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Dr Kenneth B. McAlpine | Clement Matchett's Virginals Book: Music from the Panmure Collection

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Clement Matchett's Virginals Book: Music from the Panmure Collection

by Dr Kenneth B. McAlpine

This CD features music taken from two manuscripts from the Panmure Music Collection, discovered near Arbroath in Scotland in the early 1930s. Clement Matchett's Book was compiled by a young Norfolk man in 1612 and features a number of popular folk tunes.
Genre: Classical: Early Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. My Ladyes Left Hande
1:25 $0.99
2. Nans Thinge
1:10 $0.99
3. Tille Valle Monye Growe
1:19 $0.99
4. The Whistlinge Carman
4:22 $0.99
5. Monsieurs Almayne
4:16 $0.99
6. Farewell Delighte: Fortune My Foe
5:03 $0.99
7. The Ghoste
3:20 $0.99
8. My Choice I Will Not Change
0:49 $0.99
9. Preludium
0:49 $0.99
10. A Grownde
1:08 $0.99
11. Pegge Ramsye
1:50 $0.99
12. The Frogge
1:55 $0.99
13. The Bears Daunce
0:39 $0.99
14. [Jig]
0:54 $0.99
15. Almayne
2:02 $0.99
16. Almayne
0:49 $0.99
17. Almayne
1:59 $0.99
18. Almayne
2:23 $0.99
19. Ane Air Orlando
1:32 $0.99
20. Saraband, Orlando
2:21 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Music on this album is taken from the Panmure Collection, which was discovered at Panmure House near Monikie in the 1930s. The collection comprises some 30 volumes, with 12 dating from before 1675, and was placed in the trust of the National Library of Scotland by the Earl of Dalhousie, where they remain on permanent loan. Of particular note in this collection, and the source of these recordings, are Clement Matchett's Virginals Book, dating from 1612, and Lady Jean Campbell's Book, from around 1635.

Matchett's book begins with three short anonymous pieces, 'My Ladyes Left Hande'; 'Nans Thinge', and 'Tille Valle Monye Growe'. Clement Matchett's book is the only manuscript in which the latter composition appears, and its origins remain unclear. The musicologist Thurston Dart has speculated that Sir Toby Belch's cry of "Tilly vally, Lady!" in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (Act II, sc. iii) may be a reference to this tune. The phrase "Tille valle, tille valle" also appears in Part IV of The Life of Sir Thomas More, by William Roper, and may similarly be related.

The 'Whistlinge Carman', by William Byrd, is a lilting set o variations based around a tune that the composer supposedly heard whistled by an anonymous carman, or cart driver. According to Chappell in 'The Ballad Literature and Popular Music of the Olden Time', the Carmen of the 16th and 17th centuries were famous for their musical skill, and it is not difficult to see why this melody became such a popular Elizabethan tune.

'Monsieurs Almayne' is a work whose subject matter was evidently quite popular, for Byrd himself reworked the composition several times, and Daniel Batchelar composed an intricate work for lute based around similar thematic material. The work was apparently inspired by the Duc D'Alencon, a French intimate of Queen Elizabeth I who, due to his squat stature and unattractive appearance, was nicknamed 'her frog'. Indeed, the Duc seems also to have provided the inspiration for 'The Frogge', the only known keyboard work by John Wilbye. This composition, which appears later in Matchett's book, is a simple arrangement of Downland's 'Frogge Galliard', a work which may have had some significance for Wilbye, for the closing lines of 'Lady, your words doe spight mee' from his first madrigal collection seem to be a direct quotation of this piece.

Byrd's 'Farewell Delighte: Fortune My Foe' was also commonly known as the hanging tune because of its association with ballads of penitence prior to execution. The tune was extremely popular in its time and formed the backbone of a number of broadside ballads, such as 'Aim Not Too High'; 'Ay me, vile wretch, that ever I was born', and 'Let all bold Traytors here come take a view'.

'The Ghoste', another piece by Byrd, is a set of variations around a popular melody of the time. The title is not quite as forbidding as it first appears. The Elizabethan 'ghoste' was more akin to the notion of individual spirit - consider, for example, the penitent's offering of his troubled soul in Anne Locke's 'A Meditation of a Penitent Sinner': "I yeld myself, I offer up my ghost, My slayne delightes my dyeng hart to thee."

'My Choice I will not Change' is one of two pieces by Dr John Bull that appear in Matchett's book. My choice is unique to this source, but there seems no reason to doubt its authenticity. The other, 'Pegge Ramsye', is a set of variations that draws upon a well-known folk tune, two versions of which are catalogued in C. M. Simpson's 'British Broadside Ballads and their Music'. Pegge Ramsye, or the obliging Scots lass, is a well-known figure in medieval bawdry, and references to her include Shakespeare's Twelfth Night [Act II, sc. iii], and Bonie Peg-a-Ramsay, by Robert Burns.

The grownde, according to Thomas Mace in his 1676 treatise, is "a set Number of Slow Notes, very Grave, and Stately; which (after it is express'd Once, or Twice, very Plainly) the He that hath Good Brains, and a Good Hand, undertakes to Play several Divisions upon it, Time after Time, till he has shew'd his Bravery, both of Invention, and Hand". This anonymous work, dated August 24, 1612, does not offer much scope for such bravery - it consists of a relatively simple, repeating chord progression and melody with three variations.

Lady Jean Campbell's book consists of eight keyboard pieces, which appear here, and a number of lute pieces written in French notation. The first composition, 'The Bears Daunce', is a short piece that is possibly a setting of the 'Beares Dance' (BG-Lbl Add.10444), which was likely written by Nicholas Lanier in collaboration with Alfonso Ferrabosco, as part of Ben Jonson's 'The Masque of Augurs'.

Immediately following this work is a short, unnamed and anonymous dance in triple time. Although the composition is not especially vigorous or intricate, it was fairly common around this time to use the term 'jig' to specify a dance of no particular character. Indeed, several examples of pieces titled 'jig', 'jigg' or 'gigge' can be found in early instrumental methods and these were often used as themes for keyboard variations.

The almayne, or allemande, was one of the most popular Baroque dances, and was, along with the courante, sarabande and gigue, a staple of the manu dance suites that were popular at the time. The almayne appears to have begun life as a moderate, duple-meter dance sometime in the mid-16th century, but gradually became more and more stylised, and was frequently performed in an open, improvisatory style.

The final two keyboard compositions in Lady Jean Campbell's book appear to be attributed to Orlando Gibbons. However, in both cases, there is little stylistic evidence to suggest that these pieces are his work. Indeed, 'Ane Air' appears with reference to Orlando [Gibbons] only in Lady Jean Campbell's book, and is attributed anonymously in the other three manuscrips in which it appears. The Saraband is attributed to Gibbons in two other manuscript sources, most notably Thomas Heardson's book, which is held in the New York Public Library (Drexel MS 5611). In terms of style, however, it seems likely that the composition dates from around 1640, and this suggests that the ascription in the Christ Church Manuscript (Music MS 1177) is correct, and the piece was actually penned by Richard Portman, a pupil of Gibbons.

Kenny McAlpine was born in Lanarkshire in 1974. He became an Associate of the London College of Music in 1992, and completed his PhD in Formalised Music Composition at the University of Glasgow in 1999. Later that year, he took up a lectureship at the University of Abertay Dundee, and now leads music and audio teaching on the University's Computer Arts, Games and Sound Production courses. His research interests are centred on the use of technology as a tool for heritage preservation, and he is currently working with the National Trust to create a fully playable digital copy of the Benton Fletcher Collection.



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