sábado, 23 de febrero de 2013

The Choir Project al día [23-II-2013]

[Music for Holy Week].
Thomas Tallis [c.1505-1585]: The Lamentations of Jeremiah.
- Lamentations of Jeremiah I a 5. I Fagiolini - Robert Hollingworth. 
- Lamentations of Jeremeiah II a 5. Magnificat - Philip Cave.
English refinement for a time of withdrawal.

   Peter Phillips wrote about these pieces:
"The Lamentations[...]were all written during Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1558-1603).
The Lamentations[...]are clearly in the idiom common to all late renaissance English composers. This was a style which Tallis received indirectly from abroad and adapted to his own requirements. As always the melodic lines are concise and often begin by imitating each other; to this framework Tallis added his own sense of tonality, dissonance and, in particular, frequent use of the false relation (so memorable in the final cadence, amongst others, of O nata lux).

   Tallis's Lamentations were probably intended as independent motets for use in Holy Week and not for any ritual office. Paul Doe has gone further in saying that 'they were not conceived as church music at all, but rather for private recreational singing by loyal Catholics' (1), just as so many of Byrd's motets were later to be. Although the texts of the two sets comply almost precisely to those of the first two Lessons of Maundy Thursday Matins in the Sarum Use (2), they would not have been sung consecutively, being separated by a sung responsorium, In monte Oliveti, and Tallis has in any case set his two lessons in different modes. Their compositional method is similar, however, and for this reason we have grouped them together on this recording; the Hebrew letters are set in an abstract manner, almost like consort music, which contrasts with the more declamatory writing in the verses themselves. Both sets end with some of the most inspired writing of the period, to the words Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum (Jerusalem, Jerusalem, turn to the Lord, your God) which may well have had symbolic meaning to Tallis, a Catholic in a Protestant country."

(1) Paul Doe, Tallis, Oxford Studies of Composers No.4, 2nd edition 1976, London, p. 39.
(2) A variant of the Latin liturgy used in pre-Reformation England."

   In words of Ivan Moody:
"With the two sets of Lamentations we come to what is perhaps Tallis’s most personal music. The text is from the Maundy Thursday set, but the Lamentations can hardly have been used liturgically. Rather they are another instance of the turning of a more elaborate liturgical form into a motet. In this case there are two (separate) motets, each of several sections delineated by the ritual Hebrew letters between the Latin text. There are so many felicitous details to observe in these works—the subtle use of cumulative repetition and the ‘antiphonal’ effects between one voice and the rest also found in In ieiunio; the harmonic richness and fluidity (like that in O nata lux but stretched out over a much longer span); the melodic fecundity (particularly in the setting of the Hebrew letters)—that it is easy to overlook the carefully wrought architecture of the whole in each set. They are statements of musical and spiritual profundity such that at the conclusion—Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum—there can be no doubt of Tallis’s intention."

   In my opinion, Tallis's Lamentations are one of the most beautiful in the History of Music. Its power lies in its refinement, the elegance and delicacy so characteristic of the English style -already anticipated Martin le Franc in 1441-1442, when he used the adjetive contenance angloise which described the music made on the island during this period-.

   These two version are similar in use of voices -ATTBarB-, and the "Bristish sound", but they are really different. I Fagiolini performs it with energy, vocal power, with full sonority. Meanwhile, Magnificat sings this with subtlety, fineness, showing less importance to the sound and more to expressiveness. The singers are really stunning, specially Patrick Craig, Robert Macdonald -probably my favourite bass in ensembles- and Nick Todd -absolutely my favourite tenor in ensembles-.

   Enjoy it, because this music is simply one of the most deep and exciting composed for Holy Week in the history.

sábado, 16 de febrero de 2013

The Choir Project al día [16-II-2013]

Francisco de Peñalosa [c.1470-1528]: Ave vervm corpvs a 4.
Pro Cantione Antiqua - Bruno Turner.
A small gem from Renaissance Spain [Homage to pioneers].

   Bruno Turner wrotes about Pañelosa:
"'Among the singers in our chapel on solemn occasions is our beloved son, Francisco de Peñalosa … musician extraordinary (who) displays such exquisite art … that we fervently desire his continuing presence.' Pope Leo X, 4 November 1517 (in a letter to the Cathedral Chapter of Seville)

   Under strong Flemish influence, Spanish composers of real quality and pronounced character emerged at the end of the fifteenth century, associated with the royal chapels of Ferdinand and Isabella and with the choirs of the great cathedrals, notably Toledo and Seville. Francisco de Peñalosa shares pre-eminence with some fine contemporaries such as the Basque Juan de Anchieta, the Portuguese Pedro de Escobar and the dramatist and secular composer Juan del Encina. This was a period when increasing numbers of Spaniards were recruited to the Papal Choir, many, but not all, being notable falsettists.

   Peñalosa was born probably in 1470 and almost certainly at Talavera de la Reina, near Madrid. The earliest document referring to him is dated 11 May 1498 when he was accepted as a singer in the chapel of Ferdinand V of Aragon; in 1511 he was appointed maestro de capilla in the household of Ferdinand’s grandson. He became associated with the Cathedral of Seville by the gift of a ‘benefice canonry’. But this was to cause intermittent trouble due to long absences to which the Seville Chapter objected, despite even the Pope’s requests for tolerance of a prolonged period in Rome. Peñalosa certainly visited Seville in 1516 after Ferdinand’s death, but was in Rome from 1517 until 1525 when he returned to Seville. There he was at last in residence and actually became Cathedral Treasurer, a position held until his death. He lies buried close to Guerrero in the Cathedral’s chapel of La Virgen de la Antigua. An inscription reads:

Here lies the very illustrious Francisco de Peñalosa, Archdeacon of Carmona and canon of this cathedral  church, who died on April 1st 1528.

   None of Peñalosa’s music survives in Roman sources and most is preserved in Hispanic or Portuguese manuscripts; the majority of works can be found in books that can be associated with the Aragonese royal chapel. It is reasonable to suppose that the considerable body of his music—six Masses, six Magnificats, sets of Lamentations, various Mass movements, Office hymns and a variety of motets—dates mainly from an active composing period of some twenty years in Aragonese court circles.

   Cristóbal de Villalón, writing in 1539, claimed that not only did Peñalosa’s skill exceed that of Apollo, the ‘inventor of music’, but also that of the celebrated Josquin Desprez (d1521). Tess Knighton has remarked that, although such arguments are hardly impartial in themselves, it was indeed Peñalosa, of all the Spanish composers of his generation, who came closest to Josquin’s style and technique. Peñalosa’s motet Sancta mater istud agas was accepted as Josquin’s until recently. This brings us to a problem which must be faced.

   Peñalosa’s motets are counted as twenty-two up to thirty in number by various authorities in different works of scholarship and in reference books. The surviving manuscripts, mainly kept now in Tarazona, Toledo, Barcelona and Coimbra have a considerable number of conflicting attributions or none at all. The modern Spanish edition (Opera Omnia, Vol 1, Madrid, 1986) gives credit to Peñalosa for all the motets that have any attribution or other likelihood of being his. Thus he is given Brumel’s Mater Patris, Compère’s O bone Jesu and Anchieta’s Domine Jesu Christe, qui hora diei ultima. A doctoral dissertation by Jane Hardie (University of Michigan, 1983) makes the number of motets twenty-seven. The Mapa Mundi editions by Tess Knighton and Martyn Imrie (1988 and 1990) have been more critical of attributions and of internal stylistic evidence. Thus the present recording offers twenty-two motets of which a very few may still be doubtful. With some regret, the often attributed Memorare piissima is omitted because Knighton, Imrie and Turner are all convinced it is by Escobar. The twenty-two certainly stand as a convincing testimony to the personality and subjectivity projected by a composer of character and one possessed of experimental techniques. These mark him as influenced by the French and Flemish, notably Josquin, but with an undoubted distinction of his own.

   These motets—some with liturgical texts (for instance Pater noster and Ave Regina), others devotional like Adoro te, extra-liturgical funerary, such as Versa est in luctum, ‘over-the-top’ late medieval hyperbole (O Domina sanctissima), exaggerated bloodiness (Precor te)—all twenty-two of them, have not a note of lively rejoicing. Yet, within each, even the very few that are a little dull and awkward, there is a tremendous variety. The textures and sonority, the mixtures of sharp declamation, soft slow chords and soaring melismas are varied endlessly and mixed from piece to piece and often within an individual motet. Many are based on plainchant melodies, sometimes paraphrased or even literally quoted in one voice, sometimes fragmentarily or by motivic allusion; a few are freely composed. Always, expression is sought rather than contrapuntal wizardry.

   The final motet in this recording (Transeunte Domino Jesu), a conflation of Gospel narratives, uses one utterly simple melodic scrap to extraordinarily expressive effect, repeated in a most un-mechanical way. The masterly Versa est in luctum exploits harmony and melody so that one voice or another dominates momentarily with what seem like heartfelt outpourings of grief. A century before Victoria’s or Lobo’s versions this funeral motet is full of that strange mixture of dignity and passion that glows through Spanish church music in the works of Morales, Guerrero and the hundreds who are less known.

   The light and delicate touch which Peñalosa brings to his Marian/Song of Songs miniatures in three voice parts is deft in airy polyphony with flowing lines. In contrast, Ave verum corpus is entirely composed in plain chordal blocks.

   Some of Peñalosa’s motets are settings of familiar liturgical texts or prayers, but many are of a type that was to be largely condemned and swept away in the tide of reform ordained by the mid-sixteenth-century Council of Trent. The rather gory dwelling upon the details of the Passion will strike those who know the English (vernacular) pre-Reformation Passion carols such as Woefully arrayed (Cornysh and Browne), noting the similarity to Peñalosa’s Precor te, Domine.

  Great numbers of devotional books—horae, Books of Hours—were produced cheaply and widely distributed at the end of the fifteenth century in Spain. They were devoted to Marian, Eucharistic and Penitential subjects. The recently canonized (1482) St Bonaventura (d1274) was an enormous influence throughout Europe with his extravagant and subjective writings which included his Officium de Passione Domini. The scene at the foot of the Cross haunted the imagination of Christians in Peñalosa’s time.

   This recording is an anthology, and it is recommended that it is sampled rather than always heard end to end. We have only ordered the works so as to give a variety of voice combinations and of subjects—Penitential, Eucharistic-devotional, Marian, Christ’s Passion, and so on—in groups. It is more than worthwhile, actually essential, to read the texts and translations at least once when getting to know these extraordinary pieces.

   As to performance, we should be wary of dogmatic pretentions to an ‘authentic’ solution. Ideally, one would like to have some of the motets performed with a few boy choristers above the tenors and basses and others by a choir with several voices to each part. Instrumental involvement in music such as this was certainly known in Spain. But the one certain and most frequent medium for the rendition of this music was the skilled group of adult male singers, often with one voice to a part.

   In presenting this corpus of motets by Spain’s greatest composer of sacred music around 1500, we, the producers and editors of his music for this recording, hope to have revealed a hidden treasure of great value.

  Thanks are due to Tess Knighton and Martyn Imrie for their editions and for derivations from their introductions which I have absorbed into the notes. Those who have been involved are also deeply grateful to Professor Robert Stevenson, whose inspiration and immense knowledge have always been at the back of all their efforts in promoting Peñalosa’s music. His book Spanish Music in the Age of Columbus (The Hague, 1960, repr. 1964) remains fascinating and useful beyond compare."

   In my opinion, Francisco de peñalosa is one of the best polyphonic masters in the Spain of XV and XVI centuries.
This album is essential, because it is the only one that contains all the composer's motets.
Bruno Tuner was the leading specialist in Renaissance polyphony from the 60s. The first who founded a music group that turned this musical repertoire into "popular" in the past century.
It's possible that the sound, technique, balance... not the best -especially when compared with the current ensembles-, but they were pioneers in this and that is much more valuable than anything else.
Thanks a lot for your devotion, passion, effort, hard work... Renaissance polyphony into the 21st Century is not the same without them.


martes, 12 de febrero de 2013

Los jóvenes de la interpretación histórica

Concierto Barroco

Andrea Falconiero [1585-1636]
01. Folias echas para mi señora
02. L'Eroica
03. Corrente detta l?auellina
04. Corrente dicha la Cuella
05. Il Spiritillo Brando
06. Brando dicho el Melo

Bartolomé de Selma y Salaverde [c.1580-c.1640]
07. Canzon quinta a tre

Georg Philipp Telemann [1681-1767]
Sonata in C major for recordar & continuo TWV 41:C5
08. Adagio-Allegro-Adagio-Allegro
09. Larghetto
10. Vivace

Antonio Vivaldi [1678-1741]
Cello sonata in A minor RV 43
11. Largo
12. Allegro
13. Largo
14. Allegro

Dario Castello [c.1590-c.1658]
15. Sonata XII, Libro Secondo

Jacques Paisible [c.1656-1721]
Sonata in D minor for recorder & continuo
16. Grave-Allegro
17. Largo
18. Allegro

Andrea Falconieri
19. Battaglia de Barabaso, yerno de Satanás

21. Andrea Falconieri: Passacaglia
22. Entrevista con Josetxu Obregón

La Ritirata - Josetxu Obregón
Cantus Records [CV 1210]

   Como bien destaca Josetxu Obregón en la entrevista que cierra los contenidos extra de este DVD, para las generaciones de jóvenes que se dedican a la interpretación historicista, todo ha resultado más sencillo en relación a los pioneros y su ingente labor. Sin embargo, no por ello hay que quitar mérito a tan excelsas interpretaciones.

   Esta que se presenta aquí es la primera producción en DVD que desde Cantus Records se elabora y distribuye, lo cual ha de ser causa de regocijo para muchos, pues es un salto cualitativo importante, sobre todo para un sello realtivamente pequeño como este. No obstante, la principal razón para alegrarse es la colaboración de ambos factores, pues Cantus, bien conocido por los fanáticos de la música antigua, es uno de los sellos más destacados en este ámbito, desde mi punto de vista, el sello más bello de cuantos hay en nuestro país, digno de alabanza y mención por su carácter casi de manufactura, de trabajo de orfebre, que cuida los mínimos detalles y que tienen sencillamente las mejores presentaciones y notas que se puedan encontrar en cualquier sello de música clásica de España, gracias a la magnífica labor desarrollada por su fundador y casi único impulsor, José Carlos Cabello. A esto, hay que sumar la participación de La Ritirata, conjunto dirigdo por el cellista barroco Josetxu Obregón, y que constituye una de las estrellas rutilantes en el firmamento HIP -Historically Informed Performance-, que han ido poco a poco ganándose a crítica y público a base de su buen hacer, de su calidad, de su energía, vitalidad... factores que aportan a cada uno de sus proyectos y que los han hecho triunfar.

   En este proyecto audiovisual se nos presenta un breve recorrido por algunos de los círculos barrocos que componen tan magno período, pues podemos encontrar ejemplos de música del Seicento italiano, quizá más desconocida para el "gran público", pero también obras de autores más conocidos, celebérrimos, podría decirse, como es el caso de Vivaldi o Telemann.

   Son seis los intrumentistas que participan en tamaña empresa: Tamar Lalo [flauta de pico soprano y alto], Miren Zeberio [violín barroco], Daniel Zapico [tiorba], Enrike Solinís [guitarra barroca y archilaúd], Ignacio Prego [clave] y el propio Josetxu Obregón [violincello barroco y dirección].

   El autor más representativo de este recital no es otro que Andrea Falconieri, uno de los grandes maestros de principios de ese siglo XVII italiano, uno de los maestros que ayudó a configurar la música instrumental del Barroco desde sus comienzos, y que constituyó alguno de los grandes rasgos de la misma que posteriormente irían evolucionando -improvisación, carácter idiomático instrumental, intercambialidad de efectivos...-. Sus obras son referencias de ese estilo italiano, no obstante, es uno de los autores más transitados dentro de este período tan concreto. Destacan sus Folias, por su maravillosa energía y vitalidad, además de su L'Eroica, que destaca por lo contrastante de sus partes, o la Passacaglia, compuesta como solía ser habitual sobre ese basso ostinato -normalmente un tetracordo descendente en modo menor-. Las piezas son interpretadas con una jovialidad y una sinergia fascinantes entre muchos factores. El feedback y feeling entre los intérpretes es realmente notable, y eso puede observarse mejor que nunca en momentos como estos, en los que las interpretaciones son registradas en directo -el concierto, por cierto, fue registrado el 28 de mayo de 2011, en el Real Coliseo de Carlos III-.

   Las obras de carácter más solístico y camerístico fueron las protagonizadas por Tamar Lalo, que mostró su perfecta y elegante articulación, su lirismo y su expresividad en la sonata para flauta del compositor más prolífico de la historia, el gran Georg Philipp Telemann. Una obra que derrocha ese sonido "telemaniano" tan característico, y que tiene en sus movimientos lentos, su punto culminante en la belleza sonora.
La sonata para cello del veneciano por excelencia, nos da la oportunidad de disfrutar del hermoso sonido que Obregón consigue sacar de su instrumento, un Sebastian Klotz de 1740. Es un gusto poder ver la implicación emocional y expresiva que el vasco logra transmitir a los que le ven y escuchan. Fantástica la digitalización en lo técnico, por la precisión, afinación, y su solvencia al moverse en los diversos registros del instrumento. El continuo íntimo y sin embargo omnipresente desarrollado aquí tan solo por tiorba y guitarra barroca, es un ejemplo de cómo se puede hacer algo realmente imaginativo, coherente y aportando un color fantástico y muy adecuado a la pieza. 

   Jacques Paisible es quizá el compositor más desconocido de cuantos aparecen en el recital. Un compositor francés, pero con muchas influencias europeas, pues pasó 40 años de su vida en Londres. Se muestra en esta pieza ese carácter francés, sobre todo en las melodías y los movimientos lentos -maravillosamente evocador el grave inicial-. De nuevo Lalo muestra su solvencia técnica y la ejemplar de su delicadeza y elegancia.

   Se completa el DVD con dos piezas: una de Selma y Salaverde, quizá el mejor bajonista que haya dado la historia de la música española, del que se nos ofrece aquí una de sus canzoni, destinada a dos instrumentos altos y un basso obbligato, para la que se escogieron aquí violín, flauta y cello, además del profuso continuo; la otra, una sonata de Dario Castello, otro de los padres de la música instrumental del Seicento, del que se interpreta una de sus más famosas sonatas, plagada de virtuosismo, complejidad rítmica, brillantez sonora, en definitiva, un dechado de lo que la música instrumental de esta época suponía.

   El resto de intérpretes de lo que aún no hemos dado cuenta, se muestran absolutamente al nivel de sus compañeros. Muy bien Miren al violín barroco, con un sonido pleno, bien articulado, muy sutil en ciertos momentos, jugando bien su rol de protagonista cuando le toca, y plegándose a un segundo plano cuando así es necesario. 
El continuo está fantásticamente representado, tanto en la cuerda pinzada, con el clave de Ignacio, como en las cuerdas pulsadas, con Enrike, que muestra su maestría en el rasgueado y puntado -como diría el propio Gaspar Sanz- y Daniel -que es bien conocido por su labor en Forma Antiqva-, que está siempre ahí, en el punto justo, dejando siempre libertad a las cuerdas y a los graves para sonar en todo su esplendor. 

   En definitva, un excelente recital, que se completa con una entrevista al director del conjunto, en la que básicamente nos da una visión de lo que supone su manera de acercarse a la música barroca desde la interpretación histórica. Además, teniendo en cuenta lo bello del diseño y las excelentes notas al programa, este DVD se convierte en un imprescindible para aquellos que disfrutan con la música del XVII y XVIII. Bravo por las partes por separado, pero bravissimo por la exquisita conjunción entre ambas. Ojalá este sea el comienzo de una fructífera colaboración.

lunes, 11 de febrero de 2013

The Choir Project al día [11-II-2013]

Pierre Moulu [c.1484-c.1550]: Missa Missvs est Gabriel angelvs a 4.
The Brabant Ensemble - Stephen Rice.
Not everything is Josquin.

   In words by Stephen Rice:
"The surviving documentary evidence of Pierre Moulu’s life amounts to very little: documents in the Vatican identify a Petrus Moulu, a cleric of the diocese of Meaux between the years 1505 (when he stated that he was in his twenty-first year) and 1513, who applied for permission for various privileges in that diocese. Whether this man can be identified with the composer of five Mass settings, approximately twenty motets and ten chansons seeming to date from the second and third decades of the sixteenth century, is not proven, but is the best assumption presently available. Moulu the composer thus joins the long lists of Renaissance musicians whose lives are all but entirely masked in shadow. Fortunately a number of his works found favour with his contemporaries to the extent that they appear in numerous early manuscripts and prints, and they have attracted the attention of music historians since the earliest days of the discipline in the late nineteenth century. Like much of the large repertory of sixteenth-century polyphony, however, his works have rarely been performed in modern times, and this is the first recording devoted to his music.

   Missa Missus est Gabriel angelus
perhaps represents Moulu’s finest achievement in terms of purely musical expression. Pierre de Ronsard in the introduction to his Livre de mellanges of 1560 described Moulu as a disciple of Josquin (he was numbered alongside eight others, Ronsard’s selection of names exhibiting a notable bias to musicians active in the region of Paris). If a connection between Moulu and Josquin—for which there is no documentary evidence—did exist, this Mass-setting based on a short motet by the older composer would seem to represent the closest approach between their respective styles. Josquin’s motet is characteristic of his four-voice writing in maintaining a sparse texture with the voices imitating strongly memorable phrases. The characteristic rising leap of a fifth at the beginning of the piece exemplifies this trait of Josquin: frequently the voices work in pairs, as at ‘nuntians ei verbum’. Appropriation of plainsong melodies is common in Josquin’s music, as is true of many Renaissance composers: in Missus est Gabriel this is most clearly seen at the words Ave Maria, where the famous chant is strikingly introduced in the bass, the other voices following at a distance of two breves, all on the same pitch. Finally the closing Alleluia is set to an evocative fauxbourdon texture—a succession of first inversion chords that frequently was associated with sweetness in early sixteenth-century music.

   Moulu’s parody adopts many of the standard techniques for deriving Masses from motets, notably retention of the most arresting moments from the model. For instance, four of the five movements open with the rising fifth motif from the beginning of the motet, the exception being the Credo, which is headed with a homophonic passage—however, the rising fifth is retained in the bass part underpinning the harmony. Similarly, the fauxbourdon texture from the motet returns at the end of the Kyrie and Sanctus movements, where its falling lines create an effectively ruminative close for these supplicatory texts. The section of Josquin’s piece that would have been most immediately recognizable to his and Moulu’s contemporaries is the quotation of the Ave Maria chant: this is retained by Moulu but its surprising introduction by the bassus is not: the most obvious statement of the chant is made by the tenor in the Hosanna section, the bass harmonizing it in long notes while the soprano and alto exchange a newly composed melody above.

   A final characteristic of Josquin that Moulu adopts and extends is strategic repetition. Josquin is known for repeating the same short motif several times in succession (a famous example occurs in the Kyrie of his Pange lingua Mass), and Moulu takes this to almost obsessive levels at times. In the Pleni of Missa Missus est Gabriel, which is for the two upper voices only, the same four-note motif occurs no fewer than five times in succession in the soprano (Track 5, from 1'45"), and at the end of this section (2'25") the alto has four statements of the same melodic fragment. I interpret the musical gesture of the soprano statement as intensifying a drive towards the cadence that is frequently found in early Renaissance music; additionally the Pleni exemplifies the concept of varietas, much prized in theoretical treatises of the time, in that while one voice repeats, the other is continuously fashioning new counterpoints against it, working the melodic material to its utmost. The Mass-setting as a whole exhibits an austere beauty that recalls its distinguished model without slavishly aping it."

   I think the shadow of Josquin is long. Sheltered it was emerging interest in Franco-Flemish polyphony and in other composers at that time considered as minor.
In this way began to perform the music of Nicolas Gombert, Jacob Clemens non Papa, Orlandus Lassus, Or Pierre de Manchicourt, for example.
Over the years, interest in the five generations of Franco-Flemish composers has not stopped growing, so that now almost known more than a hundred authors of this períod, some of which are performed and recorded with some assiduity.

   Pierre Moulu is a perfect example of these composers almost unknown. In fact, this is the first and only album devoted entirely to this composer.

   This album is really wonderful, full of musical and musicological interest.
The Moulu's music is really wonderful, simply amazing.
This mass is absolutely fantastic, full of finesse, elegance, tenderness and great expressiveness.
I like a lot this performance, full of "Bristish sound". The queality of these voices and this intelligence when singing this music are fabulous.
A really wonderful album, indispensable for fanatics of Renaissance polyphony.


jueves, 7 de febrero de 2013

Honor y orgullo para ||:doblebarra:||

Todo comenzó en noviembre del ya pasado 2012. Cierto día llego a casa y encuentro en mi buzón el nuevo disco de la buena de Raquel Andueza y Jesús Fernández Baena, con una bella dedicatoria de la propia Raquel Andueza. Lo abro con ilusión y escucho con calma, casi con devoción.
Tras asimilar adecuadamente todo lo que hay ahí dentro, me dispongo a realizar una crítica en este mismo especio, que tendría como resultado la siguiente entrada: El paraíso no queda tan lejano. Como puede observarse, es una crítica que me sale de dentro, del alma, porque este disco consigue sacar lo mejor de quien lo escucha.

Pasan los días, Raquel lee mi crítica, y me escribe realmente agradecida por mis palabras, a lo que yo pienso: "Pero esta mujer, con lo grande que es, qué humildad. Claro, por eso es tan grande".

Vuelven a pasar los días, y a finales de enero recibo un mensaje suyo en el que se me adjunta la imagen que aparece a la izquierda de estas líneas. Sí, observo totalmente sorprendido que se trata de un anuncio de su nuevo disco, en el cual aparece una frase de mi crítica: "Un disco que hace mejor al que lo escucha" -¡vaya si es cierto!-; y además justo debajo de otra de mi admirado y gran profesional Pablo J. Vayón. No quepo en mí de gozo. La escribo, hablamos y me explica que es un anuncio que aparecerá publicado en la revista Ritmo. Alucino. Y aún más cuando me da sus razones para poner ahí mi frase; me dice que todos hablan de su técnica, de si es muy buena o no, pero que nadie le había dicho nunca algo así. Me quedé impactado.

En fin, he estado esperando hasta febrero, fecha en la que se hacía público el anuncio para mostrar mi satisfacción en alto, porque realmente esto es algo que me honra. Para muchos puede parecer algo anecdótico, pero para mí es un gran regalo y algo que me anima a seguir en esto de escribir lo que me pasa por la cabeza respecto a la música que estudio y que es mi pasión. 

En definitiva, solo puedo mostrar mi más sincero agradecimiento a Raquel, Jesús, y a Anima e Corpo, por darme esta muestra de respeto y afecto tan inmensa.
Esto supone un antes y un después para mí en esto de escribir, de reflexionar, de sentir, de expresar.
Mil gracias, siempre.

lunes, 4 de febrero de 2013

The Choir Project al día [04-II-2013]

Josquin des Prez [c.1450/55-1521]: Planxit autem David a 4.
The Binchois Consort - Andrew Kirkman.
The power of pain.

    Andrew Kirkman wrotes about Josquin and this piece:
"The reputation of Josquin Des prés cast a long shadow after his death in 1521. Demand for his music, particularly in Germany, far outstripped supply, leading to the widespread reattribution to Josquin of pieces by other composers. Thus Georg Forster could famously recall in 1540 hearing ‘ … a certain eminent man saying that, now that Josquin is dead, he is putting out more works than when he was alive’. Yet if some of the pieces bearing Josquin’s name in these late sources look unlikely to say the least, others, more plausibly ascribed to lesser-known masters elsewhere, relate closely in terms of style to more verifiably authentic pieces. In considering these pieces, today sitting on the fringe of the Josquin ‘canon’, we should not forget that many of them had passed muster as genuine Josquin in the eyes of the most eminent aficionados of their day, men whose perceptions of Josquin, expressed in treatises and prefaces, form the bedrock of our understanding of him today.

    This disc gives you the chance to judge for yourself: pieces whose places in the Josquin canon are as firm as seems possible in the present state of knowledge are set against others that, though widely assumed to be by Josquin in the sixteenth century, are now more plausibly assigned to others. Along with these pieces are others that are ascribed unambiguously to composers who, though less celebrated than Josquin both now and in the early sixteenth century, were capable nonetheless of rising, on at least some occasions, to heights comparable with those scaled by their better-known contemporary. Whatever the (considerable) financial incentive of printing spurious works under Josquin’s name, to ascribe a piece by someone else to Josquin may often also have represented a ‘seal of approval’, a sign of a high level of perceived quality. And, whatever the relations between our aesthetic perceptions and those of the mid-sixteenth century, listeners will surely agree that the pieces presented here – whether by Josquin himself or by a member of his ‘company’ – share not just stylistic common ground but also a high level of musical inspiration.

    If Planxit autem David, a setting of David’s lament over his dead sons, strikes a tone to our ears less of lamenting than of considered contemplation, the eloquence of its text setting, with each elegantly sculpted phrase set off from the next, is unmistakable. In a famous description, the mid-sixteenth-century German theorist Heinrich Glarean commented that ‘ … throughout this entire song there has been preserved the mood appropriate to the mourner, who at first is wont to cry out frequently, and then, turning gradually to melancholy complaints, to murmur subduedly and presently to subside, and sometimes, when emotion breaks forth anew, to raise his voice again and to emit a cry; all these things we see observed very beautifully in this song, just as it is also apparent to the observing. Nor is there anything in this song that is not worthy of its composer. He has everywhere expressed most wonderfully the mood of lamenting …’.".

    For me, Josquin is one of the best composers in the History of Music, and it is probably the best to put music to pain -"le douleur" for the French-.
This piece, as usual in Josquin music, it's for four parts -in this case, Josquin it's probably the best for put music in these parts-, but the evocative power is immense. The pain is almost palpable, physical here. The emotion is really stunnig, really worldly.

    The performance is very good, with male voices only. Technically brilliant, expressiveness is the highlight of this recording, completing an excellent album.