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Track(s) taken from CDA66558

The Carman's Whistle, BK36

composer
Nevell (No 34), Forster (No 19), FVB (No 58), Weelkes (No 46). [Neighbour, p 155]

Davitt Moroney (organ)
Recording details: March 1992
Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone, Essex, United Kingdom
Produced by Edward Kershaw
Engineered by Mike Hatch
Release date: June 2001
Total duration: 4 minutes 14 seconds
 
1

Other recordings available for download

Davitt Moroney (organ)

Reviews

'Here, now, is a clever selection featuring all six of his instruments including the captivating muselar. Essential listening' (BBC Music Magazine)

‘A good compilation, showcasing Moroney’s playing as well as the breadth and richness of Byrd’s output’ (Early Music Review)

‘If your library is in need of some early keyboard works then you need look no further. Without exception the performances are excellent. Highly recommended’ (www.musicteachers)
Thomas Tomkins noted the first phrase of the melody, without mentioning its title, on his list of Lessons of worthe, calling it ‘Another pretty grownd of Mr Byrds’; unfortunately, his copy of the music itself is now lost. By modern definitions it is not really a ground, being based not on a repeating bass pattern but on a varied treble melody, a popular Elizabethan tune in C major (Ionian mode). In Clement Matchett’s manuscript a copying date of 14 August 1612 is given although the work was probably composed some thirty years earlier. It probably dates from the early 1580s. There is also a fine set of variations for two lutes on the same tune, attributed to John Johnson.

Surprisingly, the first statement of the melody is preceded by four bars of introduction, at a lower octave. Then the 12-bar melody itself is heard, an octave higher, followed by eight further variations which alternate 2-part, 3-part and sometimes 4-part imitative passages. In the closing variation, the chordal texture reaches six parts and a satisfying descant is placed above the melody, following the procedure usually found at the end of Byrd’s sets of variations. It is easy to see why this constantly inventive and playful piece was popular in the sixteenth century. It must also have been frequently used as a teaching piece since six of the seven known sources have fingerings. I here play the work entirely at 4’ pitch, an octave higher than usual, a reference to the whistling carman (or carter) of the title; on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century organs and harpsichords the 4’ stop was intended to be occasionally used on its own.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

Thomas Tomkins a noté la première phrase de la mélodie de ces variations, sans mettre le titre, dans sa liste de Lessons of worthe, en l’appelant “Un autre joli ground de Mr Byrd” ; hélas, sa copie du texte musical est perdue. Selon la définition moderne, ce n’est pas vraiment un ground, étant basé non pas sur un schéma répété à la basse, mais sur une mélodie variée dans le dessus tirée d’une chanson populaire élisabéthaine, en ut majeur (mode ionien). Le manuscrit de Clement Matchett porte une date de copie (le 14 août 1612) mais l’œuvre est sans doute composée quelque trente ans plus tôt ; elle daterait des années 1580. Une belle série de variations pour deux luths sur la même melodie est également connue, attribuée à John Johnson.

Le premier énoncé de la mélodie est précédé, inhabituellement, de quatre mesures d’introduction. Vient ensuite la mélodie principale elle-même, une phrase de douze mesures, une octave plus haut, suivie de huit variations qui alternent l’écriture à deux, trois et parfois quatre voix. Dans la dernière variation, la texture en accords est enrichie jusqu’à six voix, et un déchant est placé au-dessus de la mélodie, comme le fait Byrd presque toujours à la fin de ses variations. Il est aisé de comprendre pourquoi cette pièce, si inventive et d’humeur joyeuse, a été populaire au XVIe siècle. Elle a dû être souvent utilisée comme pièce pédagogique car six des sept sources donnent des doigtés. Je la joue ici entièrement à l’octave supérieure, au “quatre pieds”, une référence au “charretier sifflotant” du titre. Au XVIe et XVIIe siècles, les jeux de quatre pieds sur les orgues et les clavecins étaient conçus pour pouvoir être joués seuls, à l’occasion.

extrait des notes rédigées par Davitt Moroney © 1999

Other albums featuring this work

Byrd: The Complete Keyboard Music
CDS44461/77CDs Boxed set (at a special price)
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