Recorder ensemble

Aeolian Consort

The sixth regular Concert

--- English consort music & Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott ---

--- Polyphony Music of the Renaissance and Baroque Periods ---

2010 / December /12 (Sun)

Chiba City Museum of Art, Sayado Hall

Acknowledgements
Thank you very much for coming to the 6th annual concert of the Aeolian Consort. The Aeolian Consort is a recorder ensemble composed of six members. We have been performing mainly choral and instrumental music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. We are proud of our love and enthusiasm for music, which is second to none, although our skills are not always as good as we would like them to be. This time, a reliable helper
Ms. Yasuyo Sakou will be joining us this time as a reliable helper.
We have always composed our regular concert programs with a bit of a twist, but this time we decided to unify the first half of the program with an English consort and the second half with a German chorale.

English consort music

In the 16th and 17th centuries, there were many works for the same (mainly viols) or different instruments in England. The majority of the works were in the form of dances, such as Branle and Gaillarde, but there were also some works with a strong tendency toward polyphony, such as Fantasia, which inherited the Italian counterpoint style, and In Nomine, which used a fixed melody. We, the Aeolian Consort, are not good at dances (to be honest, we are not very good and not very bright), and we prefer counterpoint, so the pieces we will be featuring this time are mainly fantasias. We have also mixed in Pavin, which is a bit of a special field among dances, and In Nomine, which is a standard piece, for color. As for the composers, I have chosen to focus on Ferrabosco II and Jenkins.

 

Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott

The Lutheran chorale has deeply permeated German music ever since. It would be nearly impossible to survey the entirety of the vast body of works created over a period of 500 years. There are hundreds of chorales, but only a few that are popular and have been performed by many composers. The "Our God is a Steadfast Fortress" is the most famous chorale of them all. Most chorales are known from Bach's music, but this chorale is more likely to be heard in Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 5 "Reformation. Luther himself composed "Our God is a Steadfast Fortress," which was sung at the Diet of Worms in 1521 and played a symbolic role in the cradle of the Reformation. That is why both Bach's cantatas and Mendelssohn's symphonies were composed for the anniversary of the Reformation. Furthermore, their melodies are memorable and excellent, which is the reason why many composers have taken them up. This time, I put Bach's cantatas at the end and arranged the earlier works in chronological order. It is regrettable that we could only choose three pieces due to the limited time.

The appearance of the theme is quite irregular, which is surprising to both the performer and the listener. In addition, there are few cadenzas, and the themes change without a break, but thanks to this, the clear separation between the first half and the second half is impressive. I think these characteristics are his great individuality.

I have the impression that Jenkins has a "momentum that seems to fold in on itself. The way Jenkins skillfully creates a slow and steady tempo is also impressive. The style is an extension of the Renaissance, but the tonal tendencies typical of the Baroque period seem to have deepened.

In Nomine is a fixed melody developed in a large field unique to England. As a result of our energetic collection of songs, we have just 100 songs on our website. Tye is the "In Nomine composer," accounting for 21 of them. In addition, most of the songs have sub-titles. Some of them are linked to the content of the song, but in the case of this song, I don't think it has much to do with it.

In short, it is a duet. Gibbons' work is the most famous, with two melodic lines in the same register entwining, moving closer and further apart, one after the other, and a lively exchange going on from beginning to end. This is not so easy to do when there are more voices.

It is included in Morley's "The first Booke of Canzonets to two voices," published in 1595. Nine of the 21 pieces have no lyrics, and all but "La girandola" are subtitled Fantasia. Although these are instrumental pieces, the content of the music is very emotional vocal music, which is a good contrast to Gibbons' music.

Three-part form, four beats, and leisurely are the characteristics of Pavan. In the case of this piece, there is no clear melody, even though it is called a dance, and detailed motives appear one after another.

From a slow beginning to a gradually faster pace, then suddenly stopping. Jenkins also has this kind of "twirling" technique. This is a perfect piece for the reverberant Saya-do. In order to emphasize the gravity of the piece, we will play it in an 8-foot consort, which is an octave lower than usual.

Purcell's Fantasia Collection is the last consort music in England. Inheriting the traditional counterpoint style, Purcell's individuality is 100% demonstrated in the clear slow and fast alternations, unexpected harmonic progressions, and modulations. In No. 8, all of these characteristics can be heard clearly.

As the subtitle suggests, In Nomine's fixed melody appears in all parts in turn, from the high voice to the low voice. The composition is brilliant, with different rhythms and tonalities, and a rich variety of moods. This is without a doubt one of the best of the many In Nomine pieces.

Originally published in a chant book in 1533, it is the oldest surviving four-voice chorale. It is harmonized using the melody composed by Luther faithfully. The figure below is Luther's autograph.

The four songs were selected from the "Newe Deudtche Geistriche Gesenge" (New German Chant Book) published in 1544. The cantus firmus is placed on the tenor; until the 16th century, the position of the cantus firmus was more common on the tenor than on the soprano.

The soprano is given an embellished chorale melody while the lower three voices provide the accompaniment. The chorale melody is faithfully traced, but it is not so easy to decipher even if you know the original melody when it is so ornate.

It is said to have been performed on the anniversary of the Reformation in 1744. Four of the eight pieces use chorale melodies and are classified as so-called "chorale cantatas. Today we will perform five of them.

While the fugue continues with each section of the chorale as the theme in order, the chorale itself appears in canon on the highest and lowest notes, a very advanced compositional technique. The musical perfection of the piece is also top-notch, as one would expect from Bach.

A soprano chorale interrupts the aria with a bass solo and violin accompaniment. The bass, violin, soprano, and basso continuo are all composed of completely different melodies, but when layered on top of each other, they strangely and beautifully become one piece of music. I feel as if I were under some kind of spell.

This is a piece where the instrumental music comes before the chorus. Apparently, the lively instrumental music seems to be the devil's leap. In today's arrangement, the chorale is octave stacked so as not to be defeated by the devil.

This is the only piece that does not have a chorale. The double chorus of alto and tenor is accompanied by violin and oboe. Both use the same theme, so it feels like a quadruple chorus. It is even more so with the recorder.

The closing piece is a simple four-voice chorale, performed by all seven members.