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Welcome to Harmonia . . . I’m Angela Mariani…
Our program this hour grew out of a search for pieces of music that begin with the words “Quis dabit…,” which is Latin for “Who will give…”. The pieces that emerged turned out to have much more than just their opening two words in common, as “Quis dabit…” is a trigger for mourning that goes back to the “weeping Prophet” Jeremiah and his tender concern about his countrymen’s impending punishment. Composers from Isaac, to Mouton, to the ever-prolific Anonymous contribute to the collection. Plus, our featured release is a 2021 recording entitled Il labirinto armónico, featuring violin music of Pietro Locatelli.
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Hieronymus Praetorius: Motets in 8, 10, 12, 16 & 20 Parts
Inventa, 2019 / B07Q6ZHXPM
CDII/1 Laudate Dominum a8 (4:36)
Hieronymus Praetorius’ motet Laudate Dominum for eight voices was sung by the ensemble Alamire, directed by David Skinner. Their recording is entitled Hieronymus Praetorius: Motets in 8, 10, 12, 16 & 20 Parts, released on the Inventa label 2019.
In the first verse of his ninth chapter of the Biblical Lamentations, the “weeping Prophet,” Jeremiah, says “Who will give water to my head, and a fountain of tears to my eyes? I will weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.” In Latin, it’s “Quis dabit capiti meo aquam, et oculis meis fontem lacrimarum, …”
This hour, we’re going to hear half a dozen pieces from the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries, each of which begins with the same two words, “Quis dabit” - Latin for “who will give.” We’ll find that for hundreds of years those two words have signaled a call to mourning and have been the inspiration for unforgettable music.
One of the earliest musical settings of the text is found at the Monastery of Las Huelgas de Burgos in Spain. This musical setting may have been specifically intended to mourn a relative of King Alfonso VIII, who founded the convent, but its words are Jeremiah’s: let’s hear a late 20th-century interpretation by the Studio der Frühen Musik, specifically the iconic Andrea van Ramm and Thomas Binkley.
Camino de Santiago I & II
Studio der Frühen Music
EMI Classics, 1973 / B00C9QM3LC
Anon Las Huelgas
Tr. 18 Quis dabit (3:01)
An anonymous setting of Jeremiah’s text from the Las Huelgas Codex was performed by the Studio der Frühen Musik on their 1973 EMI Classics recording, Camino de Santiago I & II.
Now to one of the most precious gems in our jewel box of musical laments, whose words, written by the poet Agnolo Poliziano for his very dear friend Lorenzo de Medici, begin “Quis dabit capiti meo aquam?” Heinrich Isaac, music teacher to Lorenzo’s children, composed the music. Listen especially for the poignant moment at the beginning of the second section-- the words “Suddenly the laurel tree (referring of course to Lorenzo) is struck down by lightning”-- and, as if Lorenzo himself had been singing the part, the tenor voice of the motet goes silent.
Issac: Ich muss dich lassen
Capilla Flamenca (Marnix De Cat, contratenor; Tore Denys, Tenor; Lieven Termont, Baritone; Dirk Snellings, Bas; Jan Van Outryve, luit; Liam Fennelly, Thomas Baeté, Piet Stryckers, viola da gamba; Patrick Denecker, fluiten), directed by Dirk Snellings ; Oltremontano (Doron David Sherwin, cornetto; Adam Bregman, Harry Rieds: tenortrombone; Wim Becu, bastrombone).
Ricercar, 2010 / B005IQXSV4
Tr. 13 Quis dabit capiti meo aquam? (5:07)
Capilla Flamenca sang Heinrich Isaac’s setting of Agnolo Poliziano’s poem on the death of Lorenzo de Medici, “Quis dabit capiti meo aquam?” on their 2010 Ricercar CD Ich muss dich lassen.
Upon the death of Queen Anne of Brittany, wife of King Louis XII of France, on January 9th, 1514, a lament was written whose opening words again ring that mourning bell: Quis dabit oculis nostris fontem lacrimarum? (“Who will give to our eyes a well of tears?”)
The text was set by both Jean Mouton and Costanzo Festa. Let’s hear the Mouton version:
Mouton : Missa Dictes moy toutes voz pensees
Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips
Gimell 2012 / B00Y40FZ70
Tr 18-22 Quis dabit oculis nobis (8:35)
Jean Mouton’s lament was sung by the Tallis Scholars, directed by Peter Phillips, on their 2012 Gimell CD Mouton : Missa Dictes moy toutes voz pensees.
Costanzo Festa’s version of this piece has the same words, different music. In a turn of events that might be frowned upon in our day, Isaac’s student Ludwig Senfl—how shall we characterize it: arranged? adapted? borrowed? stole?—Festa’s piece to turn it into a lament on the death of Maximilian I. That is how the piece is found in a 1538 publication, with no credit to Festa at all.
Ludwig Senfl: Missa paschalis Motetten & Lieder
The Choir of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge; Quintessential; Christopher Watson, tenor; Robert MacDonald, bass; Andrew Lawrence-King, harp; David Skinner, director.
Obsidian, 2009 / B001QWQLCM
Tr. 16 Quis dabit oculis (5:46)
The Choir of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, David Skinner, director, sang Ludwig Senfl’s arrangement of Costanzo Festa’s motet on the 2009 Obsidian release Missa paschalis Motetten & Lieder.
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Theme Music Bed: Ensemble Alcatraz, Danse Royale, Elektra Nonesuch 79240-2 / B000005J0B, T.12: La Prime Estampie Royal
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.
:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed: Il labirinto armonico,
Ilya Gringolts, Finnish Baroque Orchestra, BIS 2021 / B08NF334VQ, Pietro Locatelli, Tr 2 Largo (excerpt of 4:14)
Welcome back. We’re listening to music that begins with the words “Quis dabit” - Latin for “who will give” - and we’ve learned that for years those words have been associated with death and mourning.
Our final example “Quis dabit” piece dates from 1611--- Johann Christoph Demantius’ Threnodia. The word means song of mourning, in this case, for Christian II, the Elector of Saxony.
17th-century funeral music
Schütz-Akademie; Howard Arman, conductor.
Berlin Classics, 2009 / B005329L96
Johanne Christoph Demantius
Tr 10 Threnodia "Quis dabit oculis" (11:06)
Johann Christoph Demantius’ Quis dabit oculis, Howard Arman directing the Schütz-Akademie on their 2009 Berlin Classics recording.
Turning now to our featured release: a 2021 BIS recording of three Concerti by Pietro Locatelli from his 1733 publication “L’Arte del Violino.”
Locatelli, of course, was himself a famed virtuoso on the violin, and his compositions present technical challenges that take violin playing to a new level.
The Russian violinist Ilya Gringolts is the soloist and director of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra.
Here’s the slow middle movement of the Concerto in D Major, Opus 3, no. 12, the concerto subtitled “Il labirinto armónico” that gave the recording its title.
Il labirinto armonico
Ilya Gringolts, Finnish Baroque Orchestra
BIS 2021 / B08NF334VQ
Tr 8 Largo-Presto-Adagio (3:20)
“Il labirinto armónico, a violin concerto by Pietro Locatelli. Ilya Gringolts was the violin soloist and director of the Finnish Baroque Orchestra.
One really striking thing about these concertos is that at the end of the first and third movements of each one. Locatelli inserts Capriccios for the soloist alone of a difficulty previously unheard of, as we hear in the final movement of the Concerto Opus 3, No. 11.
Il labirinto armonico
Ilya Gringolts, Finnish Baroque Orchestra
BIS 2021 / B08NF334VQ
Tr 6 Concerto in A Major Op. 3 No.11: Andante – Capriccio (7:29)
Ilya Gringolt directs the Finnish Baroque Orchestra and performs all manner of flashy violin tricks on the 2021 BIS recording Il labirinto armónico.
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Harmonia is a production of WFIU. Support comes from Early Music America: a national organization that advocates and supports the historical performance of music of the past, the community of artists who create it, and the listeners whose lives are enriched by 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 Gillepsie.
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.
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