CD edition, 1990
1. Ecco la primavera! [2:41] Francesco LANDINI
2. Tre Majvisor [6:24] Neithart von REUENTHAL
– Meie, dîn Liehter schin (1:55)
– Der may hat menig hereze (2:43)
– Mayenzît Âne nît (1:46)
3. Der winter will hin weichen [1:56] Lochamer Liederbuch
4. Der winter will hin weichen [1:06] Buxheimer Orgelbuch
5. Die Katzenpfote [1:07] Glogauer Liederbuch
6. Der May [2:49] Oswald von WOLKENSTEIN
cf. Jean VAILLANT, Pour moutes fois
7. El mois de Mai~De se debent~KYRIE [2:07] 13th century
8. Die best Zeite [2:08] Melchior VULPIUS. Lyrics: Martin Luther
9. Browning fantasy [2:16] Clement WOODCOCK
(The Leaves be Greene)
10. Now is the Gentle Season [1:26] Thomas MORLEY
1. Der summer [1:54] Lochamer Liederbuch
2. Laub, Gras und Blüt [1:44] Ludwig SENFL
3. Der sonnen Glanz [1:17] Glogauer Liederbuch
4. The Fall of the Leafe [1:29] Martin PEERSON
Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
5. Der Wald hast sich entlaubet [1:36] Lochamer Liederbuch
6. Fyra sättningar av Entlaubet ist der Walde [4:48]
– Hans HEUGEL [1:00] instrumental
– Thomas STOLZER [1:11]
– anonymous [1:05] instrumental
– Ludwig SENFL [1:32]
7. Pase et medio [2:11] Hert herde musyck boexhen
8. Winder, dîniu meil [1:34] Neidhart von REUENTHAL
9. Der Winter ist ein strenger gast [1:05] Michael PRAETORIUS
10. E la don don, verges Maria [3:17] Cancionero de Upsala
[De Fyra Årstiderna, BIS LP-75, Side A] :
1. Ecco la primavera [2:36] Francesco LANDINI (ca. 1325-1397) — arr. Sven Berger
2. Three May Songs [6:20] Neithart von REUENTHAL (ca. 1180-ca. 1245)
– Meie, dîn Liehter schin [1:53]
– Der may hat menig hereze [2:42]
– Mayenzît Âne nît [1:45]
3. Der winter will hin weichen [1:45] anonymous, Lochamer Liederbuch, ca. 1450s
4. Der winter will hin weichen [1:01] anonymous, Buxheimer Orgelbuch, ca. 1460
Instrumental version; edited by Per Åberg
5. Die Katzenpfote [1:00] anonymous, Glogauer Liederbuch, ca. 1480
6. Der May [2:45] Oswald von WOLKENSTEIN (ca. 1377-1445)
cf. Jean VAILLANT, Pour moutes fois
7. El mois de Mai~De se debent~KYRIE [2:01] anonymous, 13th century
8. Die best Zeite [1:58] Melchior VULPIUS (ca. 1560-1615)
Lyrics: Martin Luther
9. Browning fantasy [2:09] Clement WOODCOCK (ca. 1600)
(The Leaves be Greene)
10. Now is the Gentle Season [1:19] Thomas MORLEY 1557-ca. 1603)
[De Fyra Årstiderna, BIS LP-75, Side B] :
11. Der summer [1:48] Lochamer Liederbuch. ca. 1450
12. Laub, Gras und Blüt [1:39] Ludwig SENFL (ca. 1489-ca. 1543)
13. Der sonnen Glanz [1:11] Glogauer Liederbuch, ca. 1480
14. The Fall of the Leafe [1:21] Martin PEERSON (ca. 1572-ca. 1650)
Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
15. Der Wald hast sich entlaubet [1:30] Lochamer Liederbuch, ca. 1450
16. Four Arrangements of Entlaubet ist der Walde [4:39]
– Hans HEUGEL [0:56] printed in 1535 · instrumental
– Thomas STOLZER (ca. 1480-1526) [1:08] printed in 1536
– anonymous [1:03] printed in 1545 · instrumental
– Ludwig SENFL (ca. 1489-ca. 1543) [1:26] printed in 1544
17. Pase et medio [2:07] Hert herde musyck boexhen, Antwerp 1551
18. Winder, dîniu meil [1:27] Neidhart von REUENTHAL (ca. 1180-ca. 1245)
19. Der Winter ist ein strenger gast [0:59] Michael PRAETORIUS (1571-1621)
20. E la don don, verges Maria [3:11] Cancionero de Upsala, Venice, ca. 1550
[Cantigas/Cantiones, BIS LP-225] :
Cantigas de Santa Maria
21. Par Deus [2:45] CSM 282
22. Nas mentes senpre tẽer [2:36] CSM 29
23. Saltarello [1:25] Italy, 16th century
Cancionero de Upsala, Venice, ca. 1550
24. Si la noche [2:58]
25. No so yo [1:23]
26. Verbum caro factum est [1:08]
27. La Spagna [1:11] anonymous, 1500
Cancionero de Upsala, Venice, ca. 1550
28. Yo me soy la morenica [2:01]
29. Gozate, virgen sagrada [2:47]
30. Alta Reyna soberana [1:32]
31. Rey aquien [2:05]
Cantigas de Santa Maria
32. Rosa das rosas [2:06] CSM 10
Joculatores Upsalienses (Upsala Jesters) are a group of musicians
devoted to bringing to life music of the past — primarily from the 13th
to the beginning of the 17th centuries. Their repertoire consists of
both sacred music and secular songs, dance music etc., sung and played
on more or less exotic sounding instruments of old design. The group
started in 1965 as a pure spare-time venture, but soon became engaged in
public performances and has appeared with increasing frequency in
concerts and on both international and domestic radio and television. By
virtue of their free-wheeling, captivating style, the Joculatores and
their music have become known and appreciated by people from all walks
of life. Over the years the number and nature of the group has changed,
but of its five founder members, four are still active. Several are
music teachers, but there is an astronomer, a librarian, a computer
specialist, a chemist, one museum director and even a musician (!), all
joined by their enthusiasm for old music. Joculatores Upsalienses appear
on three BIS compact discs: BIS-CD-3, BIS-CD-75 and BIS-CD-120.
Heard on this recording are: Jan-Ewert Andersson, Rolf Berger, Sven Berger, John Björklund, Anders Bragsjö, Annika Eliasson-Frick, Eva Ericsson, Kjell Frisk, Catherine Grönberg, Christina Högman, Jan Johansson, Lisbeth Kallaes, Jan Kling, Cecilia Peijel, Henry Ragnarsson, Thomas Rolfner, Christer Söderbäck, Georg Thöinners, Lars Wiberg, Per Åberg.
Recording data: 26.9, 16.10, 19.12 – 1976 and
(Tracks 21-32) 5-7.11.1982 at Wik's Castle (Wiks Slott), Sweden
Recording engineer: Robert von Bahr
2 Sennheiser MKH105 microphones, Revox A-77 tape recorder, 15 i.p.s., Scotch 206 and Agfa PEM468 tape, no Dolby
Producer: Robert von Bahr
Tape editing: Robert von Bahr
CD transfer: Siegbert Ernst
Cover text: Sven Berger (Tracks 21-32: Anders Bragsjö)
English translation: William Jewson, Cary Karp, Rajesh Kumar, John Skinner
Front cover: Illustrations from Historia de Gentibus Septentrionalibus by Olaus Magnus, Rome 1555, selected by Per Åberg
Instrument drawings: mostly from Michael Praetorius' Syntagma Musicum, Volume II, De Organographia, Wolfenbüttel 1619-20; additional drawings by Per Adrielsson and Sven Berger.
Type setting: Andrew Barnett
Lay-out: Andrew & Kyllikki Barnett
Printing: Hartung, Hamburg, West Germany 1990
© & ℗ 1976, 1982 & 1990, Grammofon AB BIS, Djursholm
Bombards: Hanchet, Körber, Moeck
Fiddles: Anonymous, Gummesson, Sandell
Flute: Anonymous (Canton, China)
Jew's Harp: Schwarz
Percussion: Anonymous, partly from Turkey and India
Portative organ: Tijhuis
Rauschpfeife: Moeck, Steinkopf
Recorders: Bärenreiter, Coelsma, Küng, Fehr
Trombones: Finke, Meinl & Lauber, Monke
Viola da gamba: Sämann
Short Glossary of Medieval and Renaissance Instruments
The music on this CD dates from a period extending from about A.D. 1200
to the beginning of the 17th century — that is, from the Middle Ages
through the Renaissance to the early Baroque. It is a motley posy of
short pieces, the texts of which deal mostly with love — in both sorrow
and joy — while the music varies in character from the lone voice of the
minnesinger to the rich ensemble singing of about 1600. Since early
composers provided hardly any directions for instrumentation and left
the execution of their music to the discretion of the performers, the
Joculatores are today happy to make use of this liberty, thus adding to
the wealth of interpretations. On account of the various types of
secondary sources used, the accompanying song texts suffer from some
inconsistency in language and spelling. There are also bound to be
shortcomings in the archaized pronunciation of the old texts.
1. Francesco Landini (c.1525-1597): Ecco la primavera
(arr. Sven Berger)
"Behold the spring!" — a jubilant celebration of spring by Franciscus Caecus, the blind poet and musician from 14th century Florence who has handed down more than 150 songs (ballads, caccias and madrigals). This two-part ballad has been embellished in places with extra parts quasi improvisando, by turns high and low. In addition to the voices we hear sackbut, recorder, fiddles, bells, lutes, bombards, cornett and percussion.
2. Neithart von Reuenthal (c.1180-c.1245): Three May Songs
A suite of three of the best-known May songs by the Bavarian minnesinger. In the first (arranged by Sven Berger), possibly written by an admirer of Neithart ("Pseudo-Neithart") the joys of spring are contrasted with the poet's unrequited love and serve thus to heighten the bitter-sweet torment. In the other two songs, only the first verse of each is performed; these deal only with the healing and renewing powers of spring. The strongly pentatonic tunes and the timbres employed — voices with Chinese flute, Jew's harp, lute, harp, fiddle, recorder, bombard and percussion — create a flavour of the Far East.
3. Anonymous (1450s): Der winter will hin weichen
This three-part song from the so-called Lochamer Liederbuch expresses the hope that in the same way as the overlong winter will end, so may the coolness of the desired one give way to warmer feelings. Two fiddles (discant and contratenor) bound the singer's melodic line (tenor). In the third stanza, the singer suddenly takes to the krumhorn, since only the first two lines are extant.
4. Anonymous (c.1460): Der winter will hin weichen
(Instrumental version; edited by Per Åberg)
This arrangement for portative organ (discant), sackbut (tenor) and lute (contratenor) is based on an organ tablature in the Munich manuscript Buxheimer Orgelbuch, containing no less than 122 arrangements of songs. The melody is recognizable in the tenor, though it is much slower here than in the sung version so as to accommodate the intricate ornamentation in the descant.
5. Anonymous (c.1480): Die Katzenpfote
Dy katczen pfothe, "the cat's paw", is one of several pieces in the Glogauer Liederbuch which have titles showing a connection with the animal kingdom (Der fochß schwantcz, Der kranch schnabil, Der ratten schwantcz etc.). The three parts, played here on krumhorns a fifth lower than notated, maintain a very simple rhythm in the homophonic introduction but soon progress into a polyphonic movement with very independent rhythmic patterns contrasted with each other. Finally, as befits a cat, it lands after all the leaps on its paws.
6. Oswald von Wolkenstein (c.1377-1445): Der May
In this May song, performed by voice and lute, "the last minnesinger" praises spring's delights and imitates, among other things, the calls of various birds (lark, thrush, nightingale, cuckoo, raven etc.). The composition is not really Oswald's own — he has taken the virelai "Per moutes fois" from the late 14th century by the Parisian, Jean Vaillant. This version omits the dance form's da capo.
7. Anonymous (13th century): El mois de mai — De se debent — Kyrie
A three-part isorhythmic motet. The succession of notes (color) in the tenor part — from a Kyrie of the Gregorian tradition — is here reorganized into a constantly repeated rhythmic pattern (talea). It thereby forms a restrained yet firm base for the rest of the musical structure. It is entirely instrumental (fiddle, lute in parallel fifths, sackbut and bells). The sung duplum part has a Latin text which seems to be a censure of clerical loose-living. The text is written in goliardic verse. The Goliards (vagantes) were students and clerks of minor religious orders who wandered round Western Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries. The highest part, triplum, is a song in French about spring and love in the style of the trouvères. (A motet of this kind could have been written in stages — possibly by different composers — which the present version, first two-part, then three-part, illustrates.)
8. Melchior Vulpius (c.1560-1615): Die beste Zeit
Vulpius, the Evangelical cantor from Weimar, set this beautiful four-part arrangement (1604) to a text by Martin Luther. This song praises the singing of the birds, particularly that of the nightingale, in the month of May and ends in a thanksgiving to the Creator for all his glory. The four singers are supported by a continuo of lute and bass viol. In the background can be heard a recorder and a second lute playing trills and other ornaments.
9. Clement Woodcock (c.1600): Browning Fantasy
The Leaves be Greene seems to have been a popular melody in Elizabethan England in view of the numerous arrangements made by different composers. The choice of fiddle, lute, recorder, sackbut and curtal in this five-part arrangement gives it a heterogeneous tone colour. This instrumental combination is not quite typical of the period, but it does justice to the polyphonic texture of the piece and provides variations of timbre to the melody which wanders from voice to voice.
10. Thomas Morley (1557-c.1603): Now is the gentle season
A four-part madrigal by one of the greatest of Elizabethan composers. The text tells about the joys of the merry month of May. This piece, performed by four singers a cappella, is in fact but the first of two sections of a madrigal from the collection Madrigals a 4 from 1594.
11. Anonymous (c.1450): Der Summer
This piece, from the Lochamer Liederbuch, was probably composed in stages by at least two different people. It is likely that it originally had a text (in the discant), but that this has since been lost. The piece is therefore performed instrumentally here on the krumhorn, lute, fiddle and recorder, supported rhythmically by small Arabian earthenware drums (naqqara). During the course of three repeats, tenor, discant and contratenor are respectively introduced (the latter probably being the latest part of the composition). At the fourth repeat the fiddle — in the contratenor — is joined by the recorder playing in high parallel fifths, a device similar to that used in registration by modern pop organists but not at all foreign to medieval musicians.
12. Ludwig Senfl (c.1492-1555): Laub, Gras und Blüt
Summer dispels all sorrow and gloom, in the words of this well-known ensemble song. It is really a tenor lied, with the cantus firmus in the third part, but in the present version it has been converted into a descant lied, the melody having been transposed up an octave and turned into the upper part (something to which a number of tenor lieder lend themselves). Two fiddles and a curtal accompany the soprano.
13. Anonymous (c.1480): Der Sonnen Glanz
Der ßonnen glantcz, a sprightly, cheerful three-part piece from the Glogauer Liederbuch is performed by three sonorous wind instruments, cornett (discant), bombard (tenor) and sackbut (contratenor). Presumably this piece also had a text once (in the tenor and/or discant) or was based on a monophonic folk song (tenor?), the words of which have been lost.
14. Martin Peerson (c.1572-1650): The Fall of the Leafe
This tone picture is taken from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, a manuscript collection of music, which contains 297 keyboard arrangements dated between the years 1562 and 1612. Peerson's Autumn Leaves was probably composed at the beginning of the 17th century. These variations on the virginal depict the wild whirling of the dead leaf before it comes to rest.
15. Anonymous (c.1450): Der Wald hat sich entlaubet
This song, taken from the Lochamer Liederbuch, gives us — against a desolate background of bare autumn trees — a fleeting glimpse of love thwarted by evil, gossiping tongues. The first stanza is performed by two voices — sung tenor, and contratenor played on the fiddle. In the second stanza, the discant part is played by a lute. The song also comprises other stanzas in addition to the two performed here.
16. Four arrangements of Entlaubet ist der Walde
16/1. Hans Heugel, printed in 1535
16/2. Thomas Stolzer (c.1480-1526), printed in 1536
16/3. Anonymous, printed in 1545
16/4. Ludwig Senfl (c.1492-1555), printed in 1544
This song, on a similar theme to the preceding one (bare trees and the distressful parting of the lovers), seems to have inspired many composers at the beginning of the 16th century. Of the four arrangements chosen, the third is two-part while the other three are four-part tenor lieder, that is having the cantus firmus in the third voice. In the concluding version, Senfl has made the bass a perfect canon at the fifth below, partly anticipating and partly imitating the melody in the tenor. The four pieces are either performed instrumentally or by various instruments (recorder, lute, sackbut, curtal) accompanying one or two singers.
17. Anonymous (1551): Pase et medio
The dance book Het derde musyck boexken (Antwerp 1551) by Tielman Susato (d.c.1563) — town piper, composer, arranger and musical printer — contains this single passamezzo placed immediately after the pavans in the collection. Contemporaries also regarded the passamezzo as a faster variant of the pavan (attested by, among others, Arbeau in his dance manual Orchésographie, 1585). Passamezzo arrangements generally derived from some simple folk song lending itself to a stereotyped — often gradually descending — bass part and sparse, characteristic changes of harmony which all provided a good basis for improvisatorial variations (comparable with the Baroque passacaglia). In this version, the four parts enter successively — to a muffled drum accompaniment — in the order: highest, lowest, next highest, next lowest, represented respectively by rauschpfeife, curtal, recorder and krumhorn. Particularly noteworthy is the beautiful and independent counter melody of the next highest voice. Finally the piece is played by the whole ensemble with sackbut, two fiddles, two lutes and regal added.
18. Neithart von Reuenthal (c.1180-c.1245): Winder, diniu meil
One of Neithart's winter songs. The poet states that winter has once and for all got the better of summer and that, in spite of all his exertions to win his beloved's favour, her heart remains cold — the usual lot of the minnesinger, to love at a distance, wallowing in tears, perhaps? The singer is accompanied by a hurdy-gurdy, the drones of which add to the wintry desolation.
19. Michael Praetorius (1571-1621): Der Winter ist ein strenger Gast
This winter song may also be concerned with the pangs of love. The pearl necklace mentioned in the first stanza may, in the symbolism of the period, denote tears. The second stanza looks forward to summer and here, at least, we discern a certain optimism. The piece is introduced by four krumhorns; the first stanza is then sung a cappella and finally we hear the second stanza with singers and krumhorns together.
20. Cancionero de Upsala: E la don don, verges Maria
This Christmas carol, with its old Catalan text, describes how the shepherds outside Bethlehem joyfully received news of the Savious's birth. The carol is to be found in the Cancionero de Upsala, a 16th century Spanish manuscript discovered in modern times in the music collection of the Up(p)sala University Library. The carol is performed responsively, a solo singer and drum contra a four-part ensemble consisting of varying combinations of vocal quartet, four bombards, recorder, fiddle, bass viol and two lutes.
21. Cantigas de Santa Maria: Par Deus
The Cantigas de Santa Maria are a collection of popular, sacred songs of a type diligently cultivated at the court of the Castilian king, Alfonso X el Sabio ("the wise" or "diligent"). The songs have striking affinities with Arab culture, both in the verse forms of the texts and in the structure of the melodies — Spain, at this time, was still partly under Moorish occupation. Many of the songs were probably composed by the king himself. This splendid collection of over 400 songs has been preserved to our own day in extensive, magnificently illustrated manuscripts. Par Deus is performed in a completely instrumental version, with an "oriental-sounding" combination of fiddles, long-necked lute (saz), recorder, bombards and percussion.
22. Cantigas de Santa Maria: Nas mentes senpre t~eer
This song describes a remarkable miracle, when the picture of the Virgin appears on the stones of the Garden of Gethsemane. The song has the compelling refrain: "We should always bear the features of the Virgin in our hearts, since they were imprinted on hard stones".
23. Anonymous (Italy, 16th century): Saltarello
The Saltarello was an Italian Renaissance Dance which, as the name suggests, was performed with great leaps, rather like the related gaillard. The saltarello is here performed on two fiddles, tenor bombard (sometimes doubled at the octave by a treble dulcian) and bass crumhorn. As befits a dance, the whole ensemble is supported by percussion.
24. Cancionero de Upsala: Si la noche
"The night is dark, midnight has already passed, and my love comes not. Why comest thou not, my love?" In almost Biblical cadences, reminiscent of the Song of Songs, the woman complains of the lover who has failed to appear. The three voices are supported by two fiddles and a sackbut.
25. Cancionero de Upsala: No so yo
Another song about unhappy love. There are two versions in the Cancionero, one for two voices and one for three. Here, the three-part version is performed by soprano, counter-tenor and lute.
26. Cancionero de Upsala: Verbum caro factum est
"The Word became Flesh so we all shall be saved,", a popular paraphrase of lines from the opening chapter of St. John's Gospel. Two voices and crumhorn quartet.
27. Anonymous (16th century): La Spagna
La Spagna is the name of a fixed melodic sequence, to which 15th and 16th century composers took apparent delight in adding new voices or counter-melodies of varying complexity, to judge by the enormous number of La Spagna compositions in existence (see also: BIS-CD-163). In this version the La Spagna tune is heard in the third voice (sackbut), seconded by a fixed fourth voice (bass dulcian) and otherwise harassed by two whirling descants (fiddles). The percussion tries desperately to keep everything together.
28. Cancionero de Upsala: Yo me soy la morenica
A Moorish Virgin Mary, a "black madonna", portrays herself in Biblical similes: "I am black, but I am fair, I am the rose without a thorn whose praises Solomon sang, I am the bush that burns and yet is not consumed by the fire..." Four voices a cappella.
29. Cancionero de Upsala: Gozate, virgen sagrada
A song of praise to the Holy Virgin, the Blessed One, who by divine grace came to bear God's son. Four voices, three fiddles and bass gamba.
30. Cancionero de Upsala: Alta Reyna soberana
Another paean to the Virgin Mary, the "sovereign Queen of Heaven", our intercessor in Heaven before the Eternal Father. Four voices, two fiddles, bass gamba and percussion.
31. Cancionero de Upsala: Rey aquien
This song praises the new-born King of Heaven, himself adored by kings, he who is the Trinity and yet only one part of the same... High voice, bombards, sackbut, high recorder, lute, fiddles and percussion.
32. Cantigas de Santa Maria: Rosa das rosas
The dividing line between sacred and profane in medieval song can be very vague. Sacred songs may celebrate the Virgin Mary in terms that are close to the idiom of courtly love song. This is evident in this strikingly beautiful cantiga, where the Virgin is compared to the rose of roses, the flower of flowers and the woman among women... The solo voice is accompanied by gemshorn and lute.