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Harmonia Early Music

A Springtime Celebration With Early Music Song And Dance

Harmonia celebrates springtime with songs and dance music from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and early Baroque.

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708-Alegory of spring-edit

Photo: public domain

Detail from the painting Allegory of Spring by Jerzy Siemiginowski-Eleuter (1660–1711).

Time capsule for this episode: Allegory of Spring

In temperate regions, there is no more highly-anticipated season of the year than spring. After many long and dreary winter months, spring brings relief in the form of warmer weather, more sun, a welcoming outdoors, and the flowering of trees and other vegetation. Spring can be seen, heard, and felt.

Historically, spring has always been celebrated in one way or another. One of the most lasting ways is to feature the time of year in song. Since at least the Middle Ages, songs about spring have reminded us there is much to celebrate with the season’s arrival.

Francesco Landini: Ballata "Ecco la primavera"
Alla Francesca/Brigitte Lesne — Francesco Landini and Italian Ars Nova (Opus 111, 1992)
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Francisco Guerrero: "Dezidme, fuente clara"
La Trulla de Bozes — Sevilla circa 1560 (Passacaille, 2002)
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Estienne Moulinié: "Tout se peint de verdure"
Le Poeme Harmonique/Vincent Dumestre — L'Humaine Comédie (Alpha, 2000)
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Thomas Morley: "It was Lover and his Lass"
Musicians of the Globe/Philip Pickett — Songs and Dances from Shakespeare's Plays (Philips, 1997)
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One piece of music that clearly says “spring” is the three-movement concerto, titled as such, from Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.” It’s a piece that was very recognizable in Vivaldi’s time, especially in France, where composer Nicolas Chedeville put together his own arrangement of the complete seasons for small chamber ensemble. The result is familiar, but with a twist.

Nicolas Chedeville: Concerto "Le Printemps" (after Antonio Vivaldi, "Four Seasons"): Allegro, Adagio. Sempre piano, Pastorello. Allegro
Les Eclairs de Musique — Les Saisons Amusantes (Arts Music, 2004)
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One of the biggest hits of the late Renaissance was a madrigal by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, who set music to a spring-themed poem entitled Vestiva i colli, or “Clothing the summits (hills).” The work proved so popular that many of his generation and those following borrowed it for their own purposes. Compositions based on Vestiva I colli survive for vocal and instrumental ensembles in versions for devotional use in church or for entertainment at home.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: "Vestiva i colli"
Dialogo Musicale/Leo Meilink — Music at the Court of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague (Ars Musici, 1992)
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Bartolomeo di Selma y Salaverde: Vestiva i colli
Sophie Watillon — The Art of the Viol Bastarda (Ligia, 1994)
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Our featured release keeps to the theme of spring. The L’Orfeo Baroque Orchestra performs excerpts from J.C.F. Fischer’s Le Journal du Printemps, or the “Spring Diary,” a collection of dances for orchestra.

Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer: Suite C major, no. 1, Ouverture; Marche; Air de Combattons; Riguadon; Menuet; Chaconne; Suite in C major, no. 8, Passepied; Menuet
L'Orfeo Baroque Orchestra/Michi Gaigg — Le Journal du Printemps, op. 1 (CPO, 2007)
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Francesco Landini: Ballata "Ecco la primavera"
Alla Francesca/Brigitte Lesne — Francesco Landini and Italian Ars Nova (Opus 111, 1992)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Francisco Guerrero: "Dezidme, fuente clara"
La Trulla de Bozes — Sevilla circa 1560 (Passacaille, 2002)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Estienne Moulinié: "Tout se peint de verdure"
Le Poeme Harmonique/Vincent Dumestre — L'Humaine Comédie (Alpha, 2000)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Thomas Morley: "It was Lover and his Lass"
Musicians of the Globe/Philip Pickett — Songs and Dances from Shakespeare's Plays (Philips, 1997)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Nicolas Chedeville: Concerto "Le Printemps" (after Antonio Vivaldi, "Four Seasons"): Allegro, Adagio. Sempre piano, Pastorello. Allegro
Les Eclairs de Musique — Les Saisons Amusantes (Arts Music, 2004)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: "Vestiva i colli"
Dialogo Musicale/Leo Meilink — Music at the Court of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague (Ars Musici, 1992)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Bartolomeo di Selma y Salaverde: Vestiva i colli
Sophie Watillon — The Art of the Viol Bastarda (Ligia, 1994)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Philippe de Monte: Missa Sex Vocum - Gloria [super "Vestiva i colli"]
Dialogo Musicale/Leo Meilink — Music at the Court of Emperor Rudolf II in Prague (Ars Musici, 1992)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer: Suite C major, no. 1, Ouverture; Marche; Air de Combattons; Riguadon; Menuet; Chaconne; Suite in C major, no. 8, Passepied; Menuet
L'Orfeo Baroque Orchestra/Michi Gaigg — Le Journal du Printemps, op. 1 (CPO, 2007)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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