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Harmonia Early Music

Smell The Roses!

We bring you a program of early music with texts inspired by both romantic and symbolic associations with flowers.

rose

Photo: April/rottnapples (flickr)

Stop and smell the roses…

Roses are red, violets are blue…and this week on Harmonia, we invite you to go tripping through the tulips with us as we bring you a program of early music with texts inspired by both romantic and symbolic associations with flowers. Later in the program we’ll feature Anonymous 4’s recent recording, 1865: Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War.


Let’s start with two songs—the anonymous “Flos regalis” and Clemens non Papa’s “Au ioly bocquet croist la violette,”—from the 2005 recording The Rose, the Lily & the Whortleberry: Medieval and Renaissance Gardens in Music, performed by the Orlando Consort.

T. 5: Flos regalis (3:31) / T. 23: Au ioly bocquet croist la violette (1:14)
Orlando Consort — The Rose, the Lily & the Whortleberry: Medieval and Renaissance Gardens in Music (Harmonia Mundi , 2005)
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Song of Songs

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” begins one of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets. However, Shakespeare was by no means the first to invite comparison between the blooming flowers of the garden and the modest blush of a lover’s cheek.

16th-century Flemish composer Nicolas Gombert, who died four years before Shakespeare was born, frequently set texts featuring extensive allusions to the garden, as did many of his contemporaries.

Let’s hear Gombert’s motet “O flos campi,” followed by 15th-century English composer Leonel Power’s motet “Quam pulchra es.” Both works use text from the Song of Songs.

T. 24: O flos campi (7:10) / T. 7: Quam pulchra es (3:39)
Orlando Consort — The Rose, the Lily & the Whortleberry: Medieval and Renaissance Gardens in Music (Harmonia Mundi, 2005)
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Daisy, amaryllis, and rose

“What’s in a name?” Juliet asks, in an oft-quoted scene from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. She continues, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

That scene has become one of the most famous in theatrical history. But once again, Shakespeare wasn’t the first to compare one’s lover to a fragrant flower. That began many centuries earlier.

The chanson “N’a pas longtemps que trouvay Zephirus,” from the late 14th century, tells the tale of Zephirus who, though he ponders the virtues of all the other more noble flowers such as the rose, ultimately settles on the “pleasant and lovely daisy” as the flower that pleases him most in his heart.

T. 8: N’a pas longtemps que trouvay Zephirus (5:35)
Trefoil — Fleur de Valeur: A Medieval Bouquet (Bridge, 2013)
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It was never all about the roses, anyway! The famous madrigal “Amarilli, mia bella,” by the early Italian baroque composer Giulio Caccini, is a tribute to the lovely Amaryllis. If ever she should doubt his love, the poet entreats that she should “open my breast and see written on my heart, Amaryllis is my beloved.”

Let’s hear soprano Catherine Webster with The Catacoustic Consort perform the original version of this song, which comes from Caccini’s Le nuove musiche, a collection of songs with basso continuo. Then we’ll hear a variation on the madrigal performed by Nancy Hadden on the Renaissance flute and Jacob Heringman on the lute.

Giulio Caccini : D. 10, T. 1: Amarilli, mia bella
The Catacoustic Consort/Catherine Webster/[Compilation with various performers] — Saints and Sinners: The Music of Medieval and Renaissance Europe (Naxos, 2014)
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Giulio Caccini : T. 23: Amarilli, mia bella (diminutions, Nancy Hadden, after Egerton ms.) (4:29)
Zephyrus Flutes, Nancy Hadden — Aux Plaisirs, aux Delices Bergeres – French Court Airs and Dances (Zephyrus Flutes , 2014)
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Hildegard

Religious floral imagery appears extensively in the works of Hildegard von Bingen, a Benedictine nun who was born in 1098 in a small town that falls within the borders of modern-day Germany.

From a time in history when women achieved very little notoriety, Hildegard was exceptional; she was a Benedictine abbess, visionary, writer, philosopher, and composer whose surviving works include poetry, medical and scientific treatises, recorded visions, letters, and monophonic music.

T. 1: Responsorium: O tu suavissima virga (12:52)
Arianna Savall and Petter Udland Johansen (Hirundo Maris) — Hildegard von Bingen: Vox Cosmica (Carpe Diem Records , 2014)
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1865: Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War

On our featured release, we travel back to 1865 with the acclaimedearly music ensemble Anonymous 4 and special guest Bruce Molsky.

Anonymous 4’s 2015 recording entitled 1865: Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War, features 18 tracks that run the gamut from classic hymns to rousing fiddle tunes. And, of course, where would we be without a maiden in a garden?

T. 13: The Maiden in the Garden (3:40) / T. 6: The Southern Soldier Boy/Rebel Raid (3:48)
Anonymous 4 with Bruce Molsky — 1865: Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War (Harmonia Mundi , 2015)
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Break and theme music

:30, Saints and Sinners: The Music of Medieval and Renaissance Europe, [Compilation with various performers], Naxos (501067) 2014 B00HFDKT24, Robert Parsons: D. 5, T. 8 –The song called trumpets (Rose Consort of Viols) (excerpt of 2:09)

:60, Saints and Sinners: The Music of Medieval and Renaissance Europe, [Compilation with various performers], Naxos (501067) 2014 B00HFDKT24, John Johnson: D. 6, T. 5 -The marigold pavan (Christopher Wilson, lute) (excerpt of 4:12)

:30, Saints and Sinners: The Music of Medieval and Renaissance Europe, [Compilation with various performers], Naxos (501067) 2014 B00HFDKT24, Lorenzo del Liuto: D. 7, T. 11 – Prelude (Marco Pesci, lute) (excerpt of :51)

Theme: Danse Royale, Ensemble Alcatraz, Elektra Nonesuch 79240-2 1992 B000005J0B, T.12: La Prime Estampie Royal

The writer for this edition of Harmonia is Elizabeth Clark.

Learn more about recent early music CDs on the Harmonia Early Music Podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes or at harmonia early music dot org.

T. 5: Flos regalis (3:31) / T. 23: Au ioly bocquet croist la violette (1:14)
Orlando Consort — The Rose, the Lily & the Whortleberry: Medieval and Renaissance Gardens in Music (Harmonia Mundi , 2005)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
T. 24: O flos campi (7:10) / T. 7: Quam pulchra es (3:39)
Orlando Consort — The Rose, the Lily & the Whortleberry: Medieval and Renaissance Gardens in Music (Harmonia Mundi, 2005)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
T. 8: N’a pas longtemps que trouvay Zephirus (5:35)
Trefoil — Fleur de Valeur: A Medieval Bouquet (Bridge, 2013)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Giulio Caccini : D. 10, T. 1: Amarilli, mia bella
The Catacoustic Consort/Catherine Webster/[Compilation with various performers] — Saints and Sinners: The Music of Medieval and Renaissance Europe (Naxos, 2014)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Giulio Caccini : T. 23: Amarilli, mia bella (diminutions, Nancy Hadden, after Egerton ms.) (4:29)
Zephyrus Flutes, Nancy Hadden — Aux Plaisirs, aux Delices Bergeres – French Court Airs and Dances (Zephyrus Flutes , 2014)
album cover
T. 1: Responsorium: O tu suavissima virga (12:52)
Arianna Savall and Petter Udland Johansen (Hirundo Maris) — Hildegard von Bingen: Vox Cosmica (Carpe Diem Records , 2014)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
T. 13: The Maiden in the Garden (3:40) / T. 6: The Southern Soldier Boy/Rebel Raid (3:48)
Anonymous 4 with Bruce Molsky — 1865: Songs of Hope and Home from the American Civil War (Harmonia Mundi , 2015)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Elizabeth Clark

Elizabeth Clark Elizabeth Clark splits her time between Bloomington, where she works for WFIU, and Columbus, where she teaches piano and directs the choir at First Lutheran Church. At WFIU, she writes for and produces Harmonia. She holds degrees in organ and harpsichord from St. Olaf College and Indiana University.

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