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Homeland: Music of Loss and Longing

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Welcome to Harmonia…I’m Angela Mariani.

Have you ever reached out for something, over and over, only to find that it is just beyond your grasp? This hour on Harmonia, we explore music about loss and longing. The troubadour’s tale of unrequited distant love is paired with stories of having to leave one’s homeland, for one reason or another, expressed in melody and song. Plus, our featured release: Out of Italy, eighteenth century music for two cellos with Phoebe Carrai and Beiliang Zhu.

[Theme music fades]

MUSIC TRACK
Out of Italy
Phoebe Carrai and Beiliang Zhu baroque cello
Avie Records 2019 / B07MF43WC7
Luigi Boccherini
Tr. 16 Cello Sonata in C Major, G. 17: I. Allegro (4:47)

The opening movement, Allegro, from Luigi Boccherini’s Sonata for Two Cellos in C Major, G. 17. We heard baroque cellists Phoebe Carrai and Beiliang Zhu from our featured release “Out of Italy.”

[Start the music track, fade after a few seconds for voice track]  

The theme of unrequited love and loss is prominent in the poetry of the medieval troubadours. Their story also relates to our other theme this hour, one of exile from the homeland. The thirteenth-century Albigensian Crusade against the Cathar heresy killed off many of the troubadour’s patrons, and decimated the culture in which they had flourished. Many of them fled to Italy, Spain, and other lands.

But getting back to the faraway love: one of the most famous 12th century troubadours was Jaufre Rudel, whose songs often alluded to the love of a woman in a distant land. According to his vida – short biographies of the troubadours, most likely highly fictionalized -- she was the Countess of Tripoli. Jaufre supposedly made it—eventually--to the Countess of Tripoli’s castle, where he promptly died in her arms.

MUSIC TRACK
Jaufre Rudel, vol. 13
Ensemble Tre Fontane
Label: Alba Musica
ASIN: B007RF2GQ2
Jaufre Rudel
Tr. 2 Non sap chantar qui so non di (actual time 5:18—stop before applause)

“Non sap chantar qui so non di,” by 12th century troubadour Jaufre Rudel, performed there by Ensemble Tre Fontane.

The term troubadour comes from the Occitan word “trobar,” meaning “to find,” like the French word trouver, but also “to compose or invent.” Troubadours were both men and women, and both wrote and improvised text and music to tell stories of love, loss, chivalry, and more. From the northwest area of the Iberian peninsula, Galicia, we have songs called Cantigas de Amigo. Only one set survives with music – a cycle of songs by Galician troubadour Martin Codax, who sets his melodies to lyrics written from the literary perspective of a female narrator.      

In the first of these, “Ondas do mar de Vigo,” a woman sings of her longing for her friend, off at sea, saying, ‘Will I see him soon? Have you seen my friend, whom I yearn for? Have you seen my beloved, about whom I worry greatly?’ Later, in the song “Eno sagrado en Vigo,” the speaker imagines dancing in a sanctuary on the shores of her homeland, Vigo, far away from her friend. “Eno sagrado” is the only song in Codax’s cycle to be missing its melody--which has inspired many modern musicians to include it with the others, but invent their own tune. 

MUSIC TRACK
Songs of Longing & Lustful Tunes
Medieval Ensemble Alba
Classico 2010 / B003U9Q87M
Martin Codax
Cantigas de Amigo: No. 1 Ondas do mar de Vigo / No. 6 Eno sagrado en Vigo (4:57)

Two thirteenth-century songs “Ondas do mar de Vigo” and “Eno sagrado en Vigo” by Martin Codax from the Cantigas de Amigo. Agnethe Christensen was the vocalist with Poul Høxbro on percussion.

Sometimes, our loss and longing is for a city that we have called home. Heinrich Isaac wrote “Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen,” lamenting having to leave his post there. “Innsbruck, I must leave you, and travel the roads to a foreign land. My joy is taken away, and in my misery, I don’t know how to get it back.” 

MUSIC TRACK
Ich Muss Dich Lassen
Capilla Flamenca and Oltremontano / dir. Dirk Snellings
Ricercar 2011 / B005IQXSV4
Heinrich Isaac
Tr. 18 Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen – O welt – Missa carminum: Christe secondum (6:07)

“Innsbruck, I must leave you,” by Heinrich Isaac. Capilla Flamenca and Oltremontano were directed by Dirk Snellings.

One well-known hymn of longing for a lost homeland has been set to music for hundreds of years in many languages. The 137th Psalm, “By the Waters of Babylon,” expresses the painful yearnings of the Jewish people during their Babylonian exile. In 17th-century Germany, a paraphrase of the psalm was well established as a Lutheran hymn that was the foundation for works by Schütz, Pachelbel, J.S. Bach and many others…including the composer and organist, Franz Tunder. We’ll hear his short cantata, An Wasserflüssen Babylon.

MUSIC TRACK
Matthias Weckman: Das Kantatenwerk
Ricercar Consort
Ricercar 2009 / B001YAH7HO
Franz Tunder
Tr. 13 An Wasserflüssen Babylon (3:18)

The short cantata, An Wasserflüssen Babylon (“By the waters of Babylon”) by Franz Tunder, performed by soprano Greta De Reyghere and the Ricercar Consort.

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.

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

:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed: Songs of Longing & Lustful Tunes / Medieval Ensemble Alba / Classico 2010 / B003U9Q87M / Anonymous / Tr. 13 La seste estampe royal (excerpt of 1:43)

Welcome back! This hour, we’re listening to works of longing and loss. Sometimes, we are made to feel not at home in our own land. This was the case for Catholics under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the second half of the sixteenth century. Although Elizabeth claimed tolerance of religious diversity, actions by the English parliament and the Papacy in Rome led to much persecution of prominent Catholics in England during this time. Among the composers who didn’t feel at home in his own land was the Catholic William Byrd. We’ll hear his setting of Psalm 136, “Quomodo cantabimus,” “How shall we sing the lords song in a strange land?”

MUSIC TRACK
In a Strange Land: Elizabethan Composers in Exile
Stile Antico
Harmonia Mundi 2019 / B07J3691SR
William Byrd
Tr. 7 Quomodo cantabimus (7:41)

“Quomodo cantabimus” by William Byrd. Stile Antico performed music from their 2019 Harmonia Mundi Release, In a Strange Land: Elizabethan Composers in Exile.

Our feature this hour, Out of Italy, comprises music for cello by composers who left the Italian peninsula. Although Italy was once considered the “home of music,” many Italian musicians in the eighteenth century—composers, instrumentalists, and singers—left Italy to seek their fortune in other lands. Francesco Geminiani was among the many to depart. He left Italy for London after spending time in Naples and his native Lucca. He quickly became popular as a virtuoso violinist, as well as a composer and teacher, performing violin concerti for King George the first, with Handel at the keyboard. We’ll hear the third and fourth movements, “Adagio,” and “Allegro,” from Geminiani’s Sonata in F Op. 5, No. 5 for two cellos.

MUSIC TRACK
Out of Italy
Phoebe Carrai and Beiliang Zhu baroque cello etc.
Avie Records 2019 / B07MF43WC7
Francesco Geminiani
Tr. 10 Sonata in F Op. 5 No. 5: III. Adagio (3:12)
Tr. 11 Sonata in F Op. 5 No 5: IV. Allegro (2:02)

The closing two movements, “Adagio” and “Allegro” from, Francesco Geminiani’s Sonata in F Op. 5 No. 5. Phoebe Carrai was the solo cellist with a continuo section of Beiliang Zhu (cello), Charles Weaver (lute), and Avi Stein (harpsichord).

Another composer among the many to leave Italy in the eighteenth century was Giacobbe Basevi Cervetto. Like Geminiani, Cervetto left Italy for London, where he became a very successful pedagogue and theatre musician. The Divertimento we’re about to hear, in fact, is very likely one of his several pieces published for teacher and student. Cervetto’s new home seems to have worked out for him—according to the JewishLivesProject website, he is said to have [quote] “performed at Vauxhall every summer up to the age of 98, and died at the age of 102 at Friburg’s snuff shop in the Haymarket.”

MUSIC TRACK
Out of Italy
Phoebe Carrai and Beiliang Zhu baroque cello etc.
Avie Records 2019 / B07MF43WC7
Giacobbe Basevi Cervetto
Tr. 5 Divertimento, Op. 4, No. 1: I. Adagio (2:16)
Tr. 7 Divertimento, Op. 4, No. 1: III. Tempo comodo (5:14)

The first and third movements, “Adagio” and “Tempo comodo,” from Giacobbe Basevi Cervetto’s Divertimento, Op. 4, No. 1. Phoebe Carrai and Beiliang Zhu performed on baroque cellos.

Georgio Antoniotto was another Italian composer who left his homeland. Antoniotto left Italy and joined the Spanish army in the War of Spanish Succession. He then moved to Geneva, rather than back to Italy, and spent his career teaching throughout Europe. We’ll hear the opening movements from his Cello Sonata No. 8 in G Major.

MUSIC TRACK
Out of Italy
Phoebe Carrai and Beiliang Zhu baroque cello etc.
Avie Records 2019 / B07MF43WC7
Giorgio Antoniotto
Tr. 1 Sonata in G Op. 1 No. 8: I. Adagio (2:23)
Tr. 2 Sonata in G Op. 1 No. 8: II. Spiritoso (1:37)

Music from Giorgio Antonietto’s Sonata in G Op. 1 No. 8 from Avie Records 2019 release, Out of Italy.

[Fade in theme music]

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 Sarah Huebsch Schilling.

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.

Ferdinand Olivier's painting of Psalm 137

German painter Ferdinand Olivier’s Die Juden in der Babylonischen Gefangenschaft, c.1830, depicting Psalm 137. (Wikimedia Commons)

Have you ever reached out for something, over and over, only to find that it is just beyond your grasp? This hour on Harmonia, we explore music about loss and longing. The troubadour’s tale of unrequited distant love is paired with stories of having to leave one’s homeland, for one reason or another, expressed in melody and song. Plus, our featured release: Out of Italy, eighteenth century music for two cellos with Phoebe Carrai and Beiliang Zhu.

PLAYLIST

Out of Italy
Phoebe Carrai and Beiliang Zhu baroque cello
Avie Records 2019 / B07MF43WC7
Luigi Boccherini
Tr. 16 Cello Sonata in C Major, G. 17: I. Allegro (4:47)

Jaufre Rudel, vol. 13
Ensemble Tre Fontane
Label: Alba Musica
ASIN: B007RF2GQ2
Jaufre Rudel
Tr. 2 Non sap chantar qui so non di (actual time 5:18—stop before applause)

Songs of Longing & Lustful Tunes
Medieval Ensemble Alba
Classico 2010 / B003U9Q87M
Martin Codax
Cantigas de Amigo: No. 1 Ondas do mar de Vigo / No. 6 Eno sagrado en Vigo (4:57)

MUSIC TRACK
Ich Muss Dich Lassen
Capilla Flamenca and Oltremontano / dir. Dirk Snellings
Ricercar 2011 / B005IQXSV4
Heinrich Isaac
Tr. 18 Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen – O welt – Missa carminum: Christe secondum (6:07)

Matthias Weckman: Das Kantatenwerk
Ricercar Consort
Ricercar 2009 / B001YAH7HO
Franz Tunder
Tr. 13 An Wasserflüssen Babylon (3:18)

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

:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed: Songs of Longing & Lustful Tunes / Medieval Ensemble Alba / Classico 2010 / B003U9Q87M / Anonymous / Tr. 13 La seste estampe royal (excerpt of 1:43)

In a Strange Land: Elizabethan Composers in Exile
Stile Antico
Harmonia Mundi 2019 / B07J3691SR
William Byrd
Tr. 7 Quomodo cantabimus (7:41)

Featured Release:
Out of Italy
Phoebe Carrai and Beiliang Zhu baroque cello etc.
Avie Records 2019 / B07MF43WC7
Francesco Geminiani
Tr. 10 Sonata in F Op. 5 No. 5: III. Adagio (3:12)
Tr. 11 Sonata in F Op. 5 No 5: IV. Allegro (2:02)
Giacobbe Basevi Cervetto
Tr. 5 Divertimento, Op. 4, No. 1: I. Adagio (2:16)
Tr. 7 Divertimento, Op. 4, No. 1: III. Tempo comodo (5:14)
Giorgio Antoniotto
Tr. 1 Sonata in G Op. 1 No. 8: I. Adagio (2:23)
Tr. 2 Sonata in G Op. 1 No. 8: II. Spiritoso (1:37)

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