This hour, we’re paying tribute to Margaretha “Margriet” Tindemans, an early music pioneer and “ferociously talented” medieval fiddle player who passed away December 31, 2014. Margriet’s colleague and good friend, gambist Wendy Gillespie, shares a remembrance, and we’ll play music from a wide swath of Margriet’s career.
Let’s begin with the piece “Tombeau de M. Blanchroche” by German composer Johann Jakob Froberger performed by Les Filles de Sainte-Colombe with Margriet Tindemans. (Froberger wrote this piece in commemoration of his friend, the French lutenist Blancrocher.)
From the medieval fiddle and rebec to baroque viola and viola da gamba, Margriet Tindemans was at master early stringed instruments, and she was a shining figure in the early music world. Wendy Gillespie has this remembrance.
There is an amazing group of performers and scholars of early music, recently including, among others, Frans Bruggen, Gustave Leonhart, Pat O’Brien, Bruce Haynes, Christopher Hogwood, and Washington McClain, who have welcomed a new member to their midst.
This fantastic ensemble resides in Boethius’ Music of the Spheres, now finally able to learn from all the people to whose music they devoted their careers on our little planet.
They have instruments that never go out of tune, reeds that last forever, strings that never break, voices that never get hoarse!
Recently, Margaretha Tindemans, known to most of us as Margriet, has joined their ranks, to their great joy and our great sorrow.
Margriet left us on December 31, 2014, and we’d like to try to pay her a modest tribute for her heroic contributions to the early music movement.
During her childhood in Holland (to which she referred as “our postage stamp of a country”) Margriet remembers tapping her toes inside her shoes to kyries and swaying in her pew as the priest chanted the mass. She began violin lessons at age ten, and by the time she turned 14 was playing first violin in the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands.
Margriet went on to study music in Maastricht, then Brussels, Belgium, and Basel, Switzerland, and she completed her studies with highest honors. Luckily for us, she had been bitten by the early music bug early on. At various stages in her career she performed on and taught, among other instruments, recorder, harp, mandolin, viola da gamba, vielle (medieval fiddle), and baroque viola.
Let’s hear Margriet perform on medieval fiddle in a song from the Cantigas de Santa María.
We’ll hear more from this recording later in the hour. But first, let’s return to Wendy Gillespie…
Sequentia was founded in Basel in 1977, as Barbara Thornton and Ben Bagby were finishing their diplomas in medieval music performance at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. They were joined by a number of fine medieval fiddle players in their early years, but had already heard from their teacher, Thomas Binkley, about a ferociously talented young fiddle player from the Netherlands, Margriet Tindemans. They met her, as Ben Bagby tells us, got together to “try some things,” and they hit it off right away.
We heard an estampie by medieval trouvere Jehannot de Lescurel from an LP released by Sequentia in 1984. At that time the group consisted of Benjamin Bagby, Barbara Thorton, and Margriet Tindemans, who recently passed away on December 31st, 2014.
Sequentia and beyond
On one of Sequentia’s US tours, Margriet was hosted in Seattle by Dick Templeton, whom she eventually married. Her move to Seattle was gradual, but by mid-1987 an era had come to an end.
Those were nine huge years in the history of Sequentia, and Margriet’s contribution was an essential part of everything they did. As Ben Bagby says, “Her strong musical and personal presence a constant and supportive force, her generosity and charisma an inspiration.”
In addition to Sequentia, Margriet has performed with, among other groups, the Royal Dutch Opera, the Newberry Consort, King’s Noyse, Les Filles de Sainte-Colombe, the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Pacific MusicWorks, Gallery Concerts, and the Folger Consort.
Thanks, Wendy. Let’s hear Margriet performing with the ensemble Les Filles de Sainte-Colombe.
Here’s Wendy Gillespie with more.
After she moved to Seattle, Margriet was named Artist in Residence at the University of Washington and became active in the Early Music Guild. In an EMG Discovery Series performance for children in 2009, she invited small hands to examine her collection of medieval fiddles, then juggled bananas and oranges: a squealingly successful finale!
For eight years she served as music director of puppet operas at the Northwest Puppet Center, including performances of Don Giovanni, The Dragon of Whatley, and The Magic Flute. More recently, she joined the music faculty at the Cornish College of the Arts.
In 1990 Margriet taught medieval chant and other early music forms to a group of twelve women through the Northwest Center for Early Music Studies. The group eventually expanded to 60 and became the Medieval Women’s Choir, a non-audition performing ensemble now in its 25th season. Open to women of all levels of musical skill, the MWC is Margriet’s proudest accomplishment and the dearest to her heart.
At the Choir’s 2014 Christmas concert, Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas declared December 20th Margriet Tindemans Day in the City of Seattle for, among other accomplishments, her “virtuosic and deeply informed playing…[which] has opened new worlds of beauty and history” to her audiences and students. The Mayor’s proclamation describes her as “a towering musical artist, mentor, and leader, beloved and admired by a wide community.”
Margriet is survived by her spouse, Judith Suther of Seattle, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews and even a great niece, and her all-time best student and musical soulmate, Shira Kammen of Berkeley, California. Shira says, “One of my favorite things was when she would find something so funny she couldn’t stop laughing, and her laughing would make me laugh more, and when I think of those times I smile so deeply my mouth hurts.”
Thanks to Wendy Gillespie for that remembrance of Margriet Tindemans. And it’s with that quote from Shira Kammen that we’ll transition to our featured recording, one on which both Shira and Margriet performed—Provence Mystique: Sacred Songs of the Middle Ages. Here they are performing alongside soprano Anne Azéma.
Let’s finish with one more track from this recording. Here’s haunting and reflective song from the early 13th century.
It includes the words:
“Christ died on the cross for us,
and destroyed our deaths by dying.
This event was wondrous:
for on the cross where death was born
there was yet born for us both life and forgiveness
and peace instead of torture…”
Personal note from Angela Mariani
“I met Margriet Tindemans many years ago at Amherst Early Music where I was a student at a medieval music workshop that she was teaching. Over the years I met her several more times. She was a formidable talent, an inspiring teacher, an endlessly positive person, and one of the most generous and creative musicians I have ever known. She will be deeply missed.”
Break and theme music
Segment A music bed: Trouvères: Courtly Love Songs from Northern France, Sequentia, Harmonia mundi deutsche LP set 1984, Anonymous, Platte I, Side 1, Tr. 2: Estampie (excerpt of 2:50)
:30, Trouvères: Courtly Love Songs from Northern France, Sequentia, Harmonia mundi deutsche LP set 1984, Anonymous, Platte I, Side 1, Tr. 7: Estampie (excerpt of 3:30)
Segment B music bed: Trouvères: Courtly Love Songs from Northern France, Sequentia, Harmonia mundi deutsche LP set 1984, Jehannot de Lescurel, Platte III, Side 2, Tr. 14f: Instrumentalstück (:35)
:60, German Music for Viols & Harpsichord, Les Filles de Sainte-Colombe, Viola Da Gamba Society of America 1989, Johannes Schenck, Tr. 4 Sonata XI in G Major (excerpt of 10:24)
Segment C music bed: Bingen: River of Red – O Rubor Sanguinis, Margriet Tindemans & Seattle Medieval Women’s Choir, Seattle Medieval Women’s Choir 2006 B0010SX4UO, Tr. 17 Tu Flos Es (instrumental arr. Margriet Tindemans) (excerpt of 2:04)
:30, Trouvères: Courtly Love Songs from Northern France, Sequentia, Harmonia mundi deutsche LP set 1984, Jehannot de Lescurel, Platte III, Side 2, Tr. 14a: Instrumentalstück (excerpt of 1:07)
Theme: Danse Royale, Ensemble Alcatraz, Elektra Nonesuch 79240-2 1992 B000005J0B, T.12: La Prime Estampie Royal
The writer and producer for this edition of Harmonia is LuAnn Johnson.
Special thanks to Wendy Gillespie for her tribute and memories of Margriet.
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.