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Early Music


Here are some more of the interviews I did when I was writing for GI and CG:

Barry Mason (of The Camerata of London) (1985)

Anthony Rooley (of The Consort of Musicke) (1988)

Robert Spencer (of The Julian Bream Consort) (1988)

Guitar Transcriptions of Lute Music

Anon: Kemp’s Jig

This was one of the first transcriptions I ever did, which puts it in the early ’60s.

The first time I heard Julian Bream play the lute I was, like many other people, amazed. It was a whole new world of music, and he played it with an élan and vitality that, in my view, have never been surpassed.

In particular, I loved this piece from the first Consort album; but I didn’t like the classical guitar arrangements that I’d seen. So I transcribed it from the tablature, and then bodged it to correspond to Bream’s version. This is in “Rondeña” tuning (DADF#BE).

Kemp’s Jig YouTube Buy CD ?

Robert Ballard: Branles de Village

Two cheerful and easy (whether you tune the 3rd string to F# or not) dances from the Deuxième Livre (1614).

The name, coming from a French word meaning “to sway from side to side,” was (of course) pronounced by the English as “brawl,” and sometimes even spelled that way.

Branles de Village YouTube Buy CD Buy MP3

John Johnson

Here are three duets by this English lutenist, attached to the court of Elizabeth I and the father of Robert (q.v.).

They are all in the “treble to a ground” format. On two, I have divided the melodies between the performers; but duettists of unequal ability (such as teacher and pupil) have their needs too, so on Sellenger’s Round I didn’t (the arguably redundant repetition of the grounds is so that the pieces would play back properly on my computer.)

The New Hunt Is Up YouTube Buy CD Buy MP3
Sellenger’s Round YouTube Buy CD Buy MP3
The Queen’s Treble YouTube Buy CD ?

Robert Johnson: The Carman’s Whistle

And I loved this piece from Julian Bream’s very first RCA lute album; but there was no sheet music for classical guitar. So I got hold of the tablature, and painstakingly transcribed it. Only when I had finished did I realise that he plays another version, with slightly different variations. This version is from Jane Pickering’s Lute Book.

It’s still a beautiful piece, though, whichever version you play.

There are three voices in this work, which makes them hard to decipher on a single stave in black-and-white; so, exceptionally, I’ve printed this one in colour.

The Carman’s Whistle YouTube Buy CD Buy MP3

Francesco da Milano: Fantasia, N. 40

Julian Bream’s The Woods So Wild was yet another pioneering recording that (among other things) was instrumental in reviving interest in Francesco and his miniature masterpieces of counterpoint.

My particular favourite on the album was this one, for which I once again found the tablature in Lessons for the Lute.

This is another one printed in colour.

Unknown to me at the time I did my transcription, Arthur Ness had produced a magnificent two-volume collection of the complete The Lute Music of Francesco; but Harvard University Press has allowed it to go out of print, which is extremely unfortunate.

Fantasia N.40 YouTube Buy CD Buy MP3

Hans Neusidler: Wascha Mesa

Yet another Bream favourite, this time from Lute Music from the Royal Courts of Europe, where it is entitled Hie’ folget ein welscher Tanz (different sources have variously informed me that welsch means Latin, Flemish, French, Italian, or simply foreign 😳).

Obviously, to preserve the same relative tuning as the lute, the 3rd string should be lowered to F#; but this is one of several pieces in D minor or A minor where I find guitar tuning easier (particularly in the C major chords), and this is how my transcription is fingered. But of course, you can suit yourself.

It looks as if (along with many other RCA Bream albums), the CD version has turned into a pumpkin; so the link is to a second-hand copy on Discogs.

This is another transcription in colour.

Wascha Mesa YouTube Buy CD Buy MP3

Henry VIII: Pastyme

One of the first books of lute music I bought was the excellent Lessons for the Lute, by Anthony Bailes and Anne van Royen. And one of the first pieces in it was an intabulation of the famous song by Henry VIII, A Pastyme with Good Companie, quite easy and a lot of fun. So I transcribed it into staff notation, which I found easier to read.

A couple of decades later, Paul O’Dette recorded the piece with a lot of extra divisions he’d invented. So I transcribed those too, and tacked them on the end.

(Tricky to decide where to file Henry, but I guess he goes under Tudor.)

A Pastyme YouTube Buy CD Buy MP3

Renaissance Music on Radio 3sunk without trace

Here are several rare Early Music programmes I recorded from BBC Radio 3, all broadcast before 1986.

For the benefit of those who may just want the music, I have separated out the carefully enunciated announcements (in the originals, of course, there were no gaps between the ‘tracks’). Many of the performances here have never appeared on LP or CD.

All of this music fits nicely on to one double music (AIFF format) CD. If you want to download it and make copies of the two CDs, you can find a case label here (print it in colour if you can).

The Julian Bream Consort

In view of what a tremendous force the Bream Consort was in re-establishing Early Music, it’s a great pity that they only made two albums (apart from their lovely recording of Britten’s Courtly Dances—one of Paul McCartney’s favourites, I seem to recall—originally on the B side of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez). But the death of (violinist) Olive Zorian in 1965 was a major blow, from which the group took a long time to recover.

This broadcast finds them in their second configuration, with James Tyler on fretted instruments.

Byrd The Earle of Oxenford’s March Play/Download
Philips Pavane Play/Download
Allison The Batchelar’s Delight Play/Download
Retro & Intro Play/Download
Anon Le Rossignoll Play/Download
Danyel Almaine Play/Download
Retro & Intro Play/Download
Strogers In Nomine Pavan Play/Download
Byrd Monsieur’s Almaine Play/Download
Retro & Intro Play/Download
Holborne Preludium Play/Download
Holborne As I Went To Walsingham Play/Download
Anon Grimstock Play/Download
Retro & Intro Play/Download
Allison Mr Allison’s Knell Play/Download
Retro & Intro Play/Download
Cutting Almaines (2) Play/Download
Retro & Intro Play/Download
Gibbons Fantasy Play/Download
Retro Play/Download

The Lute Group

The Lute Group consisted of Christopher Wilson, Shirley Rumsey and Tom Finucane. But although the total of the albums they made individually is well into double figures, they only seem to have made the one together (Like As The Lute Delights), which is a pity.

I hope this programme, which has little overlap with the album, may help a bit to alleviate the deficit.

Josquin/Eckel Mille Regrets Play/Download
Borrono Pavana Milanesa Play/Download
Borrono Saltarello Play/Download
Borrono Madonna Mi Pietà Play/Download
Retro & Intro Play/Download
Hume The King of Denmark’s Health Play/Download
Dowland My Lord Willoughby’s Welcome Home, P. 66 Play/Download
Hume The Virgin’s Muse Play/Download
Retro & Intro Play/Download
Pacoloni Passamezzo Francese Play/Download
Pacoloni Paduana Francese Play/Download
Pacoloni Saltarello Francese Play/Download
Retro Play/Download

Christopher Wilson

Christopher should need no introduction to Early Music enthusiasts: for decades he’s been one of the best and most versatile lutenists around. See his Wikipedia entry for more information.

Intro Play/Download
Dalza Calata ala Spagnola Play/Download
Dalza Tastar de Corde Play/Download
Dalza Rececar Dietro Play/Download
Dalza Pavana Alla Venetiana Play/Download
Dalza Saltarello Play/Download
Dalza Piva Play/Download
Intro Play/Download
Spinacino Rececar Play/Download
Spinacino Malor Me Bat Play/Download
Retro & Intro Play/Download
Blondeau 18 Basse Dances: Sanscerre Play/Download
Blondeau 18 Basse Dances: Branle de Poictou Play/Download
Blondeau 18 Basse Dances: Bergerotte Play/Download
Blondeau 18 Basse Dances: La Magdalena, Recoupe & Tourdion Play/Download
Retro & Intro Play/Download
Borrono Pavana Chiamata La Milanesa Play/Download
Borrono Saltarello Play/Download
Francesco Fantasia, N. 30 Play/Download
Francesco Ricercar, N. 51 Play/Download
Francesco Fantasia, N. 40 Play/Download
Retro Play/Download
Ripa Fantasia 2 Play/Download
Hans Neusidler Preambel Play/Download
Hans Neusidler Wascha Mesa & Hupff Auf Play/Download
Hans Neusidler Gassenhawer Play/Download
Retro Play/Download

Choro Capella

I’m sorry to say that I know no more of Choro Capella than the name. I’ve had my doubts about the spelling, but that’s the way it was in the Radio Times.

Alfonso Ferrabosco II Tribulationum Et Dolorum In Veni Play/Download
Alfonso Ferrabosco II O Domine Libera Anima Mea Play/Download
Retro & intro Play/Download
Alfonso Ferrabosco II Ego Sum Resurrectio Play/Download
Alfonso Ferrabosco II O Nomen Jesu Play/Download
Retro & intro Play/Download
Alfonso Ferrabosco II Lamentations Play/Download
Retro Play/Download

Other BBC Radio recordingssunk without trace

And here are some more from Colin Beasley, to complement his contributions to the Classical Guitar and Flamenco tabs. You can find Contents Listings of all these here.

John Dowland

Dowland at the Proms 2013 Play/Download
Pied Piper (1) Play/Download
Pied Piper (2) Play/Download
Songs and Ayres (1) Play/Download
Songs and Ayres (2) Play/Download

The Music of Giovanni Colonnasunk without trace

Cover of Colonna LP

Listening to BBC Radio 3 one evening in the early ’70s, I chanced upon a newly-released recording of choral works by a composer whom (at that time) I’d never come across. I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever heard: the trumpets, the singing, the music, the recording, all just blew me away.

So I rushed out to buy it; but it was on the (French) Erato label, and nobody had it. Eventually I got hold of it by special-ordering it from HMV in Oxford Street, and even then it took weeks to come in.

And of course, like all LPs with modest sales, it soon got deleted. Later, I wrote to Erato to see if there was going to be a CD version, but they weren’t interested.

Here it is: I hope perhaps it may appeal to you too (apologies for a certain amount of wear on the record).

If you want to download the music and make an (AIFF format) music CD, you can find a case label here, and a cover insert here.

Mass in Five Parts Play/Download
Dixit Dominus Play/Download
Beatus Vir Play/Download

The Early Music Ensemble of Lyonsunk without trace

This is an album I just chanced upon; but since I love the music of Pierre Attaignant and Claude Gervaise, I snapped it up, and was glad I did so.

The Ensemble consisted of:

• Roger Bernolin (recorders, transverse flute)
• Christian de Lavernee (recorders, crumhorns)
• François Castet (lute, musical direction & arrangement)
• Geneviève Begou (tenor viol)
• Pierre Perdigon (virginal, portative organ)
• Fortunée Begou-Negre (bass viol)
• Mathilde Giraud (percussion)

I particularly like M. Castet’s lute-playing, even though some might think he does nothing especially difficult or noteworthy.

If you want to download the music and make an (AIFF format) music CD, the case label and cover insert are included with those for the Colonna music, above.

Cover of Gervaise and Attaignant LP
Gervaise Bransle de Bourgogne Nº 1 Play/Download
Gervaise Bransle de Bourgogne Nº 2 Play/Download
Attaingnant Pavane & Gaillarde Play/Download
Attaingnant La Roque Play/Download
Attaingnant Basse Dance Nº 1 Play/Download
Attaingnant Bransle Nº 43 Play/Download
Attaingnant Basse Dance “La Magdalena” & Tourdion Play/Download
Attaingnant Bransle “C’est Mon Amy” Play/Download
Attaingnant Aupres de Vous & Tourdion “C’est Grand Plaisir” Play/Download
Attaingnant Bransle Gay Nº 22 Play/Download
Gervaise Bransles de Champaigne (3) Play/Download
Attaingnant Basse Dance & Tourdion Play/Download
Attaingnant Bransle Gay Play/Download
Attaingnant Pavane Nº 3 & Gaillarde Nº 2 Play/Download
Attaingnant Pavane Nº 8 & Gaillarde Nº 5 Play/Download
Attaingnant Bransle Gay Nº 42 Play/Download
Attaingnant Basse Dance “Par Fin Despit” & Tourdion Play/Download
Gervaise Allemande Play/Download
Gervaise Pavane “Passemezzo” & Gaillarde Play/Download

External Resources

Guitar Loot

Eric Crouch has provided an impressive collection of free classical guitar versions of early music here.