Cambridge Early Music Concerts 2014


BIRDS ON FIRE - JEWISH MUSIC FOR VIOLS: Fretwork, Friday 4 July, 2014, poster (opens in new tab or window)

7.30pm, Friday 4 July, 2014
Howard Theatre, Downing College, Cambridge
Tickets:  £20.00,  £15.00
Student standby tickets on the door just prior to performance: £5.00
In 1492 the Spanish forcibly expelled the Moors, and then the Jews, from the Iberian peninsula. Along with the rest of the Jews were expelled three Jewish musicians who had developed a method of playing the vihuela, a guitar-like instrument, not with the fingers but with a bow. They went to Italy; where what became known as the viol (the name being an Italianisation of the Portuguese) was quickly adopted. Isabella d'Este was an original patron of the viol, commissioning instruments of different sizes to form a rudimentary consort, and the instrument quickly spread across Europe.
Viol players arrived at the English court around 1520 from the Netherlands, and there were at least three in Henry VIII's employment at this time; but in 1540 Henry felt the need for an enhancement of his musical establishment and sent to Italy for new players to re-invigorate the band. What he got were two families of musicians, one predominantly wind-players, the other a string band. The former were the Bassanos and the latter became known as the Lupos. After 1540 it seems the majority of foreign musicians at Henry's court could have been Jews, and Jews formed the backbone of the English court musical establishment for over a century thereafter.
It is not possible to say that there is anything stylistically 'Jewish' about these Tudor composers' music - in fact, there are good reasons why they should have gone to considerable lengths to conceal their Jewish origins in the music they wrote.
In 2001, Fretwork commissioned Orlando Gough to write a piece for viols and two dancers: he wrote 'Birds on Fire', basing it upon Aaron Appelfeld's novel Badenheim 1939.


    Augustine Bassano (d. 1604):
        Pavan & Galliard 1
    Hieronimo Bassano (1559-1635):
        Fantasia No. 1 in 5 parts
    Heinrich Isaac (c.1450-1517):
        La mi la sol
    Philip van Wilder (c.1500-54):
        Fantasia con e senza pause
    Thomas Lupo (1571-1627):
        Pavan in 3 parts
        Air in 4 parts
    Joseph Lupo (b. c.1536):
        Pavan in 5 parts
    Leonora Duarte (1610-1678?):
        2 Symphonies in 5 parts
    A suite of dances from the 'Lumley Part Books':
        Pavan (95) & Gallyard (96)
        Seconda desperada
        Pavan & Gallyard of Albarti
        Terza desperada
        -- Interval --
    Orlando Gough (b. 1953):
        Birds on Fire Part I
    Thomas Lupo:
        Ardo: Fantasia in 5 parts
    Salamone Rossi 'Ebreo' (c. 1570-1630):
    Thomas Lupo:
        Fantasia in 3 parts
        Fantasia in 5 parts
    Orlando Gough:
        Birds on Fire Part II


    Richard Boothby
    Asako Morikawa
    William Hunt
    Reiko Ichise
    Richard Tunnicliffe:
Concert generously supported by the Howard Foundation.

All concert information is correct at 20 May 2015.

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Christopher Roberts, Administrator
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