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Ensalada mista!

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Welcome to Harmonia . . . I’m Angela Mariani.

This hour, we’re setting our time machine for sixteenth century Spain to hear a very special musical form called the ensalada. Just as a salad mixes vegetables of all sorts together, the ensalada tosses together multiple songs, languages, and refrains, in music with frequent changes of meter and rhythm in irresistible combinations.  Plus, we’ll hear music from our featured release, Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys, from Piffaro, The Renaissance Band.


[Theme music fades]


MUSIC TRACK
Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys
Piffaro
Navona, 2017 B073PJQJQK
T.33: Harmonice musices Odhecaton,Canti A 75&76, Tandernaken (2:15)
T.34: Ludwig Senfl: Tandernak quinque (2:29)

Piffaro, The Renaissance Band, from their CD “Back Before Bach” – two versions of the tune T’andernaken, first by Obrecht, arranged for chamber ensemble, and the other by Ludwig Senfl. We’ll hear more from this recording later in the program.  

On Harmonia this hour we are off to 16th-century Spain, for a visit with a very particular genre of music.

A quodlibet is a song that strings together bits of verse, well-known tunes, different languages, and sometimes complete nonsense into a hodgepodge that often had a humorous character, at least in its early incarnations. In sixteenth century Spain, a regional, seasonal genre emerged known as the ensalada, which you may not be terribly surprised to hear is the Spanish word for salad. The ingredients in this salad are both sacred and secular, with mixed languages and melodies strung together both sequentially and simultaneously and frequent changes of rhythm. Ensaladas tend to be lengthy, up to 400 bars in modern transcription, and the performance of one piece sometimes last for nearly half an hour once the performers insert all possible repeats and extra instrumental music. The earliest musical ensaladas appear in the Cancionero Musical de Palacio, an enormous collection of polyphony from around 1500 that lives in Madrid, originally comprised of 548 separate pieces, of which 458 survive.

Let’s do some “meta-time travel” and listen to what is possibly the earliest musical ensalada in possibly its earliest recording, from a 1968 LP by an ensemble that makes many of today’s early music groups seem rather tame by comparison. The text combines the song, Ay triste de mi ventura , the refrain Madre mía, muriera yo and a fragment of Psalm 137, Super flumina Babylonis, sung in Latin. 

MUSIC TRACK
Music from the time of Christopher Columbus
Musica Reservata, John Beckett
Phillips  1968 / B00000E4U
Garcimuñós
Tr. 13: Una montaña pasando (4:59)

Una montaña pasando. by the otherwise unknown Garcimuñós, performed by Musica Reservata, director John Beckett, from their 1968 LP Music from the time of Christopher Columbus.  Early music fans will recognize the names of some of the performers in Musica Reservata: Adam and Roddy Skeaping, Desmond Duprée, Grayston Burgess, Nigel Rogers, Alan Lumsden, Jeremy Montagu, and David Monroe, for instance! And here’s a Harmonia exclusive: the soprano on this LP, Jantina Noorman, (who was a student at Champaign-Urbana along with Tom Binkley and Sterling Jones!!) was also capable of singing some of the most beautiful Purcell you will ever hear!

The ensalada reached its zenith in the hands of Mateo Flecha, who composed at least 11 ensaladas in four or five parts, eight of which were published by his nephew and namesake, Mateo Flecha in Prague (!) in 1581 as Las ensaladas de Flecha. They feature humorous verse with irregular metre, with inserted quotations from songs and refrains in Spanish, Catalan, French, Italian, Portuguese and Latin; and the texts always contain a reference to Christmas. 

El fuego (“the fire”), as its name suggests, begins with a metaphorical emergency, the fire being accursed sin that catches those who are idle. “Run! Bring help quickly, or we will burn like Rome did…But where to get such waters? …From a Virgin without stain comes the most pure water. Take joy that Holy Mary bore the shepherd of the flock.” The piece ends in Latin with the words, “Whoever drinketh of this water Shall not thirst forever.” 

MUSIC TRACK
Fire and Water: The Spirit of Renaissance Spain
King's Singers, The Harp Consort 
Sony Masterworks, 2000 / B00004KH71
Mateo Flecha (i)
Track 11: El Fuego (10:46) 

We heard the King’s Singers with the Harp Consort performing Mateo Flecha’s El fuego on their Sony Masterworks CD Fire and Water: The Spirit of Renaissance Spain from the year 2000. Ensaladas can be thought of as multimedia events—recordings can’t fully reveal the mime, spoken text, and dance involved, for its performance was undoubtedly somewhat theatrical. At the same time, much is unknown about the performance of the pieces in their own time—like how many singers there were, or how instruments were used. The harp accompaniment you just heard is a special feature that is very appropriate to Spanish music of the sixteenth century.

You can hear highlights from recent and archival concert recordings of early music on Harmonia Uncut -- our biweekly podcast, curated and hosted by Wendy Gillespie. Listen online at harmonia early music dot org and through iTunes.

You’re listening to Harmonia . . .  I’m Angela Mariani.

Midpoint break (:59 MUSIC BED)

MUSIC TRACK
Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys
Piffaro
Navona, 2017 B073PJQJQK
T.24: Praetorius, Terpsichore: No. 210, Volte in G Major (1:00)

Welcome back. We’ll turn now to Mateo Flecha’s El Jubilate, an ensalada that begins in Latin with a bit of Psalm 99, “Praise the Lord all ye lands,” in a celebration of the birth of Jesus. This is then related to the fate of the snake devil in Paradise who seduced Adam and Eve to disobey God. The piece ends, “Through the blessed Virgin you all dance the grigonça,” and then a bit of Genesis for the fate of the snake: “Et ipsa conteret caput tuum, alleluia.” (“and she shall crush thy head”).

MUSIC TRACK
Ensaladas
La Stagione Armonica / L’Amoroso, (Sergio Balestracci))
Alliance, 2005 / B0008JEK72
Mateo Flecha
Tr 5: El Jubilate (9:01)   

La Stagione Armonica and ensemble L’Amoroso, conducted by Sergio Balestracci, performed Mateo Flecha’s ensalada El Jubilate.

Finally, let’s hear Flecha’s La bomba (a word that mean “pumps”—not to be confused with La Bamba, which is another song entirely) This is an allegorical tale about a ship in big trouble, shattered and about to sink in a rough sea. The desperate crew entreats God, various incarnations of the Virgin – she of Loreto, she of Guadalupe, she of Montserrat – Saint Elmo, the patron saint of sailors, and others to help them, since they can’t swim! You will hear some prayerful Latin accompanied by the organ; various sailors promising to go on pilgrimage barefoot to Santiago, run to Jerusalem, live as a hermit in the desert, and so on. The guitarist is mentioned by name (Gil Pizzara), and exhorted to tune his guitar (not very successfully at first!).  Luckily, all turns out well and everyone rejoices.

MUSIC TRACK
Canciones & Ensaladas
Ensemble Clement Janequin, Dominique Visse
Harmonia Mundi, 2012 / B0063JALPQ
Mateo Flecha
Track 2: La Bomba (11:02)

I wonder if these singers ever heard Musica Reservata’s 1968 LP?  That was the Ensemble Clement Jannequin, singing Matteo Flecha’s La bomba on their 2012 Harmonia Mundi CD Canciones & Ensaladas.

Our featured recording this week is called “Back Before Bach,” by Piffaro, the Renaissance Band. Many of us are familiar with the famous German composers of the high Baroque; but for this CD, Piffaro asks us to consider what came before. What music might one have heard in the courts, churches, and countrysides of Germany in the age before Bach and his contemporaries?

Let’s begin with three settings of the German hymn “Christ ist erstanden,” the first by Johann Walter, the second by Michael Praetorius, and the third an arrangement for chamber ensemble of Bach’s chorale.

MUSIC TRACK
Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys
Piffaro
Navona, 2017 B073PJQJQK
T.6: Christ ist erstanden (Walther)  (1:22)
T.7: Christ ist erstanden (Praetorius) (1:27)
T.8: Christ ist erstanden (J.S. Bach) (1:57 actually 1:51)

Piffaro performed Johann Sebastian Bach’s chorale “Christ ist erstanden,” arranged for chamber ensemble, preceded by a setting from Michael Praetorius; and we began with a setting by Johann Walther. All are from a CD on the Navona label called “Back Before Bach,” by Piffaro, The Renaissance Band. 

The “Back Before Bach” CD also features music that one might have heard out in the countryside, with people dancing the night away. Here’s an arrangement by Joan Kimball of a dance piece from Praetorius’s collection Terpsichore, with the mysterious name “Ballet des Aveugles.”

MUSIC TRACK
Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys
Piffaro
Navona, 2017 B073PJQJQK
T.35: Ballet des aveugles (actual time 2:30)

Music from Michael Praetorius’s 1612 collection “Terpsichore,” arranged for chamber ensemble by Joan Kimball and played there by Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, from their CD “Back Before Bach,” released on the Navona label.

(Fade in theme)

Harmonia is a production of WFIU. Support comes from Early Music America which strengthens and celebrates early music by supporting the people and organizations that perform, study, and find joy in it....on the web at EarlyMusicAmerica-DOT-org.

Additional resources come from the William and Gayle Cook Music Library at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

We welcome your thoughts about any part of this program, or about early music in general. Contact us at harmonia early music dot org. And, you can follow our Facebook page and our updates on Twitter by searching for Harmonia Early Music.

The writer for this edition of Harmonia was Wendy Gillespie.

Thanks to our studio engineer Michael Paskash, and our production team: Aaron Cain, Wendy Gillespie, LuAnn Johnson and John Bailey. I’m Angela Mariani, inviting you to join us again for the next edition of Harmonia.

Portrait of a man made of fruits and vegetables.

Salad, anyone? (Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Wikimedia ( Jens Mohr))

A musical salad, anyone? On Harmonia this week, multiple languages, tunes, sacred and secular music, and frequent changes of meter and rhythm get tossed together as we take a journey to sixteenth-century Spain to hear some foot-tapping ensaladas. Get ready to clap your hands and stamp your feet along with this irresistibly energetic music! 

Plus, we’ll hear music from our featured release, Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys, from Piffaro, The Renaissance Band

PLAYLIST

Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys
Piffaro
Navona, 2017 B073PJQJQK
T.33: Harmonice musices Odhecaton,Canti A 75&76, Tandernaken (2:15)
T.34: Ludwig Senfl: Tandernak quinque (2:29)

Segment A:
Music from the time of Christopher Columbus
Musica Reservata, John Beckett
Phillips 1968 LP/ B00000E4U
Garcimuñós
Tr. 13: Una montaña pasando (4:59)

Fire and Water: The Spirit of Renaissance Spain
King's Singers, The Harp Consort
Sony Masterworks, 2000 / B00004KH71
Mateo Flecha (i)
Track 11: El Fuego (10:46)

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

:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed: Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys, Piffaro, Navona 2017 B073PJQJQK, T.24: Praetorius, Terpsichore: No. 210, Volte in G Major (1:00)

Segment B:
Ensaladas
La Stagione Armonica / L’Amoroso, (Sergio Balestracci))
Alliance, 2005 / B0008JEK72
Mateo Flecha
Tr 5: El Jubilate (9:01)

Canciones & Ensaladas
Ensemble Clement Janequin, Dominique Visse
Harmonia Mundi, 2012 / B0063JALPQ
Mateo Flecha
Track 2: La Bomba (11:02)

Featured Release:
Back Before Bach: Musical Journeys
Piffaro
Navona, 2017 B073PJQJQK
Michael Praetorius
T.6: Christ ist erstanden (Walther) (1:22)
T.7: Christ ist erstanden (Praetorius) (1:27)
T.8: Christ ist erstanden (J.S. Bach) (1:57 actually 1:51)
T.35: Ballet des aveugles (actual time 2:30)

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