Mignarda | On Behalf of the Muses

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On Behalf of the Muses

by Mignarda

By request, a collection of rare songs spanning 15th-21st centuries for solo voice and lute that do not appear on other Mignarda albums.
Genre: Classical: Early Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Vergine Bella
3:53 $0.99
2. Quand Io Pens' Al Martire
3:16 $0.99
3. Madonna Per Voi Ardo
2:12 $0.99
4. Sicut Cervus / Sitivit Anima Mea
4:59 $0.99
5. Tantum Ergo Sacramentum
1:39 $0.99
6. Me, Me and None but Me (Live)
3:03 $0.99
7. If That a Sinner's Sighs Be Angel's Food (Live)
3:59 $0.99
8. Susanna Fair (Live)
4:03 $0.99
9. Sleep Slumbering Eyes (Live)
4:30 $0.99
10. I Saw My Lady Weeping (Live)
3:22 $0.99
11. Come Away Death
2:49 $0.99
12. Love Is Not All (Live)
3:22 $0.99
13. No More Shall Meads Be Decked with Flowers
3:33 $0.99
14. Bist du bei mir
3:54 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
On behalf of the Muses, our twelfth album, is a compilation of favorites and most-requested pieces that do not otherwise appear on our recorded programs. The collection includes several live recordings and some pieces that were performed for specific events. Our recorded program ranges from the mid fifteenth century "Vergine Bella" by DuFay, debuts our own unique setting of Shakespeare's "Come away death", includes our very first recording ever, "No more shall meads be deck’d with flow’rs", and ends with a live impromptu recording of “Bist du bei mir”, a favorite aria from the 1725 Anna Magdalena Bach notebook.

Guillaume DuFay’s (1397-1474) "Vergine bella, che di sol vestita" is among the earliest surviving musical settings of the poetry of Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374). While the 3-part music is frequently performed today adding text to the lower parts, there is a sufficient degree of authority to support an instrumental rendering of the tenor and contratenor lines, which are mostly untexted in historical sources. Our performance is in accordance with the original clef designations from Bodleian Library ms. Canonici 213 with the two untexted lower parts played on the lute. As is typical of his music, DuFay had a formal scheme of proportion in his time signatures for this sectional piece, but we assign a larger value to the basic pulse and shape the time changes in accordance with the rhetorical devices inherent in the text.

"Quand'io pens'al martire", our unique setting of a four-part madrigal by Jacques Arcadelt (c.1507 – 1568) is based on the lute intabulation by the famous lutenist, Francesco da Milano (1497 – 1543). Like all of our music, the arrangement is available in our published edition, Italian Lute Songs of the Sixteenth Century: An Anthology, available through Mignarda Editions.

Philippe Verdelot's setting of the anonymous text, "Madonna per voi ardo" is found the 1536 Intavolatura de li madrigali di Verdelotto for solo voice and lute, published by the famous Adrian Willaert. The madrigal also exists in a slightly variant setting for four voices in a collection of part-books that was presumably given to the English King Henry VIII as a gift from the city-state of Florence (H. Colin Slim, A Gift of Madrigals and Motets).

Sicut Cervus and its secunda pars Sitivit Anima Mea is a setting by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1526 - 1594) of the text of Psalm 42. This beloved four-voice motet is very well known among choral singers, and our evocative arrangement for solo voice and lute casts the piece in an entirely different light by mirroring authentic 16th-century practice - Palestrina was known to have worked out his compositions by playing them on a lute.

"Tantum ergo sacramentum", is a Gregorian chant that dates to the 5th-7th century AD as part of the Gallican Rite of the Roman Catholic liturgy. The text comprises the last two verses of the medieval hymn Pange Lingua, written by St. Thomas Aquinas.

"Me me and none but me" by John Dowland (1563 - 1626) is from his Third and Last Booke of Songs or Aires, 1603, a collection that contains several lighter songs, many texts of which appear to be directed toward Queen Elizabeth who died that same year after an eventful 45-year reign. While songs from Dowland's collection, like "Time stands still", indeed were likely dedicated to the ageing Virgin Queen, "Me me and none but me" seems much more heartfelt, intimate and personal in nature. Our recorded performance of this song is in memory of lutenist, Stephen Toombs (1951 - 2016).

"If that a Sinners sighes be Angels foode" is devotional song published in Dowland's A Pilgrimes Solace, 1612 (No. XIII). Dowland was probably familiar with William Byrd's earlier five-part setting of the same text found in Psalmes, Sonets, & songs of sadnes and pietie, London, 1588, (no.30), but Dowland chose to set only the first verse with a few minor modifications to the words. Our recording fits to Dowland's music the fifth and final verse from Byrd's setting of the poetry.

“Susanna faire some time assaulted was” comes from the 1588 publication, Psalmes, Sonets, and Songs of Sadnes and Pietie, a collection of thirty-five songs for five voices. “Susanna faire” is Byrd’s adaptation of the story of Susanna and the Elders from the Book of Daniel, probably best known as the chanson spirituelle “Susanne un jour” by Orlande de Lassus. Byrd’s version is uniquely his own and while the song was originally conceived for solo voice with accompaniment by four viols, our version assigns the four lower parts to be played on one bass lute.

"Sleepe slumbringe eyes" by Thomas Morley (c. 1557 – 1602) is from his First Book of Ayres, published in 1600. The original song is missing from the only surviving but sadly incomplete copy of the book, but it was fortunately hand-copied into Christ Church, Oxford manuscript 439 with only a cantus part and bass line. Our version is reconstructed as a lute song by Ron Andrico.

"I saw my Lady weeping" is also by Thomas Morley, who held the patent on music publishing from 1598 until his death in 1602. Holding the patent meant that every scrap of music required Morley's approval prior to publication. After lutenist John Dowland's First Booke of Songes (1597) met with great success, Morley himself leapt into the enterprise, even though he described himself as “no professor” of the lute. Dowland submitted his Second Booke for publication in 1600 and Morley appears to have blithely filched the text of the first song in Dowland's book, “I saw my Lady weepe”, placing his own First Booke of Ayres forward in the queue for publication ahead of Dowland's. Shenanigans aside, Morley's “I saw my Lady weeping” is a fine song in its own right.

"Come away death", a song text from Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night", does not survive with an historical musical setting. Our version of the song is arranged by Ron Andrico for lute and voice and set to "Oxford's Galliard" from the Folger lute manuscript. This setting was specially recorded for the 2010 Shakespeare Authorship Conference in Ashland, Oregon. jointly sponsored by The Shakespeare Oxford Society and The Shakespeare Fellowship Society.

"Love is not all" is a new composition for voice and lute by Ron Andrico, setting the (public domain) poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. The song is in two sections, wistfully reflective and anxiously retrospective, with an uncertain decision at the close.

"No more shall meads be deck’d with flow’rs", by Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666) is a setting of poetry by Thomas Carew. Lanier’s arrangement of this evocative ayre, with its many references to the natural world, is set to a ground—or chords improvised upon a bass line in a progression known as the chaconne. We like to think of the Celia in question is Saint Cecilia, patron saint of music. With its wide range of high and low notes, we used this performance of the song as a test for microphone placement in our first recording session, and thus it is Mignarda's very first recording.

“Bist du bei mir” is a very well known aria that comes from the from the 1725 Anna Magdalena Bach notebook. Formerly attributed to J. S. Bach, the popular air is now firmly assigned to the pen of Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, from his opera Diomedes, oder die triumphierende Unschuld, performed in Bayreuth on November 16, 1718. While the music of Bach is several generations outside the bounds of our usual repertory, we have been asked to perform the air on several occasions, and we keep it handy as an encore piece when appropriate.



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