Martim CODAX. Canciones de amigo | Bernart de VENTADORN. Chansons d'amour
Studio der frühen Musik
LP, 1973:   EMI “Reflexe” 1C 063 30 118
CD, 2000:   EMI “Classics” 8 26486 2

Seite 1

Martim CODAX
Canciones de amigo

1. Ondas do mare de Vigo  [3:11]  ca  I
2. Mandad ei comigo, ca ven meu amigo  [3:16]  ca  II
3. Miña yrmana fremosa, iredes comigo  [2:30]  ca  III
4. Ay Deus! se saborá meu amigo  [5:20]  ca  IV
5. Quantas sabedes amar amigo  [2:00]  ca  VI
6. E no sagrado en Vigo  [4:27]  ca  VI
7. Ay ondas que eu vin veer  [2:45]  ca  VII

2 Singstimmen, Organetto, Laute, Fidel, Flöte, Schlagzeug

Seite 2

Bernart de VENTADORN
Chansons d'amour

8. Ab joi mou lo vers e·l momens  [14:02]
2 Singstimmen, Organetto, Psalterium, Chitarra sarazenica, Rebec, Lira, Schlagzeug

9. Pois preyatz me, senhor  [12:00]
2 Singstimmen, Laute, Lira

Thomas Binkley

Andrea von Ramm, Sängerin, Organetto
Richard Levitt, Sänger, Schlagwerke
Sterling Jones, Vielle und Lira
Thomas Binkley, Flöte, Laute, Chitarra sarracenica, Psalterium

Aufgenommen: 7.-8.V.1972 (Codax)  |  1.-4.V.1973 (Ventadorn)
München, Bürgerbräu

Produzent: Gerd Berg
Tonmeister: Johann-Nikolaus Matthes
Verlag: Manuskript
8 26486 2

Cover-Design: Patelli
Litho: Repro Schmitz KG, Cologne

The Technique of Playing Monophonic Music

The question of performance style warrants some comment, because it is this more than anything else that enables the musician today to come to grips with very early music, and it is an understanding of this that enables the listener to enter critically into this world of art. We are accustomed to expect the musical score to reflect fairly precisely the sound of a performance; even allowing for a bit of improvisation here and there, we expect the general flow of the music to be what is notated in the score. This is essentially true of Western music from about 1300 on, beginning with polyphonic music. It is not true of monophonic music. The secular song of the Troubadours and the Juglares and many others was expressed on paper only in terms of the text and the melody, while its expression in sound was quite something else. Each region, or at least many regions, developed performance styles of their own, which means that the same song was performed differently in different places or under different circumstances. The singing style is one thing that changed from place to place, the sort of improvisation is another, and the choice of accompanying instruments another. Even the very idea behind the performance, whether a spontaneous performance or a carefully arranged show for invited guests, had a significant influence on the resultant sound. What we have here is the sort of thing the professional musicians at a wealthy court in southern France and in northern Spain made of this material. The instrumental prelude tries to attract attention to the performance, establishes the tonality and general asthetic level of the song. The strophes are separated
by interludes which serve as a diversion. The accompaniments are in different styles, now in dialogue with the singer, now providing an acoustical background, now moving with the singer along the same line. The guiding factor in the instrumental work is the playing technique of the instruments involved. Each instrumentalist tries to bring the essence of his instrument into play, to be sure, within the bounds of a chosen style but without subordinating the characteristics of the instrument to Contrapuntal ideology.

Thomas Binkley

Martim Codax

Martim Codax, the early 13th century Galician juglar has left us in his Siete Canciones de Amigo, his Seven Songs of Love, the earliest surviving examples of Iberian secular Music. We know very little about the man, nor do we completely understand how he came to write these songs as a cycle (no other song cycles are known from this period). The setting is the town of Vigo, located on the Atlantic coast of Spain just above the Portuguese border, and well known today for its excellent cuisine of fish and molluscs. In the 13th century, one came to Vigo by way of two routes: one was the Camino de Santiago, the Pilgrim Road, called the ‘Camino Francés’, because it led from France across the whole of the North of Spain (viz. El Camino de Santiago CD 7243 8 26474 2 and CD 7243 8 26475 2). The other route to Vigo was the Sea. Today, ships come from far and wide, loading and unloading goods, bringing and taking away travellers; today, the ‘ondas do mar’, the waves of the sea drifting towards an industrial town no longer suggest a poetic image, no longer contain a mystery of completely unknown qualities. But in the 13th century no ships came from around the world to dock at Vigo, because then the world was flat, and the sea surrounded the only piece of land there was, and the sea led out to a great nothingness beyond, a darkness and emptiness feared by all men. For Martim Codax the sea at Vigo was the end of the world, and it was never certain that who sailed away from that shore would not fall off the edge of the world never to return. That then is the emptiness of this lover who waits by the church on the hill overlooking the sea at Vigo, waiting for his (or her) beloved, not understanding why she (he) does not come.

Bernart de Ventadorn

Bernart de Ventadorn was a troubadour, which we hasten to point out was not really a profession but an activity which was a part of and which reflected a particular life style.Those familiar with France will know the Limousin, but few will know the town of Egletons, which is the closest rail connection to the ruins of the once very impressive castle of Ventadorn. Enviable were those inhabitants of the Languedoc in the 12th century, for life then was cosy in the South of France. The art of the troubadours flourished in the warm sun and gendered a particular cultural ambiance in the courts of the nobility, where love of beauty, of music, of poetry and women were central to the creative and recreative life. We think of the Count of Poitiers, Peire Vidal, of Bertrand de Born, P. de Auvergne, G. de Bornelh, etc. etc. but of the many troubadours and the thousands of poems and songs, they have left us, Bernart de Ventadorn and his five-dozen songs are classic. Only in one attribute is Bernart not typical of his colleagues: he was of low birth, son of an archer and the woman who fired the bake-ovens at the castle of Ventadorn. Yet Bernart came to be accepted into the house of his benefactor, the viscount of Ventadorn, who himself was a singer and poet and may have been Bernart's teacher. The viscount had an attractive wife who — according to the vida — was the cause of some considerable difficulty for herself and for Bernart, but there is not a shread of evidence to support that contention. It is true, to be sure, that Bernart left his comfortable Ventadorn involuntarily, and, practiced in the art of courtly love and courtly poetry, soon found a place at the court of Eleanore of Aquitaine, reina dels Normans, wife (at that time) to Henry II of England. Bernart spent some time in Normandy and then went with the queen to England where he stayed at least for two years. There it was where he wrote Pois preyatz me, senhor... to his distant Asziman, the otherwise nameless object of his earlier attentions. Needless to say, Asziman was not the sole object of Bernart's attentions, but an early and revered one. Bels-Vezers was another (Ab joi mou ...), who some contend was the wife of the Count of Vienne and others say was the wife of Raimon V, Count of Toulouse whose name was Constance. What does it matter who she was. Bernart disguised the names of his loves effectively, even employing the masculine gender on occasion. Bernart de Ventadorn began to write poetry about 1140 and he died before 1194. All of his poems are love poems of a personal nature, of which the two selected here are quite typical.

Thomas Binkley

Vida provençal which precedes his songs in a contempormy manuscript. In our introduction, however, a few corrections of historical points made in this biography were necessary.

Bernartz de Ventedorn si fo de Limozin, del castel de Ventedorn. Hom fo de paubra generation, fills d'un sirver qu'era forniers, q'escaudava lo forn per cozer lo pan del castel de Ventedorn.
E venc bels hom et adreitz, e saup ben trobar e cantar, et era cortes et enseignatz. E·l vescoms de Ventedorn, lo sieus seigner, s'abellic mout de lui e de son trobar e de son chantar, e fetz li grand' honor. E·l vescoms de Ventedorn si avis moiller bella e gaia e joven e gentil; et abellic se d'en Bernart e de las soas chanssos, et enamoret se de lui et el de lieis, si q'el fetz sos vers e sas chanssos della, de l'amor q'el avis ad ella, e de la valor de la dompna.
Mout duret lonc temps lor amors anz qe·l vescoms, maritz de la dompna, ni las gens s'en aperceubessen. E qan lo vescoms s'en fo aperceubutz, en estraigniet en Bernart de si, e pois fetz la mouler serrar e gardar. Adoncs fetz la dompna dar comjat a'n Bernart, e fetz li dir qe·is partis e·is loignes d'aquella encontrada.
Et el s'en partic et anet s'en a la duqessa de Normandia, q'era joves e de gran valor, e s'entendia mout en pretz et en honor et eis benditz de salauzor.
E plazion li fort li vers e las chanssos d'en Bernartz, don ella lo receup e l'onret e l'acuillic e·l fetz mout grans plazers. Lonc temps estet en la curt de la duquessa, et enamoret se d'ella, e la dompna s'enamoret de lui, don en Bernartz en fetz maintas bonas chanssos.
Mas lo reis Enrics d'Englaterra la pres per moiller, e la trais de Normandia e menet la·n en Englaterra; e'n Bernartz remas adoncs de sai tristz e dolens.
E partir se de Normandia e vent s'en al bon comte Raimon de Toloza, et ester ab lui en sa cort entro qe·l corns mori. E qan lo coms fo mortz, en Bernartz abandonet lo mon e·l trobar e·l chantar e·l solatz del segle e pois se rendet a l'orden de Dalon; e lai el fenic.
E tot so q'ieu vos ai dich de lui, si me comtet e·m dis lo vescoms n'Ebles de Ventedorn, que fo fills de la vescomtessa q'en Bernartz amet tant.
Bernart de Ventadorn was from the Limosin, from the Castel of Ventadorn. He was of poor parents, son of a servant who fired the ovens for baking bread for the Castel of Ventadorn.
He became handsome and adroit, and knew well to compose and to sing, was of good manners and well educated. The Viscomte de Ventadorn, his lord, very much liked him and his composition and his singing, and honored him greatly. The Viscomte de Ventadorn had a wife, pretty and gay and young and gentle, and she liked Bernart and his songs, too, and she became enamoured of him and he of her, and he made verses and songs for her, and of the love he had for her, and of the valor of the lady.
Their love lasted a long time, and then the Viscomte, husband to the lady, as well as the people took notice of it. And when the Viscomte noticed it, he separated Bernart from her, and then had his wife locked up and guarded. Then he made the lady take leave of Bernart and had her tell him to leave for some distant place. And he left and went to the Duchesse of Normandy (Eleanor of Aquitaine) who was young, and of great valor, and who undstood a great deal about personal worth and honor and he spoke well in her praise. And the songs and verses of Bernart pleased her, and she received him, welcomed him, honored him and gave him very much pleasure. For a long time he was at the court of the duchesse, and enamored of her, and the lady enamored of him, and Bernart made many good songs.
But the king Henry of England took his wife and fetched her from Normandy to England, and Bernart remainded there sad and disconsolate. And he left the Normandy and went to the good count Raimon of Toulouse, and was with him at his court until his death. And after he died, Bernart left the world of composing and singing and pleasures and entered the Order of Dalon. And there he ended.
And that which I have told you of him was told to me by the Viscomte Ebles of Ventadorn, who was the son the Viscomtesse whom Bernart loved so much.

ANDREA VON RAMM (Singer) was born in Estonia, and educated in Germany and Italy. She can sing in twelve languages, ancient and modern, and is writing a book about plays, and the art of style in singing: she also gives lectures about modern drama. Andrea is the best-known specialist in early song, and rightly so. She loves parties, makes her own clothes while on tour, and can eat spaghetti faster than her colleagues can eat ice-cream.

STERLING JONES (String instruments) didn't stay long on the North American farm where he was born, of welsh-german parentage. His talent for playing string instruments brought him to Europe: he studied with Nadja Boulanger, among others, in Paris. To learn the scientific background of historical instruments, he went to university in his home country, and published there original editions of old harpsichord music. He enjoys watching the universe through his telescope, and going fordrives in his old 1952 Alvis.

RICHARD LEVITT (Singer) was born in California, and began his artistic career as a young film-actor (in films like “The Hamilton Woman”, “Chatterbox”, “Red Ryder” etc.) and thence progressed to light music. Later, he sang in operas, then as a chorister and solo-improvisor for modern music, and finally a university lecturer. All these factors contribute to the many-sided nature of his ability and his knowledge. In his spare time, Richard is an exceptionally good cook.

THOMAS BINKLEY (Plucked instruments) was born in Ohio, the son of a historian. As a boy, he wanted to become a dancer, but his parents objected. Later, he studied the science of music, became a research assistant, and took part in early attempts at computerised music. He translated a book about psycho-acoustics, and wrote several monographs. In the end, he exchanged the university for the stage. Today, as research scientist and artist at the same time, he is working on performance techniques and stylistic improvisations in music of the Middle Ages. But he would really rather have been a gardener.