MUSIC NEWBORN - Oliver Hirsh



the art of variation

As practiced by two absolute masters, William Byrd and Girolamo Frescobaldi, the art can go in quite different directions. But both of them knew la monica,- and we do, too (she serves in church as a hymn!). Ruggiero and Carman's whistle qualify, as well as many other catchy tunes, obtaining the utmost from the organ's four distinctive ranks of pipes.  

before minor and major…

How come it took so long to arrive at these for us so obvious genders? Did the eight (sometimes more) modes recognized by the musician of the sixteenth century suggest shades of emotion similarly to major and minor in Classical and Romantic music? What distinguishes them from each other?

By hearing various works of Italian Renaissance music grouped according to pairs of modes in four main types, the listener has the opportunity to gather his own impressions. The chamber organ gives pleasant clarity to both harmony and counterpoint in works by Cavazzoni, Merulo, Frescobaldi and three fascinating Neapolitans.

Two programs can each comprise two pairs of modes: the so-called Dorian (1 + 2) and Lydian (5 + 6), and respectively the Phrygian (3 + 4) and Mixolydian (7 + 8). Or a full session can be given each pair, with possible inclusion of a short vocal work to be sung by those present. (see also chamber organ with singers, instrumentalists)

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