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SIG 039
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SIG 039

A Songbook for Isabella - Music from the circle of Isabella d'Este

The Classical Shop
release date: July 2007

Originally recorded in 2007

Artists:

Philip Thorby


Musica Antiqua of London



Venue:

National Centre for Early Music, St Margarets Church, York

20-22 Sept 2002

Producer:

Mark Brown



Engineer:

Limo Hearn



Record Label
Signum

Genre:

Renaissance




Total Time - 74:05
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DOWNLOADS
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Select Complete Single Disc for
  La Fortuna  
 

ANONYMOUS

1 

Or su corere à 4 (a, j, b, m)

3:31
 

ANTOINE BUSNOIS

2 

Fortuna desperata à 4 (g, b, j, m)

1:36
 

ANONYMOUS

3 

Facia ognon in fin po à 4 (a, b, j, m)

2:23
   
  Prenez sur moy vostre example  
 

JOHANNES OCKEGHEM

4 

Prenez sur moy à 3 (a, p, g, j, m)

3:21
 

FIRMINIUS CARON

5 

Helas que pora advenire à 3 (g, b, m)

3:13
 

BARTOLOMEO TROMBONCINO

6 

Or che son di pregion à 4 (a, b, j, m)

3:20
   
  A la cazza  
 

IANNES PLICE

7 

A la pesca à 4 (c, h, n, k)

2:09
 

ANONYMOUS

8 

(Gagliarda) Perschatore

0:37
9 

A la cazza à 4 (a, r, d, h, j, m)

1:53
   
  Kyrie Eleison  
10 

Kyrie leison à 4 (a, b, j, m)

3:54
11 

Colomba senza fielle (a, g, b, m)

5:30
   
12 

Pavana regia

2:06
   
  Carmine sine verbis I  
13 

El piove à 3 (g, b, m)

1:57
 

ALEXANDER AGRICOLA

14 

Si dedero à 3, à 4 (g, b, j, m)

2:33
   
  Ave Maris Stella  
 

ANONYMOUS

15 

Ave maris stella à 3 (a, g, b, j)

5:35
   
  La Mi La Sol  
 

HEINRICH ISAAC

16 

La mi à 4 (g, b, j, m)

2:16
 

ANONYMOUS

17 

La mi la sol la mi gia vol à 4 (a, b, j, m)

1:46
   
  Viva il grand'Hercule  
 

G.L.

18 

O triumphale diamante à 4 (a, i, o, f)

1:18
 

ANONYMOUS

19 

Tente alora à 4 (e, h, o, l)

0:47
   
  In Festo Natalis Domini  
20 

Verbum caro factus est à 3 (g, h, j)

2:11
21 

Ne la digna stalla à 2 (a, r, g, b)

2:44
22 

Recerchar di Benedictus (q)

1:31
23 

Benedictus (q)

2:18
   
  Carmine sine Verbis II  
 

HEINRICH ISAAC

24 

Absque verbis à 3 (b, j, m)

2:03
25 

Gratis acceptistis à 4 (g, b, j, m)

1:50
26 

La Mora à 3, à 4 (g, b, j, m)

2:27
   
  La Speranza  
 

JOSQUIN DES PRES

27 

In te Domine speravi à 4 (a, p, g, b, j, m)

4:21
 

ANONYMOUS

28 

(Salterelli) Zorzi, Giorgio (p, c, h, n, k)

1:33
29 

Forte cosa è la speranza à 5 (a, r, g, b, j, m)

3:22


Signum Records is delighted to announce the release of A Songbook for Isabella.

Isabella d’Este was brought up in the midst of an extremely active musical court. After her marriage in 1490 to Francesco Gonzaga Duke of Mantua she began to remodel the Duke’s relatively modest musical establishment in imitation of that of her father, Hercule. She was herself a gifted musician and favoured above all the viol. Not only was the viol the favourite vehicle for aristocratic instrumental performance, but it was the ideal accompaniment to the voice.

Under Isabella’s patronage the tradition of improvised song accompanied by the singer on a lira da braccio developed into the frottola, shared between two, three or even four viols. In employing Italian composers, and herself performing their music, Isabella played a key role in the development of this new music, and of the consort of viole which developed alongside it.

This disc presents a selection of music from the circle of Isabella. The repertoire is centred around the Milliare Songbook - a hand written songbook compiled in 1502 by, or for, one Ludovico Milliare. This contains a wonderfully rich cross section of the vocal and instrumental repertoire loved by the d’Este family of Mantua. An attractive feature of the collection is the inclusion of sacred pieces, mostly non-liturgical and apparently intended for private devotional use.

The instruments used for this recording have been thoroughly researched by examining documented and iconographic evidence - for example contemporary paintings of the period. The custom-made viols are cannot be called "copies"; they are recreations using the best information and scholarship available. This CD offers a rare opportunity to hear the very different sound these instruments make - rather different from their more modern counterparts from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
 

"On this Signum release we are entertained by late fifteenth century music from the personal songbook of Isabella d’Este, the daughter of the Duke of Ferrara and wife of the Duke of Mantua. Isabella’s songbook has survived in the Bibliothèque National in Paris and contains mainly accompanied songs both sacred and secular plus some instrumental works. These are composed in the Burgundian tradition by leading Flemish composers of the day including Josquin, Isaac and Ockeghem, who were plying their trade in Isabella’s Italy.

Isabella had learned to sing and proficiently play the viol, lute and harpsichord, all instruments deemed appropriate for a young Lady of aristocratic status. In 1499 the Duchess succumbed to the new fashion and developed the use of the consort of viols in the court of Ferrara. The consort of viols can sound most impressive too, as heard in Isaac’s La mi a 4 (01:12 track 16) and Absque verbis a 3 (01:02 track 24). The songbook contains a marvellously rich cross-section of vocal and instrumental music which utilises the voice and various combinations of four viols, four recorders, three crumhorns, lutes and guitar. It should be noted that several dances or lute solos, works not from the songbook, have been added to the disc from contemporary sources....

Signum records are to be congratulated for yet another release of late-renaissance music which certainly help to fill gaps in the catalogue of this rare repertoire. Clearly not every one will be able to take seventy five minutes of late-fifteenth century music at one sitting however pleasurable and abundant discoveries await the more adventurous listener."

Michael Cookson
 

 

Music Web - January 2004

"This anthology grows on you as it unfolds. The players are skilled instrumentalists, but the feeling is of friends at home, picking up different instruments as the mood takes them. The same music is repeated in several versions, and there are many real gems. At first the singing is cool, Clare Wilkinson’s voice almost an additional instrumental line. There is often a disconcerting lack of apparent connection between the delightfully fresh words and the music, often in many verses with little or no word setting by our expectations from later generations of composers. But Clare Wilkinson allows herself to become more animated and involved in a number of the items, and the variations of instrumentation (indicated by the letterings in the listings above) are a help. La mi la solla mi gia vol is a jolly song about rejection worthy of Wolf’s Italian Songbook. Ne la digna stalla is a cheerful Nativity celebration, In te, Domine, speravi a bleak acceptance that after all the praying "very little is provided for my pain". The full texts and translations enhance enjoyment enormously.

A generously filled CD, impeccably recorded. The presentation is exemplary and Philip Thorby’s notes, with an account of Isabella’s musical tastes, comprehensive and interesting for the non-specialist. As you can see above, the information is compendious, though (a very tiny cavill) it would have helped if the "Instrumentarium" had been placed on page 3 opposite the tracklist (nothing would have been lost thereby) so that one did not have to have so many fingers keeping place in different pages. Against that, praise to Jan Hart for the meticulous alignment of the translations. All in all, a very satisfying compilation combining scholarship with sensuous pleasure."

Peter Grahame Woolf

Musical Pointers - May 2003



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