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Track(s) taken from CDS44461/7

The Second French Coranto, BK21b

Forster (Nos 2-4). [Neighbour, p 170]

Davitt Moroney (harpsichord)
Recording details: March 1992
Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone, Essex, United Kingdom
Produced by Edward Kershaw
Engineered by Mike Hatch
Release date: September 1999
Total duration: 0 minutes 50 seconds

Cover artwork: Phoenix. A glass window specially designed, made and photographed by Malcolm Crowthers.

All his life, Byrd retained an affection for popular tunes. These three dances in A minor are clearly arrangements (they also survive in a lute version in BL Hirsch M. 1353). It is not known at what date they were written. The titles in Forster draw attention to the French origin of the melodies. The first coranto is melodically and harmonically related to the pavan Belle qui tiens ma vie captive in Thoinot Arbeau’s Orchésographie (1588), which reappears as La coranta, arranged by Morley in his Consort Lessons (1599) and survives complete in the FVB (No 218). The second does also (FVB No 205), but anonymously, without its varied repeats and transposed into D minor.

All three corantos are the same basic length of 24 bars but their structure is not identical: the first is in two 6-bar sections, each of which is followed by a varied repeat (making four 6-bar phrases), while the other two are in three shorter sections, each with its varied repeat (six 4-bar phrases). The first coranto has an extra bar at the end, filled by a sonorous scale down to the low D, possibly suggesting that it originated as an independent work.

from notes by Davitt Moroney © 1999

Toute sa vie, Byrd eut un faible pour les chansons populaires. Ces trois danses en la mineur sont visiblement des arrangements (connues également dans une version pour luth ; voir le manuscrit BL Hirsch M. 1353). Leur date de composition est incertaine. Les titres dans Forster soulignent l’origine française des mélodies. La première coranto a un lien mélodique et harmonique avec la pavane Belle qui tiens ma vie captive dans l’Orchésographie de Thoinot Arbeau (1588). On la retrouve, intitulée La coranta, dans un arrangement de Morley imprimé dans ses Consort Lessons (1599). Une autre version pour clavier existe également dans le FVB (n° 218). La deuxième coranto s’y trouve aussi (FVB, n° 205), mais sans attribution à Byrd, sans les reprises variées et transposée en ré mineur.

Chacune des trois corantos dure vingt-quatre mesures mais leurs structures ne sont pas identiques : la première est en deux parties, chacune de six mesures et suivie d’une reprise variée (ce qui fait quatre phrases de six mesures en tout), tandis que les deux autres sont en trois parties, plus courtes, dont chacune a sa reprise variée (six phrases de quatre mesures). La première coranto a une mesure supplémentaire à la fin, remplie d’une belle gamme qui descend de façon très sonore jusqu’au ré grave, ce qui indique que cette pièce a pu, à l’origine, être une œuvre indépendante.

extrait des notes rédigées par Davitt Moroney © 1999

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