Harmonia Early Music

Harmonia Time Capsule: 1512

Let’s take a quick look back in time. . . . to the year of the birth of James V, the publishing of an early collection of organ works, and more.

From the 1517 print: The Triumphal Procession

Photo: Peacay's photostream

From the 1517 print: The Triumphal Procession

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Hapsburg Emperor Maximilian I commissioned a series of 218 prints from German painter and printmaker Hans Burgkmair, 135 of which were completed by the Emperor’s death.  The highly ambitious work would help demonstrate the extent of Maximilian’s wealth and immortalize him as a powerful patron of the arts.  Each passing print continues the triumphant procession of Maximilian and his retinue.  One, titled “The Fifers of the Emperor,” features ten horse-mounted musicians with reed instruments raised.  Other prints feature their own ranks and files of complementarily dressed musicians, notably, combined ensembles of wind players with bowed- and plucked-string players.  These offer further proof of the variety of talent then within the Emperor’s service.

Triumph of Maxmilian I: 137 Woodcuts by Hans Burgkmair and Others
Hans Burgkmair
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Marketing Maximilian: The Visual Ideology of a Holy Roman Emperor
Larry Silver
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Working within the court of Maximilian I at this time was the Franco-Flemish composer Heinrich Isaac.  Oddly, Isaac’s position did not seem to require that he remain at court, nor did it hold him to duties such as training choirboys and conducting choirs.  Rather, during his employment, Isaac traveled frequently to cities such as Florence, Ferrara, Innsbruck, and Vienna.

Isaac: Missa pro Maximiliano
Ensemble Hofkapelle
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In 1512, Niccolo Machiavelli, one of the most renowned political philosophers of the Renaissance, was expelled from his diplomatic office by members of the Medici.  A year later, he was charged with conspiring against Florentine heads of state and arrested.  Although subjected to severe torture during his imprisonment, Machiavelli denied all accusations.  When finally released, he substituted involvement with intellectual circles for his previous civic duties and returned to his writing with great fervor.

The Essential Writings of Machiavelli (Modern Library Classics)
Arnolt Schlick
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Machiavelli: A Biography
Miles J. Unger
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At the behest of his son, the German organist, lutenist, and composer Arnoldt Schlick compiled and published one of the earliest collections of works for organ and lute in 1512.  Schlick’s “Tablatures of [Several] Canticles and Songs for Organ and Lute” includes ten compositions and intabulations for organ and fifteen for lute.  Also included is correspondence between Schlick and his son, from which we can gather details of the former’s life, such as his travels within the Low Countries, his plans for future publications, and the opposition of his musical ideas to those of composer and theorist Sebastian Virdung.

Tablulalturen Etlicher lobgesand und lidlein vff die lauten (Die Tabulatur, Heft 3)
Arnolt Schlick
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Keyboard Music Before 1700 (Routledge Studies in Musical Genres)
Alexander Silbiger
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1512 also marks the birth of James V, who reigned over Scotland from his infancy till his death.  According to Sir Thomas Wood, James was a highly skilled lutenist with a refined ear.  He would also have been an excellent singer, but for his “rawky” and “harske” voice.  A legend developed around James due to accounts of his wandering the Scottish countryside masquerading as a commoner.  This legend earned him the nickname the “King of the Commons.”

Heinrich Isaac : Tr. 16 – La mi la sol (2'15”)
Musica Antiqua of London — A Songbook for Isabella: Music from the Circle of Isabella d'Este (Signum Records , 2003)
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Music heard:

Heinrich Isaac : Tr. 16 – La mi la sol (2'15”)
Musica Antiqua of London — A Songbook for Isabella: Music from the Circle of Isabella d'Este (Signum Records , 2003)
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Arnoldt Schlick : Tr. 6 – Ascendo ad Patrem meum (2'20”)
Agnes Luchterhandt — Arp-Schnitger-Orgel Norden (MD&G Records , 2006)
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Heinrich Isaac : Tr. 16 – La mi la sol (2'15”)
Musica Antiqua of London — A Songbook for Isabella: Music from the Circle of Isabella d'Este (Signum Records , 2003)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Arnoldt Schlick : Tr. 6 – Ascendo ad Patrem meum (2'20”)
Agnes Luchterhandt — Arp-Schnitger-Orgel Norden (MD&G Records , 2006)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Triumph of Maxmilian I: 137 Woodcuts by Hans Burgkmair and Others
Hans Burgkmair
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Marketing Maximilian: The Visual Ideology of a Holy Roman Emperor
Larry Silver
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Isaac: Missa pro Maximiliano
Ensemble Hofkapelle
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Essential Writings of Machiavelli (Modern Library Classics)
Arnolt Schlick
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Machiavelli: A Biography
Miles J. Unger
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Tablulalturen Etlicher lobgesand und lidlein vff die lauten (Die Tabulatur, Heft 3)
Arnolt Schlick
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Keyboard Music Before 1700 (Routledge Studies in Musical Genres)
Alexander Silbiger
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Princelie Majestie: The Court of James V of Scotland, 1528-1542
Andrea Thomas
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album cover
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Harmonia Early Music is a nationally syndicated weekly early music radio program, podcast and blog produced by WFIU Public Radio.

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