CDE84542 The Music of Kings

The Music Of Kings

The Music Of Kings

Product Description

The Music Of Kings
From the XI - XVI centuries

Musica Antiqua Consort - Serbia
Director - Vera Zlokovich

Anonymous (c. 1300) - Lamento di Tristano et rota
Alfonso X el Sabio (c. 1200) - Maravillosos et Piadosos  
Richard I Coeur de Lion (c. 1100) - Ja Nun Hons Pris Ne Dira Sa Raison
Anonymous (c. 1200) - Agniau Dous
Alfonso X el Sabio (c. 1200) - Rosa das Rosas
Anonymous (c. 1300) - Saltarello 
Alfonso X el Sabio (c. 1200) - Como Poden 
Anonymous (c. 1200) - Estampie
Anonymous (c. 1400) - Canzonetta Tedescha 
Alfonso X el Sabio (c. 1200) - Quem a omagnem da Virgen
Anonymous (c. 1200) - Au Renouviau 
Henry VIII (c. 1500) - Past time with good company
Antoine de Fevin (c. 1400) - Fors solemant
Henry VIII (c. 1500) - Whoso That Will All Feats
Henry VIII (c. 1500) - O My Heart
Henry VIII (c. 1500)  - Consort VIII
William Cornysh (c. 1400) - Ah Robyn Gentyl Robyn
Henry VIII (c. 1500) - Taunder naken
Henry VIII (c. 1500) - Helas Madame
Francisque Caronbel (c. 1500) - Gavotte
Anonymous (c. 1400) - Le Dance des Sages

Sound Sample

Medieval courts were the main gathering centres of professional musicians aside from churches. No wonder then that even some of the kings and noblemen applied themselves to this creative field. Very often though they preferred to remain anonymous in their compositions, so authorship cannot always be ascertained.

This CD features compositions of three medieval European kings: Richard I "The Lionheart", Alfonso X "The Wise", Henry VIII, as well as others performed at courts or attached to life at court (dances, songs of troubadours and trouvers, and those dedicated to the rulers...).

The songs of troubadours and trouvers, although written in the language of commoners, were also court music. Troubadours were aristocratic poet-musicians from the Provencal-speaking area of southern France. Since the 12th century they had devoted themselves to the cultivation of chivalrous love through poetry and music. Some 2600 poems survive together with 282 melodies in their chansonniers. They were very influential in central France and Spain, due to their connection with Alfonso el Sabio, King of Spain, himself a troubadour.

Trouvers, like the Provencal troubadours, were aristocratic poets, composers and performers, active in northern France from the mid-12th century onwards. Trouver songs resemble those of troubadours in being monophonic but place more emphasis on formal structure. About 2100 of their texts and 1400 melodies are preserved.

This music was modelled on sacred music but, under the influence of secular music, is freer in its expression. That is why the religious themes are very often mixed in with those telling of love, nature, or even social or political events.

Richard I (1157-1199) King of England, Duke of Aquitaine was known as "Coeur de Lion". His grandfather William IX, Duke of Aquitaine was the first of the noble troubadours; his were the earliest troubadour songs to survive. His mother (William's daughter), Eleanor Queen of England, was the leading patron of troubadours. Raised among artists, Richard himself became a poet and composer - a trouver. Two of his poems survive but only one with music, written during his imprisonment in Austria: a lament about his destiny but also an indication of his political activity.

The monarch of Spain, Alfonso X el Sabio (1221-1284) was one of the most educated rulers of his time ("el Sabio" means "The Wise" or "The Learned"). He was a great patron of the arts, sciences and culture in general, as well as a reformer of social life, education and law, which all brought Spain to the forefront amongst other European countries. He was tolerant of all religions and made his court a centre of Christian, Islamic and Jewish scientists and artists.

He was a great believer in the usage of one's mother-tongue in science and the arts, and he translated numerous books - amongst others the Bible, the Koran and the Talmud. Under his auspices Castilian literature, historiography and astronomy also thrived. Many troubadours found favour at his court, and Alfonso el Sabio initiated studies of music at the Salamanca University, with special emphasis on the appreciation of Spanish monody. The most significant act of his creativity was compiling the manuscript known as "Cantigas de Santa Maria", a song-book containing about 500 songs. Alfonso himself probably composed some of these melodies. This manuscript is invaluable to the history of music and court poetry.

Henry VIII (1491-1547) King of England, younger son of Henry VII, was educated and studied to be a priest, so he acquired a fine musical education. According to his contemporaries he was interested in various fields of art. Henry transformed his court into a centre for musical culture, increasing the number of professional musicians and encouraging foreign artists to join them. Music became a very important part of life at court, included in all formal ceremonies (such as meetings of counsellors, processions, celebrations and knights' tournaments). He introduced the Franco-Flemish style of church music, composed both sacred and secular pieces, built up an enormous collection of musical instruments and played several of them himself (the organ, lute, virginale and a few wind instruments), and he was a very good singer. Moreover during the first decade of his reign he compiled "Henry VIII's Book". It contains 109 songs and instrumental pieces, well-written with extremely lucid notation. The title indicates that a lot of them are the King's own compositions; 33 in all bear the signature: "the kynge henry viii". This manuscript is of great value for the history of music and social history of the early Tudor court.

Dances were a special part of court-life. Here we have six of them of different origin: Tristan's Lament and Rota, Saltarello, Estampie, The German Canzonet, Henry Ill's Gavotte and The Wise Men's Court-Dance.

Ana Matovich, musicologist

Institute of Musicology, SANU

(The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts)


(1977.) BELGRADE

"In my opinion every human

being bears in itself the affection

towards truly artistic experience,

and we are trying to achieve it.”

Vera Zlokovich

In February 1977 Vera Zlokovich, a composer and conductor holding university degrees in both, created and founded "Musica Antiqua Consort" - the first professional ensemble in Serbia dedicated to the thorough research and professional interpretation of early music. Many discoveries transcending centuries followed, enhanced by the joy and pleasure in reviving an old, almost forgotten world of music. A group of young and curious musicians, guided by Vera Zlokovich, plunged with an archaeologist's devotion into the sound world of the middle Ages, wandering through the halls of churches and courts, along the trails of renaissance towns... Seeking new discoveries and knowledge pushed them forward: each of their concerts - exceeding 2000 - was different, enriched with newly found pieces, performed for the first time. This naturally led to improving the quality of both, their vocal and instrumental performance.

The work of the ensemble "Musical Antique" includes studying and representing the earliest musical transcriptions up until the Baroque era. It is a vocal and instrumental group with a wide pool of members. Each composition demands a careful choice of musicians, and this selection is made by the ensemble's artistic director, Vera Zlokovich. The ensemble possesses about 50 authentic copies of old instruments. A deeply studied and well balanced vocal sound was presented to our audience for the first time - a symbiotic relationship between all participating voices from soprano to bass. Special attention is paid to tone colour, vocal technique and harmony of instruments and voices in order to achieve the authentic performance of old styles and schools. Moreover, "Musica Antiqua" sings in about 20 ancient languages.

Devoted to the faithful reconstruction of the old sound of various epochs, Vera Zlokovich was the first to introduce a counter-tenor to Serbia, the Balkans and Eastern Europe. This unique and recognisable vocal expression is achieved by choosing only high-quality tenors and counter-tenors (one or more, depending on the repertoire). The authentic and original sound of this ensemble is also based, in addition to these male voices, on the carefully shaped female voices, particularly the beautifully balanced mezzo-soprano of Vera ZIokovich, trained at the best European specialist schools for early music by its leading teachers (especially Andrea von Ramm), followers of David Monroe, Alfred Deller, Nigel Rogers, Jean Bel Hard and James Grifit. Vera Zlokovich conveys her own mastery of the vocal technique to her associates and has gained a flexible and extremely varied interpretation.

Even on an international level, there is much to single out "Musica Antiqua" as a unique group. Vera Zlokovich is constantly discovering more as yet unknown jewels of the old sound throughout the whole of Europe, from Spain to Russia. Numerous pieces, especially of Yugoslav composers have been rediscovered in this way.

It took Vera Zlokovich almost two and a half decades of teaching to achieve the authentic performance of such a stylistically diverse repertoire. The ensemble has now become a hothouse for outstanding early music specialists. A young professional singer (with an education in classical music) needs to dedicate himself completely to achieving a truly professional standard, capable of mastering the many aspects of this music (from Ars Antiqua, Ars Nova, Spanish and English Monody, Gregorian Chant, Notre Dame School, Meistersingers, Troubadours, Trouvers, up to the Renaissance and Baroque). This style of ancient music needs an entirely different vocal technique, different from that learned today. In her highly successful line of work Vera Zlokovich has trained over one hundred young musicians. Many of them are now totally dedicated to this style. Some of the most successful ones have been accepted at famous colleges in London, Paris, Basel, Frankfurt at final year entry. This small academy of sound has surpassed its original intention - to prepare members of the ensemble. It has become an institution for cherishing the old sound.

The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts immediately recognised the importance of "Musica Antiqua". Many of its members are admirers, especially Stanojio Rajichich who has arranged numerous concerts for them at the Gallery of SANU. There has also been a lot of interest from some of the relevant historical institutes (the Byzantine Institute, the Institute of Musicology, the Institute of History and the Archaeological Institute). The Ensemble was one of the participants and guests at the "Multimedia Evenings" at SANU, organised by Dr Dragutin Gostushki.

The international popularity of this form of music has provided "Musica Antiqua" with various relationships with relevant experts and institutions. The first and maybe the most important of these contacts has been that of Vera ZIokovich with her teachers (mentioned above). The result is that Musica Antiqua's artistic level is equal to that of internationally recognized ensembles. The ensemble has had frequent exchanges with experts on old music from Sweden, the UK, France, Italy and Portugal, who are observing and supporting "Musica Antiqua", giving it opportunity to prosper.

The ensemble has performed at numerous well-known concert halls, churches and castles in Bruges, Dresden, Berlin, Leipzig, Potsdam, Rostock, Munich, Venice, Dubrovnik, Kastoria and Nice. The ensemble was awarded a prize at Bemus in Belgrade and at the TV Festivals in Montreal and Portoroze. For three years running it was declared best ensemble at the "St. Donatus Evenings" in Zadar, and it achieved notable success in Belgium and at the Dresden Summer Festival. It won the prestigious title of the best ensemble at the Ohrid Summer Festival, and its performances achieved great success at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, the Festival in Kastoria and the TV Festival "Golden Prague". The ensemble has broadcast on terrestrial and satellite television.

Lastly the reputation of Musica Antiqua has brought successful careers to those of its members who have gone abroad. Grujica Paunovich (tenor) a soloist with the Zurich Radio Chorus, has founded a choir for sacred music interpreting chamber baroque pieces. Zoran Todorovich (countertenor) has a successful career in Frankfurt, performing in baroque and renaissance operas. Predrag Djokovich was immediately accepted at the Royal Academy of Early Music (Great Britain) as a postgraduate student with Professor Anthony Rooley, and at the Dartington International Summer School with Emma Kirkby and James Bowman. Zarko Stojiljkovich (countertenor) is a soloist at the Goetheborg opera. Branislav Rakich (tenor and countertenor) was accepted at final year entry level into the Early Music Academy in Paris. Mirko Vuletich (countertenor) has founded his own chamber ensemble "Royal Consort" in Bonn. Nikola Radan, our best wind instrument performer, has founded a school for early music in New York, in addition to performing as a soloist throughout the United States. Petar Kodzas achieved degrees in guitar and lute at the Academy in Chicago and has founded his own school. Slobodan Vujisich graduated in guitar and ancient string instruments in Chicago.

Ten years after the beginning of "Musica Antiqua" Vera Zlokovich created another ensemble, "Musica Antiqua Serbiana". The leading idea for this was groundbreaking research into the performance of old Orthodox liturgical chants (Byzantine, Greco-Byzantine, Serbian, Bulgarian, Russian, Moldavian, Walachian and others). The two ensembles have parallel careers. Vera Zlokovich has a special affection for sacred music: "We need to always remember that sacred music, like an ornament of the holy words, springs from enlightened souls, from the prayers of God's apostels. According to the angels' edict the prayer should be sung with love, tranquility and peacefully but its strength lies in faith." (1994 interview after a concert at the National Museum). With this spiritual approach to their music, "Musica Antiqua Serbiana" has established their own characteristic sound and interpretation.

Ana Matovich, musicologist

Institute of Musicology SANU

Vera Zlokovich - mezzo-soprano

Predrag Djokovich - counter-tenor

Branislav Rakich - tenor

Alexandar Petrovich - bass-baritone

Vojka Djordjevich, Rajna Vuletich - sopranos

Bojan Blidarevich - counter-tenor

Radmilo Petrovich - bass-baritone

Nikola Radan - crumhorn, recorders, cornett,

cornamuses, rauschpfeif

Vladimir Chirich - vielle, soprano gamba, cornamuses, tenor recorder

Sasha Borovich - vielle, serbian lyre

Ljubisha Jovanovich - bass and tenor

recorders, cornamuses

Petar Kodzas - lute, serbian lyre

Slobodan Vujisich - lute, crumhorn

Boris Bunjac - darabouka, nakers, medievil tambour, tambourine, bells

Darko Karajich - medievil lute, lute,

serbian lyre, moorish lute

Ljubomir Dimitrijevich - recorders, gemshorn, cornett, crumhorn, kortholt,

cornamuse, cowhorn

Zeljko Nestorov - tenor and bass sackbutt

Dragan Karolich - recorders, cornamuses, shawm

Marko Steegelmann - Shawm,

recorders, cornamuses

Nenad Jelich - timpane, darabouka, tamburineThe Music Of Kings