shift in patronage from the Church to courts throughout Europe, but particularly in Italy and France. Opera and new instrumental forms gained supremacy, and the glory of Iberian sacred music faded into obscurity.

In keeping with its mission of presenting gems as yet unknown, Jouyssance will present a concert of this beautiful music Thursday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m., at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave., in Fullerton.