Music

Music Monday: Les Pièces de Clavessin 1670

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Jacques Champion de Chambonnières
Image Credit: musimem.com

Three hundred, fifty years ago, Jacques Champion de Chambonnières, a French harpsichordist and dancer, composed Les Pieces de Clavessin de Monsieur de Chambonnieres or Harpsichord Pieces.

Due to lack of manuscript sources, little is known about French harpsichord music of the first half of the 17th century and Chambonnières emerges as the sole, major composer of the time with a large surviving oeuvre (works of art). Some 150 pieces are extant, almost all of them dances. Sixty were published by the composer, himself, in 1670 in two volumes of Les Pièces de Clavessin and the rest are known through some 20 manuscript sources, most of which were discovered only in the mid and late 20th century.

Since the exact course of evolution of the classic French harpsichord style remains a mystery, it is impossible to ascertain the role Chambonnières played in establishing said style. He was obviously influenced by the French lute school, adapting its style brisé to the harpsichord and he may have been among the first to do so. Another important influence was a thorough grounding in counterpoint, probably transmitted from his grandfather Thomas through his father.

Harpsichord Pieces Image Two
Source: imslp.org
Image Credit: Wikipedia

[The] Pièces de Clavecin (published 1670) reflect in style and texture the compositions of the noted lutenist-composer Denis Gaultier and thus emphasize the roots of the early harpsichord style in lute music. The Pièces are highly ornamented, and rich in harmony, and are grouped by key into suites of dances […] and miniature pieces with fanciful titles. There is no thematic relationship between the movements of a single suite, the aim being rather for contrast within a given key. Chambonnières was one of the first to attach tables of ornaments to his works, indicating the manner of performance of the many embellishments so vital to his free-voiced style.

It appears that he had lavish tastes and struggled financially because of it. He lived beyond his means and died in poverty two years after his Harpsichord Pieces.

Additional Reading & Sources:
Jacques Champion de Chambonnières (Britannica)
Jacques Champion, Sieur de Chambonnières (Here of a Sunday Morning Site)
Chambonnières, Jacques Champion, Sieur de (Oxford Music Online)
List of Compositions (Wikipedia)

These are, roughly, two & half hours long, taken together.
The first one has a minute’s worth of spoken French at the beginning.

Song Saturday: Jamie’s Cryin’

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Van Halen Album Image
Image Credit: SoundCloud

“She saw the look in his eyes, and she knew better…”

This Saturday’s playlist submission is Jamie’s Cryin’ by American rock band Van Halen, formed in 1972 in Pasadena, California. The sixth track from their debut album Van Halen, it was released as a single on May 16, 1978 but, it never charted. Credit for songwriting is the whole band and the album peaked at #19 on the Billboard 200 on May 20, 1978 after its February 10 release. It was certified RIAA Diamond (10x Platinum) in sales on August 7, 1996.

After their 2015 North American Tour, they appear to be on indefinite hiatus. Eddie Van Halen has had some serious health problems.

American rapper Tone Lōc used the opening tom-tom and bass riff from this song on his 1989 hit Wild Thing and wound up settling out of court with Van Halen. He and Eddie Van Halen crossed paths some time afterwards and it wasn’t friendly.

I was in sixth grade when this song came out and I had no clue. I was all into disco back then. I didn’t know who they were until Dance the Night Away came out the following year. I didn’t buy an album of theirs until Diver Down. I have never been to a concert. ~Vic

Tone Lōc Talks About Debut Album & Eddie Van Halen (Billboard January 25, 2019)
America’s Songs III: Rock! Rock! (Google Books)
Van-Halen (Official Site)
Van Halen News Desk (Unofficial Site)
Gene Simmons Talks Lost Seventies Van Halen Demos (Rolling Stone March 22, 2016)
Eddie Van Halen’s Wife’s Positivity (Survivor Net September 8, 2020)

Lyrics

Tune Tuesday: I Will Always Give Thanks 1665

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John Blow Image One
Artist: Robert White (Engraver)
18th Century
Collection: National Library of France
Source: Gallica Digital Library
Photo Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Three hundred, fifty-five years ago, John Blow, an English Baroque organist, composed the “club anthemI Will Always Give Thanks, collaborating with Pelham Humfrey and William Turner. There is not a lot written about this song but, there are two suggestions of it either being an honoring of the victory over the Dutch in 1665 or a simple commemoration of the three men working together.

In late 1668, Blow was appointed to Westminster Abbey as its organist and three of his students were William Croft, Jeremiah Clarke and Henry Purcell. In 1685, he became the private musician to King James II. He was the choir-master at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1687 and became Composer to the Chapel Royal in 1699.

As a side note, 1665 was a bad year. Sounds familiar. ~Vic

Additional Reading & Sources:
Choral Evensong/John Blow Death Anniversary (BBC October 1, 2008)
John Blow Biography (encyclopedia.com)
Tales for Our Time (Mark Steyn Online)
John Blow Anthems (The Gramophone Newsletter Site)
John Blow Commemoration (Westminster Abbey Site)
A Journal of the Plague Year (Wikipedia)
Battle of Lowestoft (Wikipedia)
Great Plague of London (Wikipedia)

Song Saturday: Ice (Sarah McLachlan)

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Sarah McLachlan Image
Photo Credit: Diana Sharpton

“The only comfort is the moving of the river…”

Saturday night’s playlist submission is Ice by Sarah McLachlan. The 8th track from her album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, it was never released as a single so, there is no chart information. Sarah was already a star in her native Canada but, this album was her breakthrough in the US, exploding on the scene when her first track, Possession was released. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1968, she was playing music, early, starting with a ukulele at age four. In high school, she was the singer for the short-lived band The October Game and, after finishing a year in college, signed a recording contract with Nettwerk without having written a single song.

This is another album/CD I have worn out. I can remember when Possession showed up on the radio and I first heard it. I was driving home from work and immediately went looking for her album. Her music has been used in many television shows and I remember her being on Charmed. Notable movies using her songs are City of Angels, Message in a Bottle, The Brave One and Four Christmases.

Sarah McLachlan (Official Website)
Sarah McLachlan Online (Fan Site)

Lyrics

Song Sunday: Hands Tied

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Scandal Image
Photo Credit: last.fm

“She may be one good reason to leave but, I’m a hundred reasons to stay…”

This Sunday’s playlist submission is Hands Tied by American pop rock band Scandal, formed in 1981 in New York City by guitarist Zack Smith…and not to be confused with the Japanese band or the Australian band. Written by Holly Knight and Mike Chapman, it was the third track from the album Warrior (featuring Patty Smyth). I can’t find a release date but, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 on October 20, 1984, and peaked at #41 on December 1st. It also peaked at #21 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks on the same day.

This album was the very first CD I ever owned. It was a gift and, up until that point, I only had vinyl, 45s and cassettes. I wore this one out, too. The band called it quits in 1985 but, reformed in 2004 and are still active. The song Love’s Got A Line On You from their debut EP Scandal was on the soundtrack to the 1983 movie Easy Money and Smyth was a solo artist on soundtracks for Caddyshack II & Armageddon. Other songs have appeared in additional movies and TV.

Patty Smyth & Scandal (Official Site)

Lyrics

Music Monday: Libro Quarto d’intavolatura di Chitarrone 1640

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Kapsberger Image One
Image Credit: cuerdaspulsadas.es

Three hundred, eighty years ago, the Libro quarto d’intavolatura di chitarrone (Fourth Book of Chitarrone Tablature) was published. Composed by Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger (Johannes Hieronymus Kapsberger), a highly skilled GermanItalian early-Baroque musician, it consists of 12 toccatas, 16 preludes, 10 passacaglias, 5 chaconnes, along with other pieces including variations, canzonas & dances. Kapsberger was known for lute & theorbo (chitarrone) mastery. He was in the service of Cardinal Francesco Barberini by 1624, working along side Girolamo Frescobaldi and Stefano Landi, as well as the future Pope Clement IX.

Kapsberger Image Two
Image Credit: last.fm

Some of his contemporaries, including Landi, criticized Kapsberger’s composing skill. Due to his unusual rhythmic groupings, sharp contrasts and non-conforming to the rules of counterpoint, it was suggested that he was an inferior composer. A current lutenist, Rolf Lislevand commented in liner notes in 1993:

“Kapsberger was as bad a composer as he was a fine instrumentalist […]. The ideas are often badly developed and are freely associated with one another […]. [N]o real musical discourse is built up […] the rhythm, even after serious efforts at fathoming it, wavers between inspired cleverness and total confusion.

Despite the above complaints, Kapsberger greatly contributed towards advancing European plucked string instruments of the time. At least six collections were published during his lifetime, two of which are currently lost.

There is very little else written about this specific composition. ~Vic

Additional Reading & Sources:
Kapsberger: Interview with Anne Marie Dragosits (Cuervas Pulsadas or Pulsed Ravens Website)
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (Wikipedia)

Tune Tuesday: Fiori Musicali 1635

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Fiori Musicali Image One
Image Credit: meantone.altervista.org
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Coming to 1635…

Fiori musicali (Musical Flowers) is a collection of liturgical organ music by Girolamo Frescobaldi, first published in 1635. It contains three organ masses and two secular capriccios. Generally acknowledged as one of Frescobaldi’s best works, Fiori Musicali influenced composers during at least two centuries. Johann Sebastian Bach was among its admirers and parts of it were included in the celebrated Gradus ad Parnassum, a highly influential 1725 treatise by Johann Joseph Fux which was in use even in the 19th century.

Fiori Musicali was first published in Venice in 1635, when Frescobaldi was working as [the] organist of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, under the patronage of Pope Urban VIII and his nephew Cardinal Francesco Barberini. It may have been conceived as music for St. Mark’s Basilica or a similarly important church. The collection was printed by Giacomo Vincenti (a celebrated publisher who had previously published reprints of Frescobaldi’s capriccios) and dedicated to Cardinal Antonio Barberini, Francesco‘s younger brother.

The full title of Frescobaldi’s work is Fiori musicali di diverse compositioni, toccate, kyrie, canzoni, capricci, e recercari, in partitura. Before Fiori musicali, Frescobaldi seldom published liturgical music. The organ mass was still in its infancy and composers seldom published such music. [It] is one of the most influential collections of music in European history. Frescobaldi’s collection was studied by Henry Purcell and Johann Sebastian Bach (the latter copied the entire work for his own use).

Additional Reading:
Fiori-Musicali (Britannica)
Structure (Wikipedia)

Toccata avanti la Messa della Dominica (before the mass)

Kyrie della Domenica

The Full Collection

Independence Day 2020

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As far as I am concerned, there is nothing to celebrate. I wake up everyday hoping the worldwide madness has ended. Nope. Same shit, different day. I await the latest Walking Dead episodes (whenever they resume) with the zombies wearing masks. Oh. Look. Art imitates life… *sigh*

I am posting a favorite song of mine, appropriate for the day, from a powerful voice. I sincerely hope that there will be a day of reckoning for what has been done. ~Vic

“Let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
Let the whole world know that today, is a day of reckoning
Let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
Roll the stone away, let the guilty pay, it’s Independence Day”

Song Saturday: Gates of the Country

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Black Lab 1998 Image
Photo Credit: Paul Durham (the blond)
June 1998
Wikipedia

“Somehow I see, there are ships in her eyes…”

This Saturday’s playlist submission was never released as a single and it never charted…anywhere. It’s the last track, number 12, on the original 1997 debut release of Your Body Above Me by Black Lab. An alternative rock band founded in San Franciso, CA, in 1995 by Paul Durham, the band’s name is an amalgam of band names Black Sabbath and Stereolab. The album did have two hits, one of which peaked at #6 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

There is not a bad song on this album and I nearly wore out my CD. I took notice of them when an alternative rock station showcased their first track (the #6 hit). I love Paul Durham‘s voice and, the band has had many songs used in movies and television, most notably Spider-Man (2002), Blade: Trinity and Transformers.

Black Lab World (Official Site)
Paul Durham (Official Site)

Lyrics

Tune Tuesday: The Ballad of Chevy Chase 1620s

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Chevy Chase Image One
Earl Percy Hunting in Chevy Chase
Author: John Frederick Tayler
Image Credit: All Posters & Wikimedia

Jumping into the 1620s…

[The English ballad], The Ballad of Chevy Chase, [tells] the story of a large hunting party upon a parcel of hunting land (or chase) in the Cheviot Hills (a range of rolling hills straddling the Anglo-Scottish border between Northumberland and the Scottish Borders), hence the term, Chevy Chase. The hunt is led by Percy, the English Earl of Northumberland. The Scottish Earl Douglas had forbidden this hunt and interpreted it as an invasion of Scotland. In response, he attacked, causing a bloody battle [where] only 110 people survived.

There are two extant ballads […], both of which narrate the same story. As ballads existed within oral tradition[s] before being written down, other versions of this once popular song also may have existed. Moreover, other ballads used its tune without necessarily referring to [this particular ballad].

This ballad was entered in the Stationers’ Register in 1624. The title is alternatively spelled Chevy Chace. The ballad is generally thought to describe the Battle of Otterburn. Some of the verses correspond to that battle but, not all. The Battle of Otterburn took place in 1388. At that [b]attle, Henry Percy (Hotspur) was captured, not killed. He was killed in 1403 in an uprising against Henry IV.

The Ballad
The death of Earl Douglas
Author: John Frederick Tayler
Image Credit: All Posters & Wikimedia

[A]nother possibility [was] border warfare between a Percy and a Douglas in 1435 or 1436. Henry Percy of Northumberland made a raid into Scotland with 4,000 men. He was met by William Douglas, Earl of Angus at Piperden. There were great losses on each side but, the Scots prevailed.

Over time, and the various evolutions of the ballad, events and personages have gotten confused.

Additional Reading & Sources:
The Naming of Chevy Chase (Chevy Chase Historical Society)
Chevy Chase (Contemplations From the Marianas Trench)
Battle of Chevy Chase (Douglas History UK)
The Battle of Chevy Chase (Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature)
Who or What is Chevy Chase? (The Straight Dope)
Battle of Otterburn (Wikipedia)
The Ballad of Chevy Chase (Wikipedia)

Lyrics

The Ballad of Chevy Chase (A Cappella)

The Battle of Otterburn Ballad

Song Sunday: Fade Into You

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Mazzy Star Image
Image Credit: jammytoast.com

“I think it’s strange you never knew…”

Sunday evening’s playlist submission is Fade Into You by alternative band Mazzy Star. Released April 12, 1994, it is the first track on the album So Tonight That I Might See. Written by Hope Sandoval and David Roback, it was a surprise hit, peaking at #44 on Billboard’s Hot 100, #19 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, #3 on the Modern Rock Tracks (Alternative Songs, now) chart and #48 on the UK Singles chart. It was Mazzy Star‘s only single to make to make the Billboard Hot 100. It has been used, frequently, in movies, most notably Starship Troopers, Lord of War, Burlesque and Thank You For Your Service plus several TV shows.

I’d never heard of Mazzy Star or heard this song when it originally came out. I am late to the party finding this, just discovering them a few years ago. Sadly, David Roback passed away February 24, 2020, from cancer.

Lyrics

MTV Version

Monochrome Version

Music Monday: Now Is The Month of Maying 1595

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Thomas Morley Image One
Image Credit: All Poetry

Stepping backwards a bit, I stumbled across something prior to 1600…

Thomas Morley was an English composer, theorist, singer and organist of the Renaissance. He was one of the foremost members of the English Madrigal School. Living in London at the same time as Shakespeare, Morley was the most famous composer of secular music in Elizabethan England. [He] was active in church music as a singer, composer and organist at St Paul’s Cathedral [and] was involved in music publishing. [He] lived for a time in the same parish as Shakespeare and, a connection between the two has been long speculated but, never proven. In addition to his madrigals, [he] wrote instrumental music, including keyboard music […].

Now Is The Month of Maying is one of the most famous of the English ballets […]. It is based on the canzonet So Ben Mi Chi Ha Bon Tempo used by Orazio Vecchi […]. It was printed in […] Morley’s First Book of Ballets to Five Voyces [in] 1595. The song delights in bawdy double-entendre. It is, apparently, about spring dancing but, this is a metaphor for making love/sex. For example, a barley-break would have suggested outdoor sexual activity (rather like […] a roll in the hay). The use of such imagery and puns increased during the Renaissance.

It was also heard in 1964 on The Andy Griffith Show episode The Song Festers.

Now Is The Month of Maying Image Two
Image Credit: sheetmusicdirect.com & amazon.com

Lyrics:
Now is the month of maying,
When merry lads are playing,
Fa la la la la la la la la,
Fa la la, etc…
Each with his bonny lass
Upon the greeny grass.
Fa la la, etc…

The Spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter’s sadness,
Fa la la, etc…
And to the bagpipe’s sound
The nymphs tread out their ground.
Fa la la, etc…

Fie then! Why sit we musing,
Youth’s sweet delight refusing?
Fa la la, etc…
Say, dainty nymphs, and speak,
Shall we play barley break?
Fa la la, etc…

Additional Reading & Sources:
Thomas Morley (Britannica)
Thomas Morley (Elizabethan-Era Site)
The Song Festers (IMDB)
Now Is The Month of Maying (Wikipedia)
Thomas Morley (Wikipedia)

Barney’s Voice Lessons

Song Saturday: Early Warning

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Baby Animals Early Warning UK Image One
Image Credit: eil.com

“Too young to know, too old to listen…”

Saturday evening’s playlist submission is Early Warning by Australian band Baby Animals. The second track from their debut album Baby Animals, it was released on April 21, 1991, as their debut single. Written by Suze DeMarchi, Dave Leslie and Eddie Parise, the song was nominated for Single of the Year and Song of the Year in 1992 by the Australian Recording Industry Association. The album was awarded Album of the Year at The Arias Awards.

I discovered this band when their third track Painless was released in the US in November 1991. Suze’s voice is stunning and powerful and, her band is as hard rocking as any from Downunder. I bought the CD and there’s not a bad song on it. It deserved Album of the Year. They broke up in 1996 but, reformed in 2007. They continue to perform and record.

Baby Animals Channel From 1992

MTV’s Video From 1991

Tune Tuesday: Flow, My Tears 1600

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Flow My Tears Dowland Image One
Image Credit: youtube.com

Four hundred, twenty years ago, Renaissance composer, lutenist and singer John Dowland (a contemporary of William Shakespeare) publishes his Second Book of Songs in London. There were 22 song titles in the book and the most well known of these is Flow, My Tears. Written as an aria and for a lute, its style and form is based on a pavane, a slow, couple-dance common in the 16th century. It’s original 1596 title was Lachrimae Pavane (literally “tears dance”) and Dowland added lyrics later.

This is Dowland’s most famous aria and he would, occasionally, sign his name as Jo. Dolandi de Lachrimae (literally, “John of the Tears“)

Lines 8 thru 10 are quoted in Philip K. Dick‘s book Flow, My Tears, the Policeman Said, a science fiction novel set in a dystopian future. The book’s title is a direct reference to Dowland’s piece.

Additional Reading & Sources:
John Dowland (Edition HH Music Publishers)
John Dowland Part I (Millenium of Music)
John Dowland Biography (Study Website)
Lachrimae: Continental Context (University of London Goldsmiths)
Flow, My Tears (Wikipedia)
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said (Wikipedia)

Philip K Dick Book Image Two
Image Credit: Doubleday
Philip K. Dick 1974
First Edition Hardcover
wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

Lyrics:
Flow, my tears, fall from your springs!
Exiled for ever, let me mourn;
Where night’s black bird her sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorn.

Down vain lights, shine you no more!
No nights are dark enough for those
That in despair their last fortunes deplore.
Light doth but shame disclose.

Never may my woes be relieved,
Since pity is fled;
And tears and sighs and groans my weary days, my weary days
Of all joys have deprived.

From the highest spire of contentment
My fortune is thrown;
And fear and grief and pain for my deserts, for my deserts
Are my hopes, since hope is gone.

Hark! you shadows that in darkness dwell,
Learn to contemn light
Happy, happy they that in hell
Feel not the world’s despite.

Song Sunday: Desperate But Not Serious

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Adam Ant Image One
Image Credit: lettiemusic.wordpress.com

“If you don’t stop, you will go blind…”

Rolling down the Samsung playlist for a Sunday evening submission, we come to Adam Ant or, Stuart Leslie Goddard and Desperate But Not Serious. The fourth track from the album Friend or Foe, it was co-written by Goddard and Marco Pirroni and, released November 19, 1982, the third single from his solo debut. This is the album that brought us Goody Two Shoes that went to number #1 in Australia and the UK. Desperate didn’t fare as well peaking at #33 in the UK and #66 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

I bought the album as a cassette and nearly wore it out. This is what I term as eclectic music. It’s different, it’s catchy, Goddard has a crazy voice that he plays to the hilt and the writing is very coy and, tongue-in-cheek. He will be at The Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, April 28, 2021. I’ve been to that venue many times. I would love to see him there.

I hope you enjoy