Amando e desiando / Akantus
Spanish and Italian music from the 16th century

Alice Music ALCD 10

Alonso MUDARRA (1508—1580)
Tres libros   música en cifras para vihuela, Seville 1546
1. Fantasia  [1:14]  vihuela
2. Claros y frescos ríos  [3:44]  voice, viola da gamba | Text by Juan Boscán
3. Fantasia  [1:21]  vihuela
4. Gentil cavallero  [3:51]  voice, vihuela, viola da gamba

5. Poi che volse la mia stella  [3:40]  Bartolomeo TROMBONCINO (1470—1535)
voice, lute, viola da gamba | Frottole libro terzo, Venice 1505
6. Testar de corde  [1:17]  Joan Ambrosio DALZA (1470—?)
lute | Intabulatura de lauto libro quarto, Venice 1508
7. Chi me dara più pace  [3:53]  Marchetto CARA (1470—1525)
voice, lute, viola da gamba | Frottole libro primo, Venice 1504

Diego ORTIZ (1510—1570)
Trattado de glosas sobre cláusulas y otros géneros de puntos en la música de violones, Rome 1553
8. Recercada 4  [1:20]  viola da gamba
9. Recercada 8  [1:53]  viola da gamba, vihuela

10. Liber fui un tempo  [2:07]  Marchetto CARA
voice, lute | Frottolole libro terzo, Venice 1505
11. Testar de corde  [1:36]  Joan Ambrosio DALZA
lute | Intabulatura de lauto libro quarto, Venice 1508
12. Non val aqua al mio gran foco  [6:00]  Bartolomeo TROMBONCINO
voice, lute, viola da gamba | Frottole libro primo, Venice 1504

Francesco da MILANO
Intavolatura de lauto..., libro settimo, Venice 1548
13. Recercar no. 51  [2:45]  lute
14. Fantasia no. 30  [2:20]  lute
15. Fantasia no. 40  [0:56]  lute

Cancionero de Uppsala, Venice 1556
16. Falalalán  [2:01]  Mateo FLECHA (1481—1553) | text by Juan del Enzina
voice, vihuela, viola da gamba
17. Ay de mi, qu'en tierra agena  [2:38]  Anonymous
voice, viola da gamba
18. No tienen vado mis males  [1:38]  Juan del ENZINA (1469—1529)
voice, viola da gamba
19. Soleta so yo açi  [2:17]  Bartomeu CÁRCERES
voice, vihuela, viola da gamba

Trattado de glosas sobre cláusulas y otros géneros de puntos en la música de violones, Rome 1553
20. Recercada 3  [1:43]  viola da gamba, vihuela
21. Recercada 7  [1:41]  viola da gamba, vihuela
22. Recercada 4  [1:34]  viola da gamba, vihuela

Luis de NARVÁEZ (1500—1555)
Los seys libros del Delphin de música de cifras para tañer vihuela, Valladolid 1538
23. Paseábase el rey moro  [2:56]  voice, vihuela, viola da gamba
24. Guárdame las vacas, diferencias 1—4  [1:34]  vihuela
25. La bella mal maridada  [2:09]  voice, vihuela
26. Guárdame las vacas, diferencias 5—7  [1:39]  vihuela

27. S'io son stato a ritornare  [2:31]  Michele PESENTI (1470—1524)
voice, lute, viola da gamba | Frottole libro primo
28. Amando e desiando  [3:24]  Benedetto GARETH "Il Cariteo" (1450—1514)
voice, lute, viola da gamba | Frottole libro primo
29. Ricercar  [2:20]  Francesco SPINACINO (1470—?)
lute | Intabulatura de lauto libro primo, Venice 1507

Lena Susanne Norin, voice
Peter Söderberg, vihuela, lute
Leif Henrikson, viola da gamba

The numbering of the pieces by Francesco da Milano
comes from Arthur Ness:
The Lute Music of Francesco Canova da Milano (1497-1543)
(Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1970)

6-course Lute by Lars Jönsson, Dalarö 1992   
Bass gut strings by Peruffo Mimmo, Vicenza
Vihuela by Paul Thomson, London 1985
Viola da gamba by Helge Morsel, Stesan 1989

RECORDED al Boo Church, Stockholm August 1993
by Niklas Billström and Johan Petri

PRODUCED by Johan Petri and    Niklas Billström

COVER AND BOOK DESIGN by Cecilia Billström/Way of Design

PHOTOS of Peter Söderberg, Leif Henrikson, and group picture by Carl Henrik Tillberg
PHOTO of Lena Susanne Norin by Niklas Billström



Paseábase el rey moro
por la ciudad de Granada;
cartas le fueron venidas
cómo Alhama era ganada.
¡Ay de mí Alhama!

Las cartas echó al fuego
y al mensajeromatara
echó mano a sus cabellos
y la sus barbas mesara.
¡Ay de mí Alhama!
The Moorish King was passing
Through the city of Granada;
Came letters bearing news
Of the fall of Alhama.
Alas, my Alhama!

He hurled the letters in the fire
Caused their bearer to be slain.
His hands flew to his hair
And tore his beard in pain.
Alas, my Alhama!

This picturesque romance (track 23) by J. Luis de Narváez depicts an important historical event, the capture of Granada, including the Alhambra palace, which was the last Moorish or Muhammadan stronghold in Spain. The words, perhaps of Arabic origin, are put in the mouth of the Moorish king, the last of the sultans. The royal marriage between Ferdinand and Isabella in 1469 led to a unification of the Aragonese and Castilian forces which after a protracted war were able to force Granada to capitulate in 1492. In the same year, Columbus discovered America, opening the way for the Spanish to conquer large areas of the new country and ship home great quantities of gold and silver. The golden age had begun and Spain was on the way to becoming a great power. By the time Ferdinand and Isabella's grandson, Charles V, succeeded to the throne in 1516 he found himself the ruler of an empire which, through conquests and inheritance, had grown to enormous proportions. Apart from Spain itself it included Sardinia, southern Italy and Sicily, the Netherlands, Austria, Hungary, southern North America, Central America, the West Indies and all of South America except Brasil.

All the Spanish rulers during this period of greatness, that is Ferdinand and Isabella, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, were great music lovers and kept many musicians at their courts. This epoch is in fact known also as the golden age of Spanish classical music. For example, Ferdinand and Isabella each had their own capelle with about 40 singers. They also owned every conceivable type of instrument of the time, and Isabella always had three or four vihuela players in her suite.

Other Spanish noblemen and high officials, posted all over the great empire, followed the royal couple's example, holding court and gathering artists, poets and musicians about them. The musicians, a number of whom also wrote verse, were itinerant: many of the musicians at Spanish courts came from the Netherlands or Italy, and vice versa. For example, the author of the famous Italian frottola Amando e desiando (track 28), Benedetto Gareth, was a spaniard who spent nearly all his life in Italy going by the name of "Il  Cariteo".

The music we associate above all with the Spanish Renaissance courts are the intimate songs which were performed with a predominantly homophonic vihuela accompaniment. Such songs, which are in fact settings of poetry written according to special rules of versification, are to be found in impressive collections called cancioneros. The most famous of these is the Cancionero musical de Palacio with about 500 songs dating from 1450-1515, but about fifty other such collections have survived. The songs in these collection are of different kinds: cancione (cf. chanson), romance (an epic tale in verse, cf. the mediaeval ballad), and strammbotto (an eight line five-foot iambic verse with alternating rhymes; cf. frottola below), but much the most frequent is the specifically Spanish villancico, which consists of a series of verses preceded by, interleaved with and rounded off by a refrain. In the name of this form we recognize the word "villanos" meaning "peasant", and the villancico can be considered as a refined or courtly, and sometimes mildly ironic flirt with the rustic. In villancicos we meet the wife who sends away her husband and welcomes her lover (track 19), and the unfortunate nun who has found a "gentile cavalier" in the nunnery garden. But there are also songs of a more idyllic nature and those which express homesickness or unrequited love (e.g. track 2).

The Uppsala University library possesses a cancionero published in Venice 1556 called Cancionero de Uppsala. This is the only printed collection in existence. In fact it belonged to the Duke of Calabria (it is sometimes known as the Cancionero del Duque de Calabria). lt contains 54 villancicos, all except one anonymous. However, later research has succeeded in identifying several of the composers (see notes to each of the songs, track I6-19).

Nevertheless, compared to music of earlier epochs we do have a good deal of information about the renaissance music of Spain and other countries. One of the factors contributing to this was that towards the end of the 15th century the revolutionary invention of music printing took place in Venice. Another important consequence of the art of music printing was that music which achieved popularity became incomparably more widely disseminated. What had for many years been confined to the Spanish courts became in the course of a few years accessible to courts in other kingdoms.

This was true of both vocal and instrumental music, that is to say music for vihuela. Vihuela actually denotes two kinds of instrument: villuela de mano, sometimes called the Spanish lute, and vihuela de arco, a viol (cf. viola da gamba). But when vihuela only is specified it usually means the lute-like instrument, which in appearance very much resembles the guitar, and in playing technique the lute. At the Spanish court the vihuela had much the same standing as the lute was to assume in cultivated circles elsewhere in Europe. The guitar was at that time considered more as a folk instrument and did not achieve its dominance and popularity until the vihuela fell from favour.

There was a great deal of music available for the vihuela, and the Spanish influence extended to large parts of south and central Europe. The music was polished in the form of tablature, a notation indicating by numbers the frets to be fingered rather than the note to be sounded. The earliest vihuela book was Luis de Milan's El Maestro. Here we hear examples from two other famous book, One is Alonso Mudarra's Tres libros de música en cifras para vihuela, from which we present both pure vihuela pieces (track 1, and track 5) and intabulated excerpts from other composers, and canciones and villancicos for voice with vihuela accompaniment (track 4). The other book, similar in content, is Luis de Narváez' Los seys libros del Delphin de música de cifras para tañer vihuela, printed in 1538. This book also provides us with the earliest Spanish examples of the variation form. Presented for us here are seven diferencias (tracks 24 and 26) on Guárdame las vacas ("Look after my cows"), a bass and melody pattern commonly used at that time for improvisation and making variations, "diferencias". The name probably derives originally from a folk song.

Music for the viol-like vihuela, vihuela de arco (or violone or viola da gamba) is far less common. When Diego Ortiz, living in Italy and known as "Il Toledano", published his Trattado de glosas sobre cláusulas y otros géneros de puntos en la música de violones (a free translation would be "Treatise on how to execute phrase-ending, glosas or ornaments in music for the viol") in 1553 he could hardly have imagined that this book would become one of the most important sources there is for music historians concerning the practice of instrumental performance during the renaissance. The first part of the book constitutes a manual on how to improvise or make ornamented variations on various "clausulas", or cadences. The second part is a collection of "proper" pieces, and very good ones at that, which Ortiz presents as examples of "ready-ornamented" compositions. On the record we hear several recercadas (it. ricercare, to seek again) from this collection.

16th century Italian music has much in common with Spanish music of the time. Large parts of Italy were under Spanish dominion then, and musicians migrated freely between the countries ruled by Spain. Many Spanish song types reappear under Italian names. The so called frottola collections correspond to the Spanish cancioneros, and vihuela music ha much in common with Italian lot. music. Why Spain preferred the vihuela and guitar while the rest of Europe preferred the lute remains obscure. All these instrumems are probably of Arabic origin. The lute was introduced in Europe in the 13th century by the Arabs, having long existed in the Middle East under the name of al'ûd.

Northern Italy at that time was divided into many city states ruled by one family or dynasty: Milan under the Visconti and the Sforza, Mantua under the Gonzaga, Ferrara under the Este, Florence under the Medici, to name only the most important. These renaissance princes vied with each other in the brilliance of their courts. On the music side it was certainly Ercole d'Este, the duke of Ferrara (who ruled 1471-1501) who maintained Europe's best capelle, but the court which his highly gifted daughter Isabella d'Este gathered about her in Mantua after marrying Francesco Gonzaga in 1490 was a close second. She received musical training in her youth, and could play several instruments. She loved the Italian lute songs and exhorted her composers in Mantua to set Italian poetry to music. With her encouragement and perhaps even assistance composers like Bartolomeo Tromboncino and Marchetto Cara were able to develop their frottole. Frottola (prob. from fructus, fruit, and frocta, bouquet) is in fact a common name for a number of different poetic forms encountered in many Italian poetry and song collections around the end of the 15th century, sometimes referred to as barzeletta, strambotto (cf. above), ode, sonnet, carneval song, etc. Here as in Spain it was the poetic fom which determined the musical structure. Love, requited or otherwise, was the central theme. The manner of performance could vary: sometimes all parts (often four) were sung, or some of the lower parts were intabulated (cf. tabulature above) for lute. The favourite among the Mantua court composers was Marchetto Cara, who was even called upon to accompany his master Franceso Gonzaga to Venice and play for him during a short prison sentence which the latter was obliged to serve there. Eventually Marchetto Cara became a wealthy man and owned several estates in Mantua. Poor Tromboncino was less fortunate; he fell into disfavour in Mantua, possible as a consequence of having murdered his wife and her lover. However, in 1501 he was back in Mantua, and from 1513 was employed at the d'Este court in Ferrara.

All the popular frottole were published Ottaviano Petrucci, a printer of Venice who had been granted exclusive rights for music publishing. He brought out in all eleven collections of frottole, starting from 1504, and they sold like hot cakes! Encouraged by his success with the frottole, Petrucci also published the first volumes of Italian lute music - both Francesco Spinacino's Intabulatura de lauto libro prima e secondo (1507) and Joan Ambrosio Dalza's Intabulatura de lauto libro quarto (1508). In this latter volume we find five so-called tastar de corde (roughly, "string fingerings"), intended to serve as preludes to ricercares (listen to tracks 11 and 6!). A ricercare by Spinacino is to be heard on track 29. Another ricereare is on track 13, but by one of the next generation of lutenists, the Milano school, of which Francesco di Milano (in fact Francesco Canova) must be counted as the leading figure. His music was published in three volumes entitled Intavolatura di liuto libro during 1536-1547, but many of his pieces are to be found in collections from that time.

BODIL ASKETORP (translation Paul Pignon)

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