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Harmonia Early Music

Family Ties

This hour, we’re looking at families wired for song! Plus, music from Jordi Savall and his two musical offspring.

The Recital by Hungarian painter Döme Skuteczky, 1885.

We’ll start with a song from Jordi Savall’s 2014 recording La Lira d’Espéria II. Much of the recording draws from various oral traditions and folk pieces native to the Galician region. [We’ll hear more from this recording later in the hour.]

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The Manfredini and Forqueray sons

Francesco Onofrio Manfredini, papa Manfredini, called Pistoia home. He moved to Bologna to study violin with Torelli and composition with Perti, then landed a job working for the Prince of Monaco, and in the meantime got married and started a family. But by 1724, Francesco was ready to get back to his roots. He returned to his hometown, taking with him his growing family of six.

Once back in Pistoia, the Manfredinis had at least two if not three more children, and Francesco was doubtlessly glad to be able to support them all with his new job as the Maestro di Cappella at the cathedral!

He composed numerous oratorios and a lot of other sacred works while in that position, most of which have been lost. Luckily, Manfredini’s published instrumental music from earlier in his career survives, including his Opus 2 Sinfonie da Chiesa. Capricornus Consort Basel has recorded the whole set.

Let’s hear two violins volley back and forth in the D minor Sinfonia, no. 2 from Manfredini’s 12 Sinfonie da Chiesa, first published in 1709.

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Like Father, like son—the Manfredinis shared a musical family legacy. Papa Francesco was Vincenzo’s first composition teacher, and then Vincenzo, just like his father, went off to study in Bologna and later Milan.

Born in 1737, Vincenzo was one of the younger Manfredini kids who came along after his parents had moved back to hometown Pistoia—and Vincenzo’s birthday was just a few years after Joseph Haydn’s. Like Haydn, Manfredini Jr. experimented in the 18th century’s trendy new genre of the string quartet. The ensemble Quartetto Delfico has recorded all six of Vincenzo Manfredini’s string quartets. Let’s hear music from one.

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Father and son Manfredini were cut from the same cloth, but their musical styles ended up being very different.

Sometimes though, as in the case of viol virtuosi Antoine and Jean-Baptiste Forqueray, the family resemblance is so strong that it can be hard to distinguish one from another. Despite their musical similarities though, the relationship between this father and son was a tumultuous one.

Antoine was by all accounts a hot-headed, dead-beat dad who left his family to fend for themselves until ordered to pay child support. Later, Antoine even had his son Jean-Baptiste put in prison, and in 1725 had him banished from Paris for a few months. Antoine was apparently jealous of reports that his precocious son was as much a celebrated virtuoso as himself.

Antoine routinely disinherited and reinstated his son from his will, but in the end there seems to have been some sort of reconciliation. Jean-Baptiste eventually inherited his father’s valuable instruments, and a considerable—if considerably smaller than his sister’s—share of dad’s sizable fortune.

After Antoine died in 1747, Jean-Baptiste published a volume of pieces for viol with continuo that he attributed mostly to his father. Jean-Baptiste took credit for a few pieces in the set, along with some added harmonies and transcriptions, but the musical style throughout the collection is uniform; it’s hard to know where one Forqueray ended and another began, and so some question still remains as to who wrote what.

Here are two pieces, Sarabande La D’aubonne and La Bournonville, from that 1747 Paris publication.

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The Praetorius name

Praetorius was a surname for a whole slew of musicians in the 16th and 17th centuries. The most famous is probably Michael Praetorius, known even today for his Syntagma musicum, Polyhymnia, and Terpsichore publications. But another pair of well-regarded Praetoriuses was the father and son organist-composers, Hieronymus and Jacob.

Born in 1560, Hieronymus Praetorius lived and worked most of his life in Hamburg where he held the post as organist at St. James’s Church. Several of Hieronymus’s organ works were compiled in 1611 into a collections called the Visby Tabulature. Many of these pieces are built around a cantus firmus hymn tune or chorale melody.

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Now let’s hear music by the younger Praetorius and some of his Magnificat Tertii Toni. A note about the registration you’ll hear in this track: it’s called the “cornett registration,” a historical registration originating with Jacob’s teacher, Jan Pietersen Sweelinck who wrote it down in 1655.

Another interesting note: Around the turn of the 18th century, part of the music manuscript was trimmed off and used to stuff and seal the bellows of an organ in Denmark, and wasn’t rediscovered until 1964 when that organ was restored. Thankfully, the missing parts of the music were likewise restored.

Let’s hear music from Jacob Praetorius’s Magnificat tertii toni. (Organist Joseph Kelemen performs a version that was reconstructed by musicologist Michael Belotti.)

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Meet the Berlins

Born in what is now Lithuania, Johan Daniel Berlin eventually settled in Trondheim, Norway where he made his home for the rest of his life. Johan Daniel was a jack-of-all trades; in addition to leading the Music Society orchestra, he was the town fire chief, and later the water inspector.

He built not only his own fire hose, but a bowed keyboard instrument he called a “cembalo da gamba verticale,” or a keyboard viola da gamba. And he was constantly tinkering to improve things.

Johan Daniel invented an agricultural threshing machine to streamline harvests for farmers, and for himself, rigged his harpsichord with a device to allow for greater loud and soft dynamics. In 1744, Johan Daniel funded his own publication of Musicaliske Elementer, one of Norway’s first elementary theory and technique books for wind and string players.

A true “Renaissance man” here’s a taste of Johan Daniel Berlin’s D Major Sinfonia, a composition from 1760 that gives a leading role to the cornetto. It’s interesting to hear, as 1760 is quite late in the cornetto’s repertory—having gone largely out of style by this time of transition from the late baroque to the early Classical.

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Three of Johan Daniel’s sons also became musicians—one of them, Johan Heinrich, followed in his father’s footsteps eventually taking over many of his father’s musical duties in Trondheim. Here’s a classical sinfonia by the 1741 Norwegian-born Berlin the younger, Johan Heinrich.

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The Savall family

Continuing with our “family ties” theme this hour, we’re featuring three recordings…by three Savalls!

In 1994, Jordi Savall recorded a CD with Pedro Estevan called La Lira d’Espéria, performed with various types of fiddle and percussion instruments. Two decades later, the duo has released a compliment to that original disc, La Lira d’Espéria II, focusing entirely on the Spanish region of Galicia in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. The repertory includes the well-known and often recorded Cantigas de Santa Maria, complied by the 13th-century King Alfonso the 10th (X) of Castile and Leon.

Let’s hear Savall and Estevan in some of Cantiga 123 played on a rebeb, tamburello and tambour.

[playlist-item 1]

For Ferran Savall, the son of Montserrat Figueras and Jordi Savall, music has been an inescapable part of life. Besides influence from his two musical parents, Ferran studied guitar and theorbo in school and conservatory. A keen improviser, Ferran draws on many styles of world music—past and present—rather than embracing any one specialty. Ferran performs with his father, Jordi, on his 2014 recording called IMPRO.

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Jordi’s daughter, Arianna, also released a recording in 2014 with her ensemble Hirundo Maris. The CD called Vox Cosmica centers on music by Hildegard of Bingen.

Let’s hear from Arianna Savall and Hirundo Maris in a Hildegard antiphon. Besides voice, we also hear Arianna accompanying herself with a Tibetan singing bowl.

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Break and theme music

:30, H. & J. Praetorius: Organ Music (Norddeutsche Orgelmeister, Vol. 6), Joseph Kelemen, Oehms Classics (2014) B00O46XFEE, Tr. 13 Praeambulum in d minor Basso (excerpt of 4:07)

:60, Forqueray: Le Diable, (The complete pieces de viole of the Forqueray family, vol. 1), Vittorio Ghielmi, Passacaille (2014) B00CE28S3S, Antoine Forqueray?, Tr. 4 Musette (excerpt of 2:11)

:30, Johan Daniel and Johan Heinrich Berlin, Norwegian Baroque Orchestra (Alexandra Opsahl, cornetto), Simax Classics (2014) B00HEVGKUW, Johan Heinrich Berlin, Tr. 15 sinfonia a 6 in d major iii allegro (excerpt of 5:22)

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 Janelle Davis.

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.

Janelle Davis

Janelle Davis is a violinist and performer with period instrument ensembles throughout the United States. She is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University, Bloomington where she specializes in early music.

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