Описание CD

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  Исполнитель(и) :
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  Наименование CD :

Год издания : 1982/1987

Компания звукозаписи : EMI

Время звучания : 53:53

Код CD : CDC 7 49002 2

  Комментарий (рецензия) :

CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Sacred Music (Master Works)      

www.hoasm.org/IIIC/DunstableDiscography.html - A Partial John Dunstable Discography

Hilliard Ensemble - Paul Hillier

Recording date: September 1982; re-released: 1987

========= from the cover ==========

The music of John Dunstable respresents one of the high points of English culture. He was not only the leading English composer of the early 15th century, but one of the finest European composers of his time and recognised as such by his contemporaries. But such statements have to be put into context.

England under the reign of Henry V was an expanding force on the European scene, though shortly to contract under the internal strife of the Wars of the Roses, before emerging once again dominant and assertive. The music of the 14th century, broadly referred to as the Ars Nova, was first and foremost French and Italian, typified respectively by Machaut and Landini, English music of the period has survived scantily and often precariously, but it is enough to show a rugged charm of its own. with several features that can be classed, though with all due caution, as English. These features, including a predilection for sonority and the technique of voice-exchange (which is not yet the same as imitation, but rather a kind of melodic antiphony). were fused with the French chanson style and the rhythmic vivacity of the Italians in a major collection of English music known as the Old Hall Manuscript. The most strongly represented composer in this collection is Leonel Power, while John Dunstable's Veni sancte spiritus appears anonymously amongst the later contributions.

The English composers now began to dominate the "avant-garde" of European musical thought. Their music was sought after and survives today mostly in foreign sources - so effective was the destruction of "popish" manuscripts under Henry VIII and, later, the Commonwealth.Dunstable was recognised by Tinctons as the "fount and origin" of the English style - the Contenance Angloise as Martin le Franc described it This English countenance or style was. above all else, a sound: "a new practice of making frisk concordance ... rendering their song joyous and notable" (le Franc). The sound resulted from the use of thirds and sixths in harmony and from a suppleness of rhythm and melody that was newly expressive, and which was taken over by Dufay and Binchois in forming the Burgundian style -which is the real subject of le Franc's poem. It would be unfair to give Dunstable all the credit for the Contenance Angloise - though his pre-eminence is certainly merited - but several other composers also deserve our notice, among them Benet, Bedyngham, Forest, Frye, Plummer. Pyamour and of course Leonel Power. The known facts about Dunstable's life are few and the suppositions that may be inferred from other evidence are not many more. This is of course no reflection upon his stature, for the medieval composer emerges only gradually as a named individual, being essentially an anonymous craftsman in the service of the church. In Dunstable's case the references we do have are either retrospective or pertain to his broader status as a man of science - though again this has to be understood in context. In the Middle Ages, music was regarded as an objective science of universal reference. It was seen to reflect the fixed cosmos in which man lived, and in which aesthetic perfection was desirable as an expression of moral perfection. Education focused upon the classical authors, especially Aristotle, St. Augustine and Boethius, while the Bible was regarded as a repository of tact. Higher education began with a study of the seven liberal arts. First the Triviurn - the subjects of grammar, rhetoric and logic, and then the Quadrivium - the sciences of arithmetic, astronomy, geometry and music. It can be seen that the Trivium was concerned with manners of exposition, while the Quadrivium involved the study of number in different but closely related modes of articulation. From here some students might proceed to the higher, more specialised tacuities of law. medicine and theology. The writings of Boethius (d. 524) had enormous influence throughout the medieval period and in his De Institutione Musica he distinguished three kinds of music: 1. Musica mundana; 2. Musica Humana; 3. Musica quae in quibusdam constituta est mstrumentis. Or; 1. The music of the universe, the music of the spheres, the combining of the four elements {earth, air, fire, water), the balance of the four seasons; 2 Human music, that is the ordering and balance within each man of the corporeal and incorporeal, the tuning of the soul which Aristotle called a joining together of the rational and irrational; 3. Sung music and the music residing in the objects of nature, from which are fashioned instruments of tension, of blowing and of percussion. Boethius then described the different kinds of musician in an ascending hierarchy from the instrumentalist, whom he regarded as a simple craftsman, to the singer whose art, nvolving poetry, is born of instinct rather than reason, to the most developed class, the man who studies and judges the appropriateness of different kinds of music - musica speculative. The composer's task could therefore be described as reflecting the ordered perfection of the universe in musical structures that obeyed the same numerical principles. The importance of number in the medieval world becomes apparent, as does the high moral purpose of musical composition, so that certain rhythms and modes were attributed specific qualities. Boethius refers to Plato's prescription hat boys should not be trained in all modes, but only those which are strong and simple This attitude is by no means peculiar to Western music and if these preoccupations seem obscure we should consider the example of Indian music in which the ragas (scales) are ascribed very specific symbolic meanings, suitable only for certain times of the day and night and seasons of the year. And the Chinese related the tones of the pentatomc scale symbolically to other elements of their culture. The Huang Chung or foundation tone was regarded as representing a sacred eternal principle and the well-being ol the state was dependent on finding the correct foundation tone.

I cannot be sure how the reader will regard such information, but fust as Eastern thought has had a fruitful influence upon the West for at least a hundred years, so the values of our own medieval culture can assume a more contemporary significance. In this way we have learned to enjoy so-called primitive art on its own terms and not as lacking something which the "discovery" of perspective supplied; similarly the music of John Dunstable becomes something more than mere "early music". Together with the study of number grew the more esoteric art of numerology as different numbers acquired symbolic meanings: 3 is a well known reference to the Trinity and amongst the many other examples can be cited 33, the years of Christ; 12, the disciples; 11: marriage; 17, harmonious life; 5, the Pentateuch, the Law of Moses; and 152 (in gnostic gematria). Mary. These significances were further elaborated and combined by the use of triangular and square numbers, factors and proportions, If has been demonstrated that Dunstable's music is full of such numerological organisation and indeed composers throughout history have consciously utilised the mathematics underlying their art. Dufay, Bach and Webern are three important examples and from more recent years, Cage, Xenakis, Stockhausen and Maxwell Davies might be mentioned.

The date of Dunstable's birth is not known, but was probably around 1390. His name appears on an astronomical treatise - "this volume belongs to John Dunstable, musician with the Duke of Bedford" - from which we deduce that he probably accomapnied Bedford (Henry V's brother) to France during his period as Regent of France from 1422 to 1435. Dunstable died in 1453, of this we are informed by an epitaph in the church where he was buried, St. Stephen's, Walbrook in the City of London. Fortunately, although the earlier church was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666, a copy of his epitaph was made, which tells also of his ability to "unfold the secrets of the heavens".

A literary epitaph also exists by John of Wheathampstead, Abbot of St. Alban's, in which Dunstable is compared to three men of classical aptiquity, a musician, a mathematician and an astronomer. He is also referred to in two other manuscripts concerned with astronomy and mathematics. His connection with St. Alban's, suggested by the John of Wheathampstead epitaph, is further strengthened by his motet Albanus roseo rutilat - though whether this was an occasional link or something more permanent we do not know.

Dunstable appears then to have been a man of learning, his studies in the Quadrivium extending beyond the normal preoccupation of composers to a degree that earned the respect of his commemorators. In turn, his music has not only a beauty of sound born of warm sonorities and supple melodic invention, but is firmly built on structural foundations of number and proportion whose primary purpose might be described as the articulation of time.

This is especially so of the isorhythmic motets (that begin and end both sides of this record) and other works where the time-scale is larger than we usually find in medieval music. Isorhythm ("same rhythm") grew from the provision of a cantus firmus that was simply a short fragment of chant repeated. The rhythmic pattern of this fragment - the talea (compare the Indian "tala"). and its melody - the color - might simply be repeated exactly; or the talea might, for example, be repeated twice to one statement of the color or indeed any other proportional variation might be chosen A feature of the late medieval isorhythmic motets, those of Dunstable and Dufay, is an overall sense of acceleration created by the repetition of the talea in diminution, very often in the proportion of 3 :2:1. In a very real sense the rhythm of Dunstable's music is also its form.

The purposeful expressiveness of Dunstable's melodic writing combines with the isorhythmic acceleration just described to form a drive towards the cadence, which our ears could interpret as a pre-echo of functional tonality. Certainly Dunstable's harmony is strongly major in mode, but the relative absence of harmonic tension that has earned this style the description "pan-consonant", diffuses any sense of diatonic striving. It remains a rhythmic excitation, of sound that is harmonically static and which, I would argue, has something in common with Indian music (especially as regards acceleration) and contemporary minimalist music. The essence of mimmalim is process.

"Though I may have the pleasure of discovering musical processes and composing the musical material to run through them, once the process is set up and loaded it runs by itself." - Steve Reich. Of course Dunstable's music uses hidden devices not part of the avowed minimalist ethos, but so closely are our ears still attuned to the diatonic sonata principle, that this parallel with more recent music is well worth drawing. To quote Steve Reich further: "I am interested in music which work's exclusively with gradual changes in time". And - "Obviously music should put all within listening range into a state of ecstasy". Of course, Dunstable's music is not minimalist - it is of its time as much as any other music. It is European music on the brink of the Renaissance, and we can hear it as a step in that very direction. But we should remember that the humanist Renaissance had not yet begun (in music anyway) and that medieval music shares perhaps more qualities with non-western music and aspects of today's new music than it does with the increasing "self-expression" of the Renaissance, and has even less in common with the symphonic music of our concert halls. The medieval approach to word setting is also different. The presence of words and therefore meanings is not given overt response in the music, nor is the declamation of the text necessarily related to that of speech Word and music serve as occasions for and another. Their combined force is emblematic, hieratice ..." seemingly impersonal, but really supra-personal, just as the form of the celebration of Mass is a wider celebration of symbolic movements, gestures, words and pauses. In some instances Dunstable moves closer to the Renaissance -in Quam pulcra es for example, where the text is treated in a more personalised manner. But mostly he remains as if anonymous, like a cathedral architect, or a carver of wooden misericords or limner of manuscripts. His music has an ecstatic quality, but with an underlying sense of repose, a stillness full of moving notes and sustained, slowly shifting harmonies. It seems to fulfil an eloquent desctrption, related by a teacher of Indian music to John Cage, of the function of music, which is: "to sober and quiet the mind, thus rendering is susceptible to divine influences".

-Paul Hiilier

  Соисполнители :

Ashley Stafford (Countertenor Voice)
David James (Countertenor Voice)
Leigh Nixon (Tenor Voice)
Michael George (Bass Voice)
Paul Elliott (Tenor Voice)
Paul Hillier (Baritone Voice)
Rogers Covey-Crump (Tenor Voice)

№ п/п

Наименование трека



   1 Veni Sancte Spiritus / Veni Creator         0:06:28 Isorhythmic Motet А 4
   2 Alma Redemptoris Mater         0:04:49 Antiphon А 3
   3 Credo Super 'Da Gaudiorum Premia'         0:04:48 Isorhythmic А 3
   4 Agnus Dei         0:04:25 А 3
   5 Salve Scema Sanctitatis         0:07:59 Isorhythmic Motet А 4
   6 Gaude Virgo Salutata         0:06:14 -"-
   7 Quam Pulcra Es         0:02:47 Motet А 3
   8 Salve Regina Misericordiae         0:09:52 -"-
   9 Preco Preheminenciae         0:06:31 Isorhythmic Motet А 4


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