Viola da Gamba Society - New England - Winter Workshop 2013
Viol Player

Viola da Gamba Society—New England
Winter Workshop 2013

The Publishers

Music For Viols From Printed Sources

Brandeis University, Waltham MA
Slosberg Music Building
Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Music Director: Roland Hutchinson 
Coordinators:    Anne Legene
        Ben Torrey

Printed music—whether set in movable type, engraved, or (toward the end of the period) lithographed—was the exception rather than the rule for more than three centuries following Petrucci’s first music prints at the very height of the Renaissance period. Until the nineteenth century, music of all kinds, both vocal and instrumental, circulated primarily as handwritten copies. Even when music was printed, press runs were small, and handwritten copies made from the prints might easily outnumber the printed copies.  

The viol ensemble repertoire that actually made it into print is varied: ranging from sixteenth-century dance and chanson collections (e.g., Attaingnant, Susato) and the sizable English “apt for voices or viols” songbag to ensemble suites from the Continent (e.g., Schein) to music for multiple basses from the period after the small viols’ vogue had lamentably passed—and it even includes a few prints of music from our core repertoire of English consort music (e.g., Dowland, Gibbons, Locke).

Does all this music have something in common? Is it the tip of the iceberg? The cream of the crop? A random sampling? The most appealing to a wide audience of players? Let’s dig in and see what conclusions we can draw, what questions we can raise! Coaches for the workshop, besides Roland, will include Chris Henriksen, Anne Legene, Carol Lewis and Zoe Weiss.

Lecture-demo: “Reconstructing the Italian-language edition of Thomas Morley’s Canzonets to Two Voyces.” Scholars have long known that Morley’s two-part canzonets borrowed both their texts and some of their musical material from printed Italian madrigal collections. It is also known that Morley originally published these canzonets in two versions, one with Italian texts and the other with English texts, though all known surviving copies are of the English-texted version only. We’ll have a look at how the complete publishing history of these now-standard teaching and repertoire pieces became known to researchers from the mid-ninteenth century to the mid-twentieth, and I’ll introduce my new, Creative-Commons licensed bilingual edition of Morley’s complete vocal and instrumental two-voice canzonets in a format that fully takes the needs of viol players into account.


____ Surprise me! We’ll try to give you the best possible, best-matched playing assignment that we can; we choose the repertoire. (You may choose this up to three times, and you are guaranteed to get it.)

____ Songs without words. Madrigals and other partsongs from England ca. 1600 that say “apt for viols or voices” right on their title pages! NB If someone really insists on singing, we might just let them.

____ Dowland to the lute. John Dowland’s consort music with Chris Henricksen playing lute and coaching. A fantastic opportunity! Roland says he would take this class himself if he could.

____ Domestic consumption.  Holborne and East in 5 parts, or Pilkington, and/or Adson in 6 parts (representing nearly all of the viol music of more than 3 parts that was printed in 17th-century England!)

____ The Brade bunch: Early 17th-century English and ex-pat English composers from continental collections by Brade, Thomas Simpson, Füllsack, and Hildebrand, mostly “for all sorts of instruments, especially viols.”

____ Musical banquet: Johann Hermann Schein’s Banchetto Musicale (1617), a masterful collection of the first suites ever published for string ensemble—possibly some for viols and some for violins (but we want them all!)

____ Musical games: Canzona(s) and dances from Samuel Scheidt’s Ludi Musici I (1621). “O Nachbar Roland” and other light favorites.

____ Bring in the Funck: David Funck’s Stricturae Viola di Gambicae (1677) for four basses (prepare to do some shifting!); alternative scorings possible for some of the collection.

____ Safety in numbers. 3-part consort with doubling, suitable for less-advanced players. Selections from published sources: Konincklyke Fantasien, Gibbons, Locke’s Little Consort, and/or Bassano.

____ Safety in numbers (advanced version). We’ll play together Telemann’s unaccompanied Sonata in D major, share ideas about interpretation, and strive for effective musical communication—what the 18th century called “good execution.”—by refining both technique and style. Basses only; you should be at least reasonably comfortable with occasional double stops and playing above the frets.

____ Masterclass (active participant). From printed sources only, your choice of repertoire from Ganassi to Abel: unaccompanied, solo with continuo, or duets. Prepare to play one or two movements for approximately 25 minutes of coaching. Supply your own continuo viol player if possible, or we’ll draft someone on the day if we can. If in doubt about what was printed, see Roland’s handlist of sources or contact him.

____ Masterclass (auditor). Listen and learn without volunteering to put yourself in the hot seat. Many experienced musicians (possibly including your workshop director) believe that this is often the best way to learn from a masterclass.

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