2 Окт 2012 Mikashura 5
76 Yeah, you've heard of BATHORY, 97 ZEAL & ARDOR notch up but what We reckon we can crack him, we just need to find something he can't. In this song, the best thing is an acoustic guitar section with lyrics, smooth mellotron/guitar soundscapes, and darker sections of confusion and. Murray. [Tuning of the World]. The soundscape: our sonic environment and the tuning of the world / R. Murray Schafer. GLENN COOPER IL LIBRO DELLE ANIME DOWNLOAD TORRENT They even implemented Note: This step only needs to no ongoing communication a weekend or. Be deleted from the AE application. Or below the for something usable but has his screensaver on you discovered had been SSH to it be worked upon.
Imagine a top group like that attempting something like this today. The results Remember though that progressive rock in it's highest expression, and make no mistake.. Art is supposed to be evaluated and reflected upon by each individual, and that is why this album has opinions ranging from.. If art and progressive rock are designed to provoke and stimulate.. As far as the album itself. The music has been reviewed to death so I'll just mention a few points on the music.
Each of the 4 movements spotlights a particular aspect of the group. The first movement: Shruitis which contains allusions to the element of Air spotlights vocalist Jon Anderson. The second movement: Suritis alludes to water and spotlights Wakeman. Though Wakeman was not a happy camper during the sessions actually may have done some of his finest work with Yes on this album. A true professional. The third movement: Puranas alludes to earth and is a spotlight for Steve Howe, electric and accoustic.
My favorite movement of the four. The fourth movement: Tantras alludes to fire and is a stunning spotlight for the rhythm section of Squire and White. One point on the music. A commen criticism of the music itself is the alleged padding that took place to get the album to fill all four sides of vinal. In my eyes that is like saying that Rubens uses too much red in his paintings. This album may have been more consise but at what cost.. What some see as filleror padding is to others meerly time for reflection of what has been said and heard and contemplation of what is to come.
A shorter edited album would be In that this album accomplishes in spades. It is in my humble opinion one of the 5 greatest albums of all of prog. Right alongside albums like King Crimson's debut as a milestone in the progression and history of progressive rock. An album capable of showing the beauty of prog, and yes, to some the excesses of prog run amuck. If you don't have an opinon on this album That should be the tag for this album.
An unfortunate blunder in the history of progressive music. It's not so much that the whole album is awful. Some parts are fairly interesting, that is until you realize there is no point to it. If you will notice, the band has lost all concept of transition in their work. Parts come and go for no apparent reason other than to have change. Sounds are just sploched randomly together and the album Tales is what comes out.
This album reminds me of painters who will just throw colors on a page and see what happens. That's about the same analogy for the music found here. The most noticeable thing to me is the horrid guitar tone that is used. The fact that it is used often makes it worse. It's one of the most annoying tone's I've encountered in the history of music.
It's thin and makes you cringe. The bass is also horribly done with heavy vibrations. Then you have the random playing and note selection. It's not even so much that it isn't in unison. I can appreciate bands where the members more or less "do their own thing". Kong is a good example of this.
Here, however, none of this works, everything sounds out of place. A heavy amount of "doodling" is involved on this album. Howe plays with no real purpose, it's not even that its wankery, like Dream Theater mostly is, it's that it sounds like some 14 year old kid in his garage toying around with different notes.
I can record myself playing random notes just fine, anyone want to buy my work? Anyone think it will be a masterpiece of progressive music? Probably not. However, my name is not nearly as recognizeable as Yes is, so I guess I lose in that match. One can certainly sympathize with Wakeman for leaving after this. The best thing about this album is you only have to hit "skip" 4 times and the atrocity is over. Not even recommended for completionists.
Unless you want to explain to all your friends why you have this horrid album in your collection. The album opens with probably my favorite piece of the four tracks, The Revealing Science of God. With the Rhino remaster, the original and more ambient intro was tacked on and it really opens on a mysterious note. The main motif for the song is also very majestic and meanders at a modest pace and never really gets out of hand. The performances from all the musicians is also top notch, with great noodling from Howe and shard and concise basslines from Squire, some great floating keyboards from Wakeman who also reintroduces the main theme from Heart of the Sunrise in one of his keyboard solos , and some top notch and precise drumming from White.
The Remembering is an ok track at best, but it could have been edited heavily as there seems to be a lot of over indulgent work, especially from Howe who gets his own acoustic break in the piece that really seems to go nowhere. It has a nice melody, though, and I'm quite fond of Anderson's vocals on this piece, as well as the many harmony sections. The Ancient is the most senseless and dense piece on this album in my opinion, and it also is much like The Remembering, ok at best.
Although the percussion is at its best a hollowed out log was used during the percussion break if I'm not mistaken and the subject matter of the piece is unlike anything Yes had done at that point, it doesn't really serve any true purpose and there is a lot of filler on the piece.
Ritual, though, redeems those two pieces as my second favorite piece on the album. All the elements are there, a great bass solo break, a great tribal percussion section, some melodic and majestic work from Howe who also reiterates the Close to the Edge main theme on this piece and some very soft spoken and inspired lyrics and vocals from Anderson. In the end, the first and last pieces of the album would be the best, and while the middle pieces had their moments, they could have been heavily edited.
Overall, Tales from Topographic Oceans is the most controversial Yes album and one of the most controversial albums in progressive rock, all of this is opinion of course. As I stated above, the opening and closing tracks are stellar and were well conceived and never really bored me, but the two middle pieces were underwhelming and they could have been heavily edited.
If this album was a single album rather than a double album, I think it would have been given more favorable reviews and wouldn't have been so controversial. If you are a fan of over indulgent and pretentious symphonic rock, then this album will be right up you're alley, but if you don't like songs that meander and don't really come to a sensible conclusion, then you may not like this album.
Me, I'm in the middle. The majesty or pomposity, as some would say , is exactly what I would expect for artists trying to hit the heights of symphonic music. It's actually necessary. Yes delivers full force. Everyone gets to shine, and in many different ways.
Wakeman's keyboards are espescially tasty on "The Revealing Science of God. The only lesser point might be "The Remembering," which does go on a bit. However, It's still a beautiful piece. I just purchased the remaster, and it is even better.
More of the nuances pop out. I can take or leave the bonus tracks, but the sound quality is worth the price. This deserves to be heard in all of its glory. I went many years without hearing this album, and that is a shame. It is terriffic achievement, and should be heard by every prog fan. You don't have to love it, but it must be experienced.
If you are not sure what symphonic prog is, look no further. In fact, if you judge Anderson's words simply by their phonetic value by the way they sound , you may come to the conclusion that the former milkman from Lancashire is a rather effective lyricist. Many parts of this double album most notably on "The Remembering" and "The Ancient" seem bloodless; the originally side-long compositions collapse like an overcooked pudding.
I'm pretty sure that's why Rick Wakeman disliked the album. If the album turns out a failure in part , it's still a noble failure. We shouldn't blame the band for being "pretentious". I agree with Andy Tillison of the Tangent that we should praise them for being ambitious.
Back in the s I thought the dreamy bits in "The Remembering" particularly Rick's melancholic Moog motif, and his extensive synthesizer 'symphony' toward the end of the piece were among the album's highlights. I also thought Jon's singing on "Nous sommes du soleil" was very powerful - but now I feel his vocals goes on for too long. Nowadays I particularly love "Dance of the Dawn", the original first side. On the bus I made the mistake of listening to Yes, and "Dance of the Dawn" moved me so deeply that nothing in the concert hall really touched me - even though the performers were Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
I then realised that, in spite of all their imperfections, Yes had created something very special. I mean, take that passage where Jon sings: "They move fast, they tell me" and "Getting over overhanging trees" - isn't it one of the most wonderfully romantic things Yes have done? I don't know how you'll feel about this album. I grew up with it, much of my teenage longing was intertwined with it, and when I first got to know it, my knowledge of English was limited, so I didn't notice its awkwardness the way a native speaker would.
Maybe YOU will find it too much to take. But in my mind it will always be a true progressive masterpiece. Coming off the success of 'Close to the Edge' 4 UK, 3 US Yes went to an even further extreme by creating something so experimental, and amazing.
Close to the Edge was adventurous but this was something else, four songs, each lingering around the 20 minute mark and exploring something different both conceptually and musically. Jon Anderson got the idea when he was waiting for the band's next concert to start in Tokyo.
While waiting he began to read through Paramhansa Yoganada's "Autobiography of a Yogi" of shastrick scriptures which spoke of religion, social life, medicine, music and architecture. From this the band derived their next concept and the album was recorded just eight months later. They decided to split the album up into four songs each addressing a different aspect of "Yogi.
The Revealing Science of God. The Revealing Science of God is described as being "an ever opening Flower from which simple truths emerge examining the complexities and magic of the past and how we should not forget the song that has been left to us to hear. The knowledge of god is a search. After this there is a slower, more atmospheric section with harmony vocals and a strong underlying bass progression with heavy guitar synthesizer over the top.
The rest of the song progresses in much the same way with mellow sections, rapid sections and then more illustrious passages. The vocals of "Revealing Science of God" flow like clockwork and some great lyrics emerged from this song. Lines like "getting over, over-hanging trees let them rape the forest thoughts will send our fusion clearly to be home" sound beautiful when sung in this song.
The bass and guitar work is amazing here! The Remembering. What we can relate to is our own past, our own life, our own history. Here, it is especially Rick's keyboards which bring alive the ebb and flow and depth of our mind's eye: The Topographic Ocean.
Hopefully we should appreciate that given points in time are not so significant as the nature of what is impressed on the mind, and how it is retained and used. The rolling, mystical atmospheres conjured by synthesizers are otherworldly and the vocals harmonies add to this feel. The opening line "As the silence of seasons on we relive abridge sails as to call light the soul shall sing of the velvet sailors course on" creates an image of a velvet sea in one's mind.
Here Steve's guitar is pivotal in sharpening reflection on the beauties and treasures of lost civilisations. Indian, Chinese, Central American, Atlantean. These other peoples left immense treasures of knowledge. Again, the opening line is fantastic. The last 6 minutes of The song displays some of the best Steve Howe guitar work ever. He plays an acoustic guitar which is backed by vocals from Jon Anderson and Chris Squire who sing in harmony.
The vocals are great in this section and over time one comes to enjoy this part of the album a great deal. The closing to the song leaves it almost unfinished, a minor point though compared to the grandeur of the rest of the song.
Steve Howe is pivotal in this song and his guitar work here is a highlight of the album. The Ritual. Life is a fight between sources of evil and pure love. Alan and Chris represent and relay the struggle out of which comes a positive source. Nous Sommes du soleil. It displays all the characterises that we all love about Yes, including lyrics in different languages! This is a song where the entire band is working together amazingly well; all the instrumentation is done to perfection.
Some of the great Yes music emerged from this song. Many people have trouble absorbing this scale of music, it is really, very intense and a lot to comprehend. For all people beginning with "Tales from Topographic Oceans" I just want to say don't write-off this album.
Give it at least two months to sink in; this music defiantly isn't for prog new comers. I'd recommend "Tales from Topographic Oceans" to all Yes fans and symphonic prog fans. This album is one of the greatest things every written in my opinion, although many disagree on that point. To fully appreciate "Tales from Topographic Oceans" you'll need two things: A good pair of headphones and a quiet room.
The better the headphones and the quieter the room the grander the experience will be. Musically this is quite an achievement, I suppose. I know there is a Buddhist influence of some sort to the lyrics, although I doubt if too many fans at the time or since have really taken the time to try and decipher the meaning, if there is any. It is a pretty pretentious piece of work, full of incessant noodling on the part of Rick Wakeman who has argued repeatedly he never liked the album in the first place , as well as by Steve Howe.
Unfortunately the rest of the album is not as strong. It is what it is. I wonder if this would have been better-received if it had been released prior to Close to the Edge, instead of in the midst of a mids pop and punk explosion. In the end though this is an essential album for Yes fans, and probably for progressive music fans in general. But when considered not just for its historical value, but also for its actual artistic merit, it has to be considered no better than pretty good.
So three stars it is. Complex, challenging, pretentious, self-indulgent Do not expect to bowled over by this one at first listening. In fact a reasonable reaction may be "what a load of pretentious BS".
Then you go back to it Twenty-five years after buying the double album it still captivates me. This is my favourite Yes album, but it took me about 10 years to come round to that conclusion. It's an absolute essential in any self-respecting prog collection.
As for the music: since each track is one side I find it difficult to pin down a suitable decsription: these are not Sibelian Tone Poems but that's the closest parallel I can think of. I'm so sad I went out and grabbed an old copy of the Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yoganada, just to read the footnote. BTW I'm none the wiser. Ritual is a classic, Nous Sommes du Soleil is another: The Ancients never quite hit the right buttons for me.
Tales From Topagraphic Oceans came after the prog masterpiece Close to the Edge and, perhaps just as important, Bill Bruford's departure. His replacement was Alan White, an exceptional drummer who had an unenviable task. The rest of the lineup remained the same, and Jon and Steve set out to write an ambitious follow up. The decided to adapt Hindu Shastric texts into four extended pieces, each taking up one side of vinyl. Each song deals with a section of text.
Upon the first listen, I noticed a few things. First the positive: Steve Howe's guitar dominates this album in a way it never has before or since. Rick Wakeman contributes some truly dizzying passages. Now the negative: Chris Squire's bass has been relegated to the back by Steve's new dominance.
Jon Anderson's vocals, though far from bad, aren't as beautiful as those on previous records. Alan's kitwork lacks the originality of Bruford's, though he displays a lot of skill. The most negative thing about the record is that, with the exception of the stunning opener, it's boring. Each suite gets bogged down with technical displays. Yes always knew where to draw the line between over the top and just downright ridiculous, and they pole- vaulted over the line on this album.
The best method for listening to this, as others have stated, is to spend time on each song, but that severely detracts from the album's cohesiveness. The concept is completely lost if you have to listen to each song several times before advancing.
You feel like you're playing some role playing game, not listening to music. This album can be enjoyed by fans I've come to like it , but the failed concept makes The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway look almost perfect. If you are new to Yes, do NOT start with this. It is true to say that if they had stuck to a single album my original one being a double vinyl they should have produced another masterpiece. Actually, the first LP is absolutely gorgeous. Incredible bass and guitar playing, subtle keys and great, great emotional vocals.
There are less musical passges than average here, so the amount of text to be remembered hence "The Remembering? You'd better not suffer from Alzheimer to perform that one. This reminds me of a comment from Ian Anderson saying that they were scared to S H I T before their supporting tour for "Thick" because they were afraid to forget something. I guess Jon the other Anderson must have felt this as well.
Unfortunately, the second disc, is way behind. Fortunately, it is the shortest track still over eighteen minutes! But the song has also its weaks : a quite dull section that will last for almost three minutes with some "percussion" work from 14'15 through 17' It is a pure marvel of almost five minutes. It is the core of the inspiration of a future epic to come : "Gates Of Delirium" and its wonderful closing section "Soon". I can only advise one thing : if you can get hold of the remastered version, there is an alternate version for "The Revealing Science Of God" which is really worth and almost on par with the final one.
I only had wished that instead of a studio run-through for "Giants Under The Sun" The Ancient" which is as boring as the final version, they would instead add an alternate version of "The Remembering". But maybe this was not available. With this remastered version, you'll get an additional forty minutes of TFTO. Isn't it great? Four stars. And the follow up to their masterpiece, the epic "Close to the Edge".
Difficult to resist However, after the catchy first minutes of "The Revealing Science Of God", the whole disc starts a mad enterprise. The tracks are filled with nonsense, chaotic vocals, inappropriate musical changements without transitions Just too difficult, too complex to follow The tracks could have been divided, there would not have been a great difference, but here pieces of themes are just assembled together to "make a 20 minutes suite" The other two tracks are more ambient.
This controversial album gathers nearly all the elements which make people hermetic to progressive rock. After several listens, it reveals however some nice passages. If you are new to YES or progressive rock, do not start with this album.
We are in YES is at it's peak musically and commercially! Concerts are sold-out. Each memeber less newly arrived Alan White is on top of any music poll for favorite artist in their own category. They are on the cover of every music magazine in the world!
They are the face of prog! So what can go wrong with them?? What is the cause of this uproar? YES have gone too far, to keep it simple; they have supposedly become fat, indigest, pompous, pretentious and other nice names. For others, TFTO is the pinnacle of music and a major prog achievement.
So who holds the truth? Let's find it somewhere in between. I think this is the story that 4 20mns long ''epics'' that could have been 10 mns each long and would have produced another masterpiece, or better some songs could have used some editing, but it would have made more of a 3 sides album.
I don't agree with the critics saying it's pompous or pretentious as if there is one thing prog music is allowed to is to be pompous. Otherwise, listen to Sex Pistols. Because of those weaknesses, i cannot give the full 5 stars as it's not perfet, nonetheless it's a great album, thus i give 4 stars. Let's be honest! The lyrics are even more obtuse and confusing then on previous works, with a concept that is apparently too incomprehensible for my little brain to handle.
But that doesn't really bother me and it's not the reason I would give this a better-than-average rating. For some people it might be an issue. If this is you, you've been warned. My main reason for a lower rating is chiefly the music.
Long parts of the songs seem like they were not thought out real well and the overall performance seems more forced than anything else. Plus, it takes some time to digest this work. Tales from Topographic Oceans is more or less a big mixed bag. And that is clearly noticed from reading the reviews presented here at Prog Archives which run the gamut from one star to five.
I really like part of it, part of it I can't sit through. Three stars good, but non-essential seems to be a fair rating to me. Definitely worthwhile for Yes fans. The music of this album is definately the most spacey Yes will ever get, with Wakeman experimenting with more synthesizers and the new member Alan White with his mellower drum style than the very energetic Bruford. This album is a major breakthrough album for Steve soloing wise. In earlier studio albums Steve has never really been able to show off his real skill in his solo's, Starship trooper he has a typical classic rock solo, in Fragile he shows his skill with a classical guitar, and in close h the edge he has a very bad electric solo on siberian khatru.
On this album though, he has a very descent solo on each song without him being rushed to get it over with, and not too long and drawn out, but his best song electically is obviously The ritual. Besides Steve, everyone in the bands gets a very nice lead line at least once. Wakeman has one on the opening track that is awesome and for once isnt an organ solo, but this is his only one on the whole album Chris and Alan each get some solo time on the ritual, making the song the most pretensious.
The songs themselves are very mellow and melodic, occasionally building up into an exciting climax, but dont get your hopes up for an aggressive album if you catch my drift. The opening song, the revealing science of God, is excellent, with a really cool vocal opening, then an awesome keyboard riff, this song probably is the most uh The next song, the remembering, is my favirote, it's very easily the most laid back and most resticted, barely more than an easy keyboard ebb and flow keep this song moving, absolutely awesome, this just shows that Yes can get away with awesome music without being overly pretensious.
The second half is obviously more experimental and aggressive. Starting this second song is the ancient giants under the sun, probably the most experimental, and my least favirote with the first twelve minuetes being an ear piercing slide guitar and caceman drums. The song does eventually save itself with a beautiful second half of Steve Howe classical guitar and Jon Andersons amazing flowing voice preaching anti war and vegitarianism.
The last song, and certainly not the least is the ritual, basicall all it is is a pattern of solo's with some singing here and there. Myfavirote solo is probably Squires first solo on the fourth minuete. A good album that would set the dividing line between early seventies Yes and ltter seventies Yes.
This poor album was beaton to the point of where it was considered the reason why prog left the mainstream. I dont think that way though I rather think it's a solid I didn't like this then, and I don't like it now. In order to enjoy the music presented on Tales, I would think that the listener's blood saturation of THC would necessarily need to be at a level that would render said listener somnolent, if not catatonic. Not that there aren't beautiful musical moments here. The Ancient is a bit better, but still not up to the standard Yes set on their previous releases.
Ritual resorts to recycling riffs from Close To The Edge, and still goes nowhere. If Yes had not been at the top of their commercial popularity at the time, I'm fairly certain the label execs would have never released this one. I take exception with the critics of the time, who bemoaned the "self indulgence" of Tales.
Self indulgence is not the problem here. The problem is that there's no compelling music. I didn't listen to the critics, I listened to the 80 or so minutes of music here, and I never bought another Yes album. You have to have a lot of patience and time to enjoy it all. Better get to it bit by bit. I found it too tedious, even for a Yes maniac like me. It contains four lengthy pieces, close to or over 20 minutes long, each caught with one of shastras' classes.
My opinion on this album is that Yes' were in such a creative orgasm at the time, that they couldn't do wrong by recording and releasing such a super-ambitious project. In fact the opening disc with ''The revealing science of God'' and ''The remembering'' sounds almost flawless to my ears.
It's certainly exaggerate, symph-based Progressive Rock, but contains tons of brilliant moments, it's one of these rare times that superficial ego's are good with the composing levels. No less than two excellent, multi-parted suites with atmospheric textures, surprising time signatures, symphonic orchestrations and irritating mono- and multi-vocal harmonies. Superb guitar work by Howe, just listen to his lovely acoustic spices, no doubt his electric bursts are beautiful and complicated as well, and even Rick Wakeman, who ended up close to refer to the album as the bottom of the barrel, performs amazingly with some incredible Mellotron, organ and synth flashing, and those flute strings are really awesome.
There are no trully bombastic orchestrations to be found, but the material is extremely rich, personal and inventive. I don't know if this the best composition in here actually, but I love the sound and arrangements, Squire's bass is awesome and White comes as a real monster behind its kit with his proulsive drumming. And those soft atmospheres and spiritual soundscapes changing with the emphatic, complex symphonicism is mind-blowing to say the least.
I really like this work. Three out of the four tracks belong among Yes' top 10 highlights in my opinion, even ''The ancient'' contains some nice stuff as well, despite being too experimental. Highly recommended, I won't say this is a masterpiece, but it's Progressive Rock at its most epic delivery. Jon Anderson's tedious elf-turned-Hindu mantra drags some for the first of four minute tracks but gives way to Rick Wakeman's squealing synthesizers, the band gradually chiming in-- Squire's sure right hand, Alan White's easy beat, and the gentle drops and volume swells from Steve Howe.
It moves on with a springy jam and returns to contemplate and repeat this trade-off. Though always incredibly tight, there are times that feel as if they are making things up as they go, hopping between rockin' drives, dressed-up samba, quiet beach-combing, and invocations of their past with hints of 'Roundabout' here and there.
Anderson's commentary on songwriting is a nice break from the shastrick scriptures, and Wakeman's application of the mellotron is just right, serving as a subtle gap-filler. Part two, 'The Remembering', starts as a good vocal showcase though could have been trimmed in half and been just as effective , has an upbeat acoustic middle, typically hot playing and revamps the main theme before a big, swelling finish.
This was symphonic rock like no one had done and I have little doubt even Beethoven would notice, at least enough to roll over. A hot vibraphone sound and Howe's piercing slide grabs the throat for the third movement, 'The Ancient', more echoes of previous work including a beautiful classical solo from Steve that mirrors 'Clap' , compelling redirections, atonal play and wonderfully goofy experiments, making the second disc as interesting as the first.
And 'Ritual' is strong, taking its time with more deconstructions, rich vocals, percussive interludes, and wrapping things up with an arrangement that makes it hard to believe it was just the five of them. Sure not every moment here will appeal to all people all of the time, but that misses the point entirely.
This album is to be taken as a whole, a single entity that may seem excessive but, like a long trip or thick novel, it's the journey that matters as much as the net gain. There are some truly exceptional moments to discover here The group choose to focus on high-creativity instead of high-energy, loosing the perfect balance they had attained in their previous three albums.
The result are two discs worth of slow, meandering songs which only occasionally catch one's attention, but when they do are really something else. One cannot acknowledge that the band is in fine form, shining most in the delicate textures displayed throughout the album rather than the occasional outbursts of rock which come across as obtrusive to the soundscapes. Because of this, I place TFTO in the realm of: exceptional background music, suitable more for busying oneself in mental or creative tasks than demanding one's attention.
I acknowledge the ambition this release represents-- it's nothing short of sprawling, but many listeners will find themselves enjoying Yes' other more exciting and equally creative releases more than this one. Both in excesses and successes, the album stands out as a much more expansive and challenging one than Yes' two preceding efforts, and the combination of superb musicianship, the slaughtering of conventional structures, semi- or entirely- nonsensical lyrical material, and an ambition at producing a more primal creature than Close To The Edge without any realism whatsoever included.
These make the album pretty much the essence of longer instrumental-based prog, and a huge target for some mainstream critics. The playing, of course, is good to stunning, with Howe contributing superb acoustic and electric guitar as well as lute and White stepping up to the challenge of taking over from Bruford while not aping him. Squire provides some of his finest bass-work, distinctive and potent throughout, with a couple of superb bass solos making an appearance.
Jon Anderson is fairly capable throughout, though in a couple of spots he fails to get the menace demanded by the music. Still, his vocal performances are generally distinctive and good. The Yes harmonies, naturally, take their place on the album gracefully. Despite this excellent playing, I initially did not get the album at all, considering it nonsensical, boring, not worthy of CTTE and generally despicable. However, going back to it after a little while spent developing my musical tastes and ear, I later found it incredibly and inexplicably stunning.
This is an album which demands attention and to be listened to in full, and with the energy to engage with and explore its depth. Not casual listening. Thunderous rumbling and gentle keys build up a watery, swirling atmosphere, moving to calm when John Anderson's vocal enters, slowly building tension with the strung-together syllables and words. This gradually and brilliantly builds up to the potent bass solo on the line 'Endless caresses for the freedom of life everlasting'.
Steve Howe then enters with confusing guitar, and the band really kick off as a whole. A more rock-based section ensues, with Alan White's percussion standing out especially. Anderson contributes an excellent set of vocals and suitably cryptic lyrics about a search for God or meaning.
The harmonies mesh together very neatly, and the piece hums around calmly before shifting into a much faster-paced being replete with Howe soloing and killer rhythm section. Wakeman's keys, slippery and deliberately un-fixed, remain a constant through most of the song, including a softer and slower repeat of the music for earlier sections.
Lush mellotron, ARP synths, some form of piano and just about every imaginable keyboard sound turns up to good effect. Of especial mind-blowing beauty is the soft guitar solo-based section with flutey keys which takes over at about Of similar wow factor, though of completely different style, is a Wakeman keyboard solo.
The piece finally disappears after its range of treats on a mysterious note. In all this, the band handle very sudden changes in tempo and rhythm flawlessly, moving between a vast array of sounds with a couple of constants evoking the search.
The musicianship on this particular piece is truly phenomenal, and, with all members of the band contributing with full verve and energy, it could never have failed to be stunning. Flute makes an appearance, as do lute and all sorts of keys, though more conservative and 'normally' used than on the opener.
Squire plays more slowly on a less edgy bass, which does suit the piece but at the same time doesn't feel quite right for a Yes song. The vocals carefully twist and deliberately overstay the bounds they've set for themselves, occasionally dragging the music along with them for surprise value. A mandolin-like guitar sound produces a more slippery atmosphere. There are some very clever examples of the music taking completely unexpected turns, and foreshadowing explosions that never happen.
Wakeman's keys are probably the standout on the piece, with the multiple vocals coming second. A range of ideas are explored within the general theme of memory and a 'universal' memory, occasionally resurfacing several times. The entire piece doesn't always work for me musically, but most of it definitely does, and the cleverness of the way the concept is explored is always something to chew on during the bits I don't love for their own merit.
Objectively another masterpiece song, though not always my thing. Here the intent is to go beyond sense, logic and memory to create whatever was before that. Naturally, this idea is pretentious both in the concept and in the execution with the unfortunate decision to recite a list of names and places in various languages, most comprehensibly sol - sun and Ilios - Troy.
Howe is an outstandingly dissonant guitarist and sitarist in this section, and the general chaos and energy of the first part of the piece is only spoiled by Anderson's pretentious moping and a rather more generic set of keys. From this chaos appears Howe's interesting and emotional acoustic guitar accompanied loosely by an acoustic bass and a more substantial vocal from Anderson. The wonderful Spanish-with-just-a-touch-of-dissonance nature of his acoustic solo here gets me every time and it is naturally vital listening for fans of Mood For A Day.
Considering that my main reason for admiring Howe's guitar-work is merely that he can handle an acoustic properly and emotionally without sliding into the realm of the generic, this part of the song is a delight for me every time.
The song runs madly to its conclusion with a very odd juxtaposition of the forceful riff of the first part, sitar and screeching guitar. A flawed masterpiece in all its glory. Nous Sommes Du Soleil is the coherent and searching conclusion demanded by the conceptual scale of the album.
A thick bass thing opens the piece, which spotlights White and Squire very frequently. Squire, in particular, is a blur receding into the distance on the bass for the entire piece, providing a couple of especially fine solos. Wakeman echoes some of the key sounds on the opener to give us a denser feeling of conclusion and of a cycle. Vocals are densely merged to produce a more tight, warm and communal piece, and the development of the band towards The Gates Of Delirium is at times obvious.
A blues-esque faux-conclusion shifts to a percussion showcase with a saw in the background, if I'm not mistaken , which could perhaps be the best thing I've so far heard from Alan White. Haunting keys loom in the background before the piece moves to a softer conclusion.
Howe provides an electro-acoustic thing, while the Caped One moves to a piano for the acoustic, natural conclusion. Naturally, this is not the end, and a stunning Howe solo and more liquid textures conclude the album indecisively. This piece is probably the one I've got the least to say about, since it's more of a musicianship-based rock piece than the other more imagination-based pieces. Has to be heard to be understood. Again, great piece of music. The bonus material isn't especially good, with the most interesting aspect being Wakeman's keys on the alternate mix of Dance Of The Dawn.
Anderson's vocals are too thin on that version, however, to make it listenable, and the album as it is is long enough to discourage me from listening any further. Probably not worth a repurchase for them unless you really love the album and the band. Of course, this is a masterpiece.
Pretentious, yes, a mess, probably, but a masterpiece. Anyone who claims interest in prog rock should own it, and should take a while to make up their minds about it. If at first it doesn't stick, persevere, and if then it doesn't stick, put aside an hour and a half to listening to it once you've left it on the shelf for a month or two. If you then get it, the time and effort will have been worthwhile.
Not to be missed. Also as I mentioned earlier the guitar work of Howe and the mellotron from Wakeman on this song is outstanding. I just don't like the song. Some nice intricate guitar melodies follow. Howe again shines after 17 minutes. I like the way the song builds to a climax with an instrumental section to follow. White solos 15 minutes in.
Mellotron follows while White still pounds away. Mellotron ends it. This is my favourite track on here. So I guess i'm not sold on this one, but that's ok because these guys have so many amazing records that I do love. Some people love this album, while some people hate it. I fall somewhere between these two extremes. I think there is no denying that all the four songs, or movements, are a bit too long for their own good. This especially applies to the second and third movements.
But there is also no denying that there are some truly excellent moments on this album. My personal favourite is The Revealing Science Of God, what a truly unique sound and feeling this song has! While listening to it, it often feels as if it was recorded at the bottom of the ocean!
Rick Wakeman's keyboard solo towards the end is one of his best ever, and it has a totally unique sound. The way he can make his keyboards sound like waves is totally amazing. Steve Howe' guitar sound is, again, totally unique and Jon throws in some of his best vocal moments ever. Chris is great as always and Alan White does his studio debut with the band on this album and he fitted the band like a glove. Some drum parts are amazing and sound, again, as if they were recorded under water!
I mean that in a good way, if that makes sense! I don't really miss Bruford at all here. This is not Yes' best album, but it is clearly an essential one for all Yes fans and it is totally here's that word again unique - I have never heard anything like this before or since. Are these guys really from the same planet I'm from? If you haven't heard this album yet, you are in for quite a ride but with some less than great moments social review comments Review Permalink Posted Wednesday, July 16, Review this album Report Review All the excesses of bands like ELP were surpassed by an album with just 4 songs, each about 20 minutes long.
What followed was a negative reaction of many critics and fans who thought that YES just had gone "over the edge" of pretentiousness and pomposity. Many of them actually turned into the much less demanding, musically-poor arenas of punk rock, in evident contrast to the symphonic exaggerations of prog-rock.
For a lot of people, this album is not as great as other YES' albums just because of that. It's my opinion, though, that the album is inferior to earlier and later albums because it's actually a bad album. It doesn't matter that we just have 4 songs. After all, "Close to The Edge" only had three, and while two of them were "only" 10 minutes-long, that's much longer than the average song length. The problem really is that these 4 gigantic tracks in this album are lacking excitement, entertainment value, and if they try to aim for higher artistic status, they fail miserably.
The first track, which may be the least horrible of the four, never quite makes up its mind about what it truly is. It's never a full-blown symphonic effort as "Close to The Edge", nor is it a long song made of several parts. Themes lack character and the song itself is an exercise in boredom, even though it towers over its awful companions.
The second track, "The Remembering", features some incredibly obnoxious vocals as is the rule in this album, where Andersons seems to have decided to annoy us for annoyance's sake and it's quite irrelevant. But the disaster really takes place in the third track, "The Ancient Giants Under the Sun", which is the longest boring-track ever recorded.
Some bands record boring songs that last 5, 8, even 14 minutes, but YES had to overdo it and record an 18 minute song with absolutely zero coherence, no themes or tunes, and some useless percussion effects and rhythms disguised as "experimental". The album closes with a fourth number that it's actually better than the preceding two but, then again, any song from "The Yes Album" which I think it's just an OK record would have done better.
We shouldn't say anything about the musicians as they all had proven their capabilities before. But all that was done for a reason in previous albums seems to be devoid of one here. It's like the musicians play all kinds of solos here just because, well, they could , not because it served the songs better. Wakeman is all but forgotten in this record he shows he was not really pleased with YES' direction , Squire doesn't amaze us with great bass lines, White is OK but the percussion-oriented third track is atrocious, and Howe usually the most reliable of the lot, only manages to shine with his textures and his acoustic-guitar solo which, by the way, is the only exciting moment in the record as it would seem that "Roundabout" was going to start any second now.
Obviously, that doesn't happen, but it's very telling that a look to the past is the only passage when this album emerges from utter mediocrity. Unlike an album like "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" by GENESIS which would have benefited from a trimming job, as it was a flawed masterpiece, no amount of editing or no miraculous scissors would have ever saved "Tales From Topographic Oceans", as it lacks the ultimate essence of any good album: good music.
But the real rating would be 1. There are those who blame this album for the decline and fall of prog rock. Life is never that simple, of course. The reason for the retreat of prog rock from the limelight had little to do with any specific album and far more to do with large-scale social forces.
However, we humans aren't generally patient enough to work through the complexities of such change, so we choose a scapegoat, a symbol that takes the blame that ought to be borne more widely. It is the scapegoat because, in the eyes of many, it simply went too far. From one album to the next YES went from being the champions of heavy symphonic rock to an outfit that didn't know where to draw the line.
Having drawn widespread acclaim with their three-song masterpiece 'Close To The Edge', they took the concept of one track per side and spread it over four sides of vinyl. Moreover, they stretched tracks that might previously have provided five or ten minutes' worth of god-like YES music into self-indulgent, overweight twenty minute marshmallows with no substance.
This is YES in decline, desperately trying to paper over the cracks of a band at each other's throats, dominated by ANDERSON's incomprehensible conceptual leanings, rapidly becoming an embarrassing parody of itself. This set the scene for the widespread scorn rock critics began to show towards prog rock, and this album was therefore instrumental in public rejection of the genre.
I intend to offer a spirited defense of this album's place in the list of the true great moments of the genre. In and YES had peeled off a triple-play of incomprehensible brilliance. All three albums occupied much the same musical space: jazz-tinged symphonic prog, dominated by dramatic extended compositions led by an unequalled rhythm section, each song reaching a fiery climax.
Compositionally brilliant, with tight musicianship, the band had by this point a sequence of mighty achievements under their belts. Drawing deeply from their early psychedelic roots, borrowing from Asian musical tradition and scriptures, and - perhaps most importantly - from their own earlier repertoire, the band created an eighty minute musical melange that, rather unfortunately for their career, defies easy categorisation.
The result, for better or worse, was 'Tales From Topographic Oceans'. The basic shape of the album is thus: the first and last tracks are symphonic pieces in the mold of 'Close to the Edge', though with important differences, while the second track is less easy to pigeonhole, with large quiet, almost ambient sections, and the third track is experimental, filled with Asian sounds and difficult rhythms, much less of a song and much more of a soundscape.
It seems to me it is the first ten minutes of 'The Remembering' - before the 'Relayer' chorus - and all but the last few minutes of 'The Ancient' that give listeners the most trouble. To which I can only respond that these listeners have not understood the nature of the music they are listening to. By all means choose not to like them - I'm not sure I 'like' either section myself - but long ambient soundscapes and rhythms and sounds from other musical traditions in other words, the addition of other musical genres to rock are exactly the sort of things that made prog what it is.
That's what had separated me from YES. I contend that, by doing so, they did not help to kill prog. Instead, they helped keep it alive. I apologise for taking up so much of your time with this argument, and I'll happily admit that it is only a point of view.
But I hope my passion for this record will help some people see how essential an album 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' is in the YES canon, and in prog rock, whether it appeals to you or not. One further point. Do anything you can to get hold of Elektra's remaster: not for the 'bonus' tracks, but for the vastly improved sound.
One of the major difficulties with the original record was the production, which was rather muddy and knocked the highlights out of the music, further obscuring an underpowered rhythm section. The remaster addresses this. It really is like listening to a new recording. Aside from the overt spirituality, what's of interest here is the reappearance of the 'sharp' and 'distance' motifs from 'Heart of the Sunrise', the first of many such moments on this album.
This section builds slowly with the addition of harmonies and notably the intense, shrill synth, and segues into a typically wonderful YES melody. The new order is already clear: melody has taken over from rhythm. This is the single greatest difference between this record and its predecessors.
In particular, STEVE HOWE dominates: his guitar colourings, where he makes the notes sound as though they are squeezed reluctantly from the instrument, are the feature of the record. The greatness of this album does not come from the rhythm section. This record is about beauty, not power. That said, the beauty is - well, staggeringly, sublimely beautiful. And after nine splendid minutes, we move into the next section, with more dynamism and the use of the same opposed two-word lyric lines made famous in 'Siberian Khatru'.
YES continue to evoke their own past as they march into the future. The 'rape the forest' lyric follows, another superb section, followed by a return to the dynamic two-word lyric section. This is a symphonic epic on steroids, not a wasted moment - and oh, listen to the rising and falling mellotron at the fourteen minute mark. More beauty follows, with a heart-wrenching section at fifteen minutes the 'glory to sons' section , the inevitable calm before the storm of the finale.
YES are the best in the business at these high points, and this is another guaranteed not to disappoint. All a passionate reviewer can offer is yet more adjectives in praise of the music. I cannot understand why this song does not gather the praise it is due - well, I do, given its context. You see, even proggers didn't have unlimited patience. The drawn out psychedelic noodling of 'The Remembering' swiftly erases the glory of the previous track from the listener's mind.
I explore how civic community, identity, and subjection surrounding the Wars of Religion related to affective musical practices in and around the city. I query how music was involved in constructing and shattering community, both through voluntary and forced means. Towards this end, this dissertation makes use of a large archive of material that has long been ignored by Renaissance musicologists, in part because the musical aesthetic associated with it has been deemed unappealing.
Much of the music is quite simple; some has to be imagined. In exploring ephemeral events, I often rely on traces of musical practices that come across as aesthetically mundane. But familiarity is sticky, and what I seek in this dissertation are affects that sometimes briefly clung to musics. By centering discussion on popular theatre, street songs, and processions, this study foregrounds the ephemeral, the performed, and the anonymous.
While this emotional community stretched across economic strata, it definitively privileged elite members; as a community, it was constituted by boundaries and exclusion. Attempting to instill unity, members developed what I call techniques of communitas — or practices that were valued within the Lyonnais emotional community for the ways in which they helped to cultivate adequate citizens.
I demonstrate how, in both of these publications, Aneau made use of the stickiness of techniques of communitas in order to propagate elite displays of Lyonnais community feeling via musical theatrics. By the time Aneau published his Genethliac, these same techniques that had aimed to articulate a broad Christian community in Lyon had begun to be deployed divisively along confessional lines.
This elite print is then set into relief by examining how it relates to more popular circulation of the same poems. Studying this early period offers an amended view of how official and unofficial narratives were disseminated, a circulatory process that indexes the musicality of how the theatre of martyrdom was memorialized. In Lyon, as in much of France, printed polemical songs grew rapidly with the rise of the Catholic League, amidst the burgeoning corpus of invective literature.
I examine specific instances where political elites staged poor processions at the most tumultuous moments of the Wars of Religion in order to mark out their political-spiritual position in key spaces of the city. In peculiar parallel with the royal entries and penitential processions that spatialized power and confessional allegiance in the sixteenth century, these poor processions clamorously demarcated points of economic and spiritual significance, thus claiming civic space.
This rhetoric was exacerbated when Protestants began to be attacked as a contagion infecting the body social during the Wars of Religion. This chapter argues that the enforced musical processions were part of a hyper-marking of the poor that sought to benefit from the impoverished in an economy of faith in which the poor had a special supplicatory connection to Christ.
Propagated through the Lyonnais populace in polemical song, affect made for subjection. Because, to tell the truth, it was a straight up faerie. And so, to be safe, the city council also bribed the enfants with gifts of wine and hams. In order to greet the king in splendor, the city had to borrow substantially; the entry alone drew upwards of , livres of debt.
Such ancient allusions emerged from an expanding interest in humanistic practices in the city. Similarly, the theatre that was incorporated into the entry tended towards the medieval-allegorical, to which were added some humanistic Arcadian scenes. Et de la Royne Catherine son espouse Paris: pour B. When groups were excluded this was a sign of their lack of political power — as was the case in when neither the Genoese who had a rivalry with the Florentines , nor the Catholic clergy who had a rivalry with the enfants de la ville appeared in the procession.
Thus it is often a social community. His triple performance is unique in the history of the Saint Thomas sermon, as even Symphorien Champier was only asked to give the sermon twice. Champion, , This was a community that was constituted by exclusion and defined by Christian cosmologies and epistemologies. It kept Jews, Muslims, and other Others at bay, even whilst they resided within. As such, this chapter focuses on how instances of Lyonnais emotional community were articulated in the decades preceding the Wars of Religion.
These wars would create unprecedented cleavages within the city, but even before their formal onset in , the emotional community of Lyon was by no means a unified, harmonious organism. Prominent contingents in the community did, nevertheless, strive for communitas, and with increasing urgency as confessional tensions mounted.
By focusing on a broad body of believers from diverse social and economics ranks, this chapter examines how this Lyonnais community joined together as participants and observers in public ceremonial and performance. In such displays of communitas certain bodies were definitively privileged: the elite were more likely to act in certain spectacles, while the menu peuple were more frequently onlookers. The Lyonnais emotional community also shifted frames continually; it remained, nonetheless, dually defined by religious practice and a sense of civic identity.
Music and theatre offer a particularly important access point through which to consider this Lyonnais community in the early decades of the sixteenth century. For, as I will explore, most theatre in early modern France was staged by a community — sometimes even an entire town. Community theatre in this period had the potential to transform or reinforce roles and behaviors through public spectacles performed by community members. Music was not only an important part of such theatre; as this chapter will demonstrate, music also carried the mores, references, and potency of theatrical experience into everyday life.
This chapter thus emphasizes the importance of theatre and music in performing the boundaries of the Lyonnais emotional community. The affective techniques of mimesis and the ludics of musicking and theatrical practice helped to form and perform community membership. People watched and people listened as their neighbors impersonated characters that were integral to local Christian ways of being. Plays domesticated the Holy by having figures like Joseph, Mary, or even Jesus act out current community mores, and by incorporating quotidian contemporary references into biblical actions.
Techniques of communitas were meant to intervene on ontology in order to help form adequate or ideal community subjects. Communitas is the implicit law of wholeness arising out of relations between totalities. But communitas is intrinsically dynamic, never quite being realized.
It is not being realized precisely because individuals and collectivities try to impose their cognitive schemas on one another. Communitas was, indeed, constantly sought out; and techniques that aimed at making it manifest were developed with enthusiasm in the early decades of the sixteenth century in Lyon. Some techniques of communitas followed established practices, while others were innovative means of bringing together and performing an emotional community.
Such goals solicited means. Importantly, the techniques that I examine were not bound to the material remnants of their practice upon which this research is necessarily based. The techniques of communitas that manifested in musical theater, for instance, have to be read for the most part from prints that were unlikely to have been part of performances; coming after the fact, they instead transformed acted theatre into literature.
Similarly, the material traces that we have of the noels that musically orient this chapter were always-already based on oral practices; their written texts instantiated a fluid form of literacy, one marked by perpetual movement between aural and visual, song and ink. Even the emblem books that were linked to these above genres, defined as they were by their use of images, nonetheless demanded techniques of communitas 37 Victor Turner, The Anthropology of Performance New York: PAJ Publications, , As Rosenwein argues, multiple emotional communities tend to co-exist.
Their experiences across these communities no doubt varied substantially, and informed the way in which they performed belonging within the larger Lyonnais emotional community. As a European trade hub, Lyon was a city full of migrants from all social classes, estrangers both from within France and from without.
The prosperous Luccese and Florentine nations, for one, developed entire structures of intermarriage, social collectivities, and religious institutions that still architecturally mark the cityscape of Lyon today. These smaller communities were bound not only by shared origins, but also by trade and profession, as groups formed into confraternities for mutual protection, publicly performing their sodality through festal celebrations.
As confessional tensions began to rise, the extant ways that people had of articulating Christian communities — like processions, theatre, and music — began to generate increasingly inflammatory affect. But in the early part of the century, these modes were as yet exclusionary, but not necessarily incendiary. Though recovering its traces may prove challenging, music was also thoroughly entwined with theatrical practice.
While Paris would come to dominate the theatre of the later seventeenth century, in the sixteenth, the provinces witnessed a wealth of productions. Alan Hindley Turnhout: Brepols, , Champion, This play was not just a depiction of the Passion, but also narrated episodes from the Fall, through the experience of Limbo, the Nativity sequence, the Ministry, and the Resurrection. From the outset, the motivation for incorporating theatre into worship was to move the congregation emotionally.
In his ground- breaking monograph, Music in the French Secular Theatre, , Howard Mayer Brown argued that by the early modern period, music had lost its leading role, and had become just another decorative element in these spectacles — though surely one that added luster. These productions emerged from a much longer lay interest in theatre, albeit one that had originally been on a much smaller scale. Because of the process by which they were created, almost all of the manuscripts and prints are unica.
For such productions, a fair copy of the final version would be drawn up, and from this, performance copies would be written out: rolles literally, long rolls would be prepared for each actor, containing only his part and the final lines of those preceding each of his lines; a part would also be written out for the meneur du jeu, containing detailed stage directions, and only the first and last lines of each speech.
The result was that if songs were not a direct part of the dialogue, their traces basically disappeared from the repertoire. The songs featured in French plays of the period were by and large contrafacta of popular songs. The collaborative nature of song writing for plays — where a playwright wrote the words, and a music-writer the music — for one, meant that they would often pragmatically be written on a separate sheet or pamphlet. Timbres commonly moved between these theatrical genres, a logical practice given the tendency for the same authors to write across sacred and secular genres.
In performance, moreover, groups who were specially designated as sacred players shifted between the religious and the profane. Furthermore, the integration of contemporary urban life into representation of the Holy actually acted out a sense that people in the present were in communitas with biblical characters.
Theatre, in this way, was not just informed by contemporary life, but also possessed a potent capacity to act upon it. Theatre in early modern France made such processes explicit, particularly with genres like miracles, which focused on transgressive behavior. These plays followed a basic teleology that moved from a morally unacceptable act by a member of the community, to the intervention of the Virgin Mary, and the consequent restoration of social cohesion.
The extent to which theatrical action could affect community life remains an integral question in historical work on early modern France. MacAloon, ed. In many communities, charivaris could become particularly violent when the marriage in question involved an extreme age difference between husband and wife. These attacks were based within the problem of availability, as the older man would be seen as unfairly removing a young lady from a limited pool of potential wives.
As Natalie Zemon Davis has argued, charivaris became less focused on this issue by the sixteenth century in urban centers like Lyon, as young men had access to a greater number of marriageable candidates in the city. Inappropriate age differences remained policed, however, though with less urgency.
See Society and Culture, Scheuring, , See That the theatre was able to run for over a year is in itself impressive, however, given how much it challenged prevailing social and institutional practice. As Dentzer argues, Neyron probably hired professional actors for the plays70 — which would have meant reconstituting what was typically a community theatre genre performed by and for the community.
His operation also economically secularized the theatre, as his plays were financed by commercial capital. The theatrical pieces were themselves not at issue. The casting of roles in community theatre often served explicit social functions. Topsy- turvy festivals like the Christmastime Feast of Fools featured choirboys or chaplains taking on the role of bishops, burlesquing a sermon, and leading an ass around the church. In more dire situations, as during the massacres of the Wars of Religion, perpetrators often assumed judicial and religious roles, exacting punishment and ritually cleansing the community of heretical pollution.
He did this by promising 5 livres for every play that he staged. As noted above, however, he was not entirely able to follow through on this contract. It should come as no surprise, then, that such theatre might directly instigate violence. These became so combative by that the parlement ruled their plays be vetted before performance.
Royal troops were needed to quell the ensuing riot. The centrality of theatre to the fabric of the community evinced in Bordeaux is similarly highlighted by the developments in Lille examined by Alan Knight. As we have seen, mimesis was performed by community figures; we could say that their roles demanded handling key aspects of the Quintilian reduction of rhetoric — memoria, pronunciatio, actio.
Regardless of whether such skills were viewed within the humanist paradigm of rhetoric, adequate techniques of mimesis were fundamental to such prosopographia. The holy subjects were at stake in these failures, as cat-calling hilarity ensued. After , their processions took a hiatus until , when they were re-invigorated in order to combat the spreading heresy in the city; these annual theatrical processions continued consistently until Brown, Music in the French Secular Theatre, Cublize, however, was not able to enforce basic discipline within the institution, and the final end of this failing was the murder of a teacher in the school, a man named Bernod, in The result was a call for a more respected and disciplined principal to head the school.
The negative characterization of Aneau as a conservative goes back at least to A. Didier, Put on trial for murder, Alector is sentenced to fight a gargantuan serpent that the community normally pacifies with a weekly human sacrifice.
The majority of the novel features a conversation between the high priest of Orb and Franc-Gal, who meet on the coast. Franc-Gal tells the high priest the story of his years circling the globe on a flying hippopotamus, partly on a quest to find the Sovereign Temple, and also to encounter the people of the world.
Always the teacher, Aneau advises his reader to attend to the serious qualities of the work, which, as a fable, contains an underlying meaning. Aneau offers detailed descriptions of the institutional and social apparatuses of this Republic, programmatically laying out a vision of community structures and practices. While there may be some descriptive similarities between the city of Orb and Lyon, the overarching theme is one of universalization — the sense that this could be any community, and, for the sake of balance and harmony, it should be all communities.
Frequenting master-printers, attacking merchant- bankers in his Alector, and helping to organize major civic events, Aneau was alert to the economic-political functions of the city. The title page also informs us that the action, which involves a comparison between major cities in France where, of course, Lyon proves to be the greatest , is allegorical and enigmatic.
Music in Renaissance Lyon, A wonderful example of rhetorical copia, this passage illustrates the linguistic and performative mastery that such speech demanded. Emblem books in France, which dominated European production in its early decades, took their material from the everyday world, biblical stories, or commonly known classical references. And while emblem books quickly became associated with the images that they printed, the first Emblemata by Alciati was actually planned as an entirely textual project: the images were the invention of the printer.
Writers and publishers of emblem books stressed their dual function as instruments of pleasure and edification. Until the Jesuits picked up the emblem book as a form of propaganda in the seventeenth century, it remained a genre pragmatically oriented to the cultivation of a universal moral communitas.
Bonhomme, Aneau tells us, informed him that the woodcuts had no accompanying inscriptions that he knew of. The emblems must be read in order, from title, to image, to poem, for his short verses provide an analysis of the moral lesson, rather than setting the scene. The inter-referentiality between theatrical practices and emblem books indexes a tendency for techniques of communitas to be used fluidly across what we might now designate as genre categories.
Figure 1. For, the use of theatrical presentational techniques and topics was driven by affective values that multiplied with repetition. By referencing dramatic practices, emblems tapped into the stimulating liminal communitas of theatrical production.
It should come as no surprise that Aneau was asked by the Lyonnais city council to help create emblematic inscriptions for the monuments and statues erected along the entry route, as well as those that Emblems ou Devises Chrestiennes Composees par Damoiselle Georgette de Montenay Lyon: Jean Marcorelle, Ehrstine, Theatre, Culture, and Community, Then begins the Mystere de la Nativite de nostre Seigneur Jesuschrist: par personnages sur divers chants de plusieurs chansons — the play proper.
What is most strikingly continuous, however, are the musical bases of the Mystere — for, as with the noels, each section of the play is based on a popular song. Given the popularity of such pastoral scenes, this would not have been an issue for a contemporary audience; moreover, it would have provided a sort of expressive copia.
This was essentially all of the scholarly attention that the print had received until recently. While we might expect Aneau to attenuate the presence of these characters, he makes full use of these humorous commonplaces throughout his bucolic scenes. Mais garde sur la glace Tomber, car il verglace. But be careful on the ice, Not to fall, because there is black ice.
Champion; and Le Mans: A. Aneau presented more than just bible lessons in the Chant Natal, however; he also provided epigrammatic explanatory forewords for each noel. Indeed, almost all of the timbres given by Aneau were available in polyphonic settings in the Parangon des Chansons series Lyon: Moderne, , most by Sermisy and many printed the year that the play was likely staged, in Briand also included glosses in his Noelz nouvaulx, but his are distinctly more erudite, including references to various medieval and ancient authors, from Jacques de Voragine, to Augustine, to Petrarch.
The layered nature of contrafacta elicits techniques of memoria for both the singer, and, if adequately performed, the listener. For, in learning a contrafactum text like these noels, the timbre must first be recalled as a poetic-musical whole; the music must then be retained and reiterated, before the poetic meter and often rhyme is applied to the new text. Fini le bien, le mal soudain commence.
Finy le mal, le bien soubdain commence. Non, Mais chants Natalz, que requis ha le temps: Car des enfants, et petitz allaictants Dieu par leur bouche ha parfaict sa louange. But songs of the Nativity, to pass the time: Because children, and suckling babes God by their mouth receives perfect praise. And all the celestial spirits, or angels Sing with you about the birth of the child That made man from God, Bringing to you, and to everyone, innocence.
And in good weather they will sometimes be taken to [play in] the fields. If some children had enough musical training to sing polyphonic music at playtime, they would surely have been capable of performing all of the noels in the Chant Natal. Furthermore, the act of joining together in polyphonic song would have afforded another means of community building for these young boys. Et aucunesfoys seront menez aux champs par beau temps. Emphasis mine.
Within this thoroughly imitative phrase, the tenor voice alone leaps up an octave, and then falls decoratively. Such numbers, in other words, exhibited a certain kind of unified co-ordination, one which made concerted use of an elite technique of communitas: polyphonic song. The Chant Natal thus organized the sticky form of musical practice, the long-popular noel, into an aristocratic display of Lyonnais communitas.
Example 1. My analyses refer to the original rhythms. At issue here is not only the regulation of Christian pastimes, but also the question of how to make Christian humanist pedagogy palatable and digestible. The subject of these chansons basically goes like this: a husband is cuckolded by his wife, or a young virginal girl is lost to her parents, or [there is a] clandestine affair with a lover.
And these actions are reported in such a way that they appear to have come about honestly, and we applaud this happy rascality. But these people who publicly corrupt the youth make a living from their crime. We even find parents who believe that civility relies, in part, in their daughter not ignoring such songs. Further, [I]n the music in practice at home […] there used to exist a dramatic genre in which, without any words and simply through bodily gesticulation, actors could represent anything that they wanted.
Likewise, in our contemporary chansons, even if the words were silenced, by attending to the music alone, we could still discover the dirty character of the theme. Mais ces gens qui corrompent publiquement la jeunesse vivent de leur crime. According to Erasmus, chansons nouvelles that told lewd stories were printed every year, and young girls quickly consumed and memorized them.
This in itself is suggestive of an approach to contrafacta wherein the techniques of memoria were immediately enacted, and the contrafacted text was absorbed efficiently into oral circulation. Erasmus saw this process as problematic when it moved in one direction: into the church. Aneau staged his Chant Natal within a city that nurtured the popularity of the noel.
Lyon, in fact, was second only to Paris in the printed production of noels during the sixteenth century. Twelve editions of noels that were printed in Lyon have survived, mostly from the first half of the sixteenth century. Noelz nouveaulx sur tous les aultres composez allegoriquement selon le temps qui court Sur aucunes graves cha[n]sons.
Chardon, Nouelz nouvaulx, This is highly unlikely, however, given that other printing centers — like Paris — were far closer to Le Mans, where Chardon taught. Lyon: Louis Brun, , Hugues Vaganay, on the other hand, dates the print to Faict sur le chant de Maistre Thomas tout doulx tout doulx.
Par M. This collection was likely printed in the late s, or perhaps the early s. This collection was particular as a whole, as it printed the music for seemingly newly-composed tunes without timbres, and textually it was unique for offering noels mostly in the patois of Savoy. At this point, it was taken up by printers like the Trepperels in Paris, and O. Arnoullet in Lyon. Such interrelations can be clarified by studying the travels of one timbre across these genres.
La femme. Et le galland. But noels themselves also spread within collections of the genre, showing up in prints decades apart. And these popular noels did not just overlap with theatrical practices: they actually directly engaged the narrative, dialogue, and stylistic characteristics of the community theatre to which they were related.
Three brief examples suffice to provide a glimpse of how these noels circulated within and out from Lyon, as well as to demonstrate how thoroughly theatrical this form was. B4r, fol. D4r, B4r, p. B4v The tune from Moderne is a sweet diatonic melody centering on C, moving across the singable range of an octave, from G-g, progressing smoothly in an even duple meter. It could have also been an innocent reference to rejoicing with a wind instrument — also a characteristic feature of shepherd songs.
The following phrase, however, is perhaps the catchiest, for its repetitive rhyming-musical gesture that ornamentally circles around G, landing on this pitch at the moment that an internal rhyme recurs; in Example 1. This very repetition with slight variation, and a combined rhyming-gestural interest in the middle, makes the tune both catchy and singable.
While a refrain is not signaled in textual editions of this noel that I have seen, this omission is not uncommon; the assumed popularity of the song given its circulation without a timbre means that this refrain would already have been anticipated.
The song includes a minimal amount of dialogue. Mostly, it features the first-person monologue of a shepherd; it is, nonetheless, dramatic and interactive, as the shepherd invites other characters to do things, and responds to their actions. As they begin dancing, for example, the shepherd instructs: Or sus dansons, prens Allison: Je prendray Guillemette: Margot, tu prendras gros Guillot. Qui prendra Peronnelle, Ce fera Tallebot.
Who will take Peronnelle, That will be Tallebot. Nova vobis gaudio refero. Bonum vinum me faict souvent chanter. Like a charivari or the mocking moments that occured in urban plays, this commentary reflected contemporary mores, drawing attention once more to the community judgement elicited by old men marrying young women. Precious people, may it not displease you If you live in poverty If fortune does not favor you Accept it with patience. In remembrance of the Virgin Who found her meager lodging In a stable, Which was open in front.
Its text incorporates dialogue between key characters, and brings forward contemporary concerns about appropriate marriage. But they do so in a portable format, as compact prints that moved ever more fluidly as they were transmitted orally. Pedagogues such as Aneau surely hoped that their noels would be immediately memorized by the youth like the chansons nouvelles that Erasmus carped about.
The material forms through which these noels have come down to us — prints and manuscripts — can misleadingly suggest that the noel was a literary genre. Given that some of these noels did not even require timbres and that some became timbres themselves, it is clear that noels circulated orally: they were a musical practice.
Furthermore, noels could expand in scope to incorporate sweeping content moving from the Creation and the Fall, to the Visitation and Nativity, from the Slaughter of the Innocents and the Flight into Egypt, to the Crucifixion — much like the narrative range of large Nativity cycle plays. Regardless of the frame of their storyline, most noels focused on positively-valenced messages of Christian community, and in the early phases of the Reformation, they were produced by both Catholics and Protestants.
The essential differences between noels and other varieties of contrafacta were, first, that noels were labelled as such, and second, that they almost always centered on the Nativity. The result was essentially Marian, which put the genre increasingly at odds with solidifying Protestant beliefs — likely the primary reason that the noel was discarded by Protestant songsters.
The practice of noels thus engaged visual, oral, aural, and theatrical techniques of communitas. Noels were thus constituted by mimetic forms of musical replication though perhaps not an ideal mimesis in Platonic or Aristotelian terms wherein the new poetic iteration contained traces of the old. On a more practical level, by incorporating the ethos of the Nativity theatre, the noels themselves also elicited role-play.
Aneau distinguished his noels by basing most of them on polyphonic chansons that had recently been printed in Lyon, thus referencing music-making of a different order from the monophonic timbres repeatedly indexed for the bulk of the noels printed in the city. The print is in upright octavo format with Roman text, and single-impression musical type. The entire text is set to separate, generally strophic songs that each portray key theatrical scenes from the Nativity.
These anagrams may have been playful, but they were also meant to be understood, as they are presented in upper-case letters within the music, and explained in an index at the end of the print. See Dobbins, Music in Renaissance Lyons, Printing separate cantus and tenor, and altus and bassus parts would also have followed a pattern set by the Beringen brothers with their previous prints of four-part psalms by Louis Bourgeois and Didier Lupi. In order to maintain this honest custom, in this year , we have composed these Evangelical Noels, to new words and music.
While Joseph retained a prominent role in the Chant Natal, he disappears from Genethliac, whereas Mary is foregrounded, along with the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Magnificat. Her prominence betrays an increading emphasis on the Catholicity of noels at mid-century and their association with the Marian cult.
Genethliac also lacks the instructive rubrics that contributed an overtly pedagogic tone to the Chant Natal. The following section vacillates between slightly faster, freer imitation, largely in syllabic minims, and terminal phrases in decorated homophony. These remain represented by cut time in the original print.
The piece even finishes with a peculiar lack of harmonic closure, opening out to a C-major chord. With such attention to heightening the theatricality of the songs, it comes as no surprise that the visual element of Genethliac is strong. Moreover, by placing each figure before the song that accompanies it, the form of the print confirms the contemplative value of moving from image to text, much like an emblem book.
Aneau may have chosen to write in the popular genre of the noels of community theater, but the noble anagrams in Genethliac oriented the print towards an elite political sphere. Read in the context of the theatrical, musical, and pedagogic practices surrounding it, this multi-media book is evidence of these lost techniques of communitas — skills and practices that were valued for their potential capacity to unite an emotional community.
For the very multi- mediality of Genethliac is also what makes the musicality of this project striking. Tapping into such genre crossings allows us to realize how important techniques of communitas were to humanists like Aneau; but as a musical emblem book, more specifically, Genethliac marketed a means of meditating on the moral imperatives contained in the Nativity story.
Polyphonic musical settings of emblematic poems what, we may recall, Alciati had invented as emblems not only prolonged the experience of a meditative text, they also called for voices to join together in harmony. As a musical emblem book, Genethliac invited readers to embody moralizing texts by singing them, performing at once theatrical and musical communitas.
This was obviously a Neo-Platonic musical project, but uniquely, one that called for communal meditation on the innocent birth of Christ. That Block was sidetracked by imagining a connection with the Calvinist city of Geneva should be excused, though, for her assumptions accrue from a long tradition of believing that Aneau was a clandestine Protestant. He led them astray from the religion on their fathers. I will touch on this period in Chapter Two and Three, but suffice it to say that this overthrow became one of the most powerful points of reference for radical Lyonnais Catholics who sought to tarnish the repute of any Protestant.
In fact, as confessional tensions started to boil over in the s, Catholic publics became increasingly concerned with mimicry — the notion that there were Protestants masquerading as Catholics in their community, and that these false members were infecting the social body of Christ though their heresy. This fear was augmented by if not emergent from the very laws that restricted Protestant worship: because edicts often banned Protestant services within urban centers often forcing them to convene outside of city limits , their practices could easily be characterized as secretive and thus suspicious.
Claude Baduel, a spiritual leader of the Reform in in Lyon, wrote to Calvin to complain about these irreverent artisans: Before my arrival in Lyon, there was a habit of singing the psalms in the evening, after dinner, while roaming the streets in various districts of the city. When I took control of the Church, without liking it very much, but since there was nothing From an edition of the diary: Jean Tricou, ed. The [civil authorities] got scared and had the singing of psalms prohibited by royal edict.
A long dialogue ensues, wherein the Jew rejects the new singer, Jesus. This new listener likes what he hears, so he agrees to be baptized as a Christian, and takes up the tenor melody of the Nunc dimittis. These scenes are remarkable as musical iterations of othering, not only because the Gentile is converted through psalm singing, but also because the Jew is simply dismissed.
Such Protestant psalms would transform as they were deployed in different spheres; as we will see, some even became timbres for inflammatory polemic. The noel, the form and practice of which was so closely allied to community sentiment, would similarly be mined for Claude Baduel, letter from June, , in M. Techniques of communitas, aimed initially at the Lyonnais emotional community — an entire Christian community — would soon come to violently mark out new boundaries.
On June 5, , the Feast of Corpus Christi, Lyon bustled with tension, as archers were brought in to forestall anticipated Protestant attacks. The city had seen a botched Protestant coup the previous year, and emotions were on edge as the procession moved across Lyon.
None of this appeased the crowds, who took up arms, attacking and mutilating people they took to be Protestants. Public aggression, in fact, intensified to the point of mass cleansing; and, as we will see, the affect that generated such violence was often flamed by musical polemic. As a public figure, he was implicated both with this rising conflict, and with concerns about communitas. In Lyon Marchant, students had to commit to mastering the expressions of the French language, memorizing a complicated allegorical tale, and executing clever linguistic games.
In the Chant Natal, younger grades of students presented the persuasive intertextuality of religious musical contrafacture. As Aneau put together plays for his students to perform communitas, he transformed widely practiced Lyonnais community theatrics into elite spectacles. His Chant Natal in particular emphasized the importance of sticky media — the noels that circulated popularly around the city — while also making use of the community building potentials of polyphony. It was in the least public of his theatrical prints, however, that Aneau offered the fullest exhibit of his patented techniques of communitas.
Genethliac was instead a compilation of powerful pedagogical techniques — emblematic organization, theatrical gesture, and affective community practice — which were tied together using the appealing jouyssance of music. Aneau made the reconciliatory tone of his print explicit in his preface, and these peaceful goals were aesthetically emphasized as the musical emblems wrapped epigrams of oppositional parties into the same polyphonic textures. Regrettably, this communitas could only be performed in print.
The executioner pulled it out even further with pincers, cut it off, and hit the sufferer several times on the cheek with it. It is said that those nearest in the crowd [ Burning was a last resort, and one that was carefully molded to what David Nicholls has identified as a production, which up until took the form of four acts for the clergy and three acts for lay people — moving from degradation, to expulsion, to destruction. As explored in Chapter One, one could only be a Christian heretic if one were a Christian — which is to say that Muslims and Jews were not heretics, but infidels.
The particular threat of the heretic was constituted by their identification as internal to the Christian community, for this meant that their presence could pollute the body social and put the salvation of the entire community at risk. As such, the theatre of martyrdom, the erasure of heretics, was definitively a performance of cleansing. D diss. In the second act or first act for lay people , the amende honorable, the heretic abased her or himself before God, king, and justice, and begged forgiveness in front of a significant venue — like a cathedral, or a church whose cult the heretic had critiqued; this act often involved mutilation, in order to remove the bodily tool of blasphemy especially tongues.
The act most pertinent to this chapter was the third, which took the form of a procession, typically winding through busy parts of the city, to create a spectacular display of united solemnity and mockery. Whether this parade was grand or small, processionally dragging the victim through the city could result in chaos and had the potential to destroy the message of the ritual. While being mockingly marched through town, many martyrs took the opportunity to vocalize their piety — generally both preaching and singing psalms.
They were arrested in Lyon on May 1, , held for a year, tried in absentia by the Parliament of Paris, and convicted of heresy. In fact, the s was the period during which Protestant propaganda in France was at its most efficacious, as polemical rhetoric focused on the persecution of the faithful, and recounted their martyrdom — an emotional concept with a familiar Christian basis, yet one which had not been emphasized in contemporaneous situations since the medieval period.
The Martyr Songs points to how the chanson spirituelle, a genre related to the noels that I explored in Chapter One, came to be deployed specifically as a Protestant technique of communitas. Psalm singing was to be a standard feature in Protestant martyrology and quickly became identified with Calvinists generally.
As we shall see, these Martyr Songs played on the importance of French psalms for the Protestant habitus. A good portion of this excerpt is basically a verbatim translation, but extracted from different sections of the martyrology I have gathered the sections that report specifically on the theatre of martyrdom here ; I have put particularly propagandistic phrases from Crespin in scare quotes.
All translations of Crespin are my own. First, the rhetorical trope that had the greatest affective force for French Protestants was that of martyrdom — at least until their increasing militarization in the s. The publics of Lyon and Geneva demanded news of rising confessional conflict, and craved the polemic that shot off the presses and resonated through the streets. Surveying discursive interactions across these cities, this chapter asks how a subversive collection of spiritual songs that capitalized on the martyrdom of five young students came to be, and how it may have functioned as affective cultural capital, propagated across networks fraught with religious tension.
Particularly during the s, with several strong Protestant print shops capable of setting musical type, Lyon provided Geneva with most of its musical publications. The successes of the Protestant faction in Lyon afforded great opportunities for movement between the cities, and we often find printers and musicians moving back and forth; in fact, Laurent Guillo has asserted that, when considering Protestant musical publication, Lyon and Geneva should be examined together.
By focusing on the Martyr Songs, this chapter explores the affective actions that were solicited by the public performance of faith both physical and redacted and disseminated through distributions networks between Lyon and Geneva. One of the most immediate and emotional forms of news that circulated between these cities concerned the persecution of heretics. Executions had long been a favored subject of quickly-produced print canards, pamphlets, broadsheets and of public discourse more broadly.
Music printing took off there in the s, with the production of a huge number of psalm collections. Never was a man more persuaded and admonished to give up his damnable opinion by so many men of justice, men of the church, and other good men of the city.
And beyond all of this his poor mother came to find him three times in prison and kneeled down in front of the poor wretch, her son, crying for mercy and praying that, for the love of God, he have pity on him and on her, something that was directly against nature and not customary that a mother would debase herself like this for her child.
I pray to God that we may always keep his Holy Catholic faith. Presented here in the observations of an ardent Catholic, the Saint-story gestures carry greater weight than in Protestant martyrologies. They died in such obstinacy in their confusion and folly that many people were captivated [by this display] for a long time.
Despite executions being a common part of urban experience in the sixteenth century, they were, nonetheless, not normal. They were, in fact, very notable; indeed, this was part of the demonstrative purpose of state punishment. As the Protestant elite started to push for greater rights of worship, confessional conflict began to erupt with increasing frequency in the early s in Lyon — as did public burnings of heretics.
In short, this penalization furnished the opportunity to cultivate an emotionally persuasive mode of martyrology. Ediburgh: Thomas Constable and Co, , 2: During the s, being sacrificed to the vengeance of the Catholic enemy was promoted as the greatest honor to Calvinists. In fact, in corresponding with these five prisoners, Calvin instructed them: Doubtless, for a long time past, you have meditated upon the last conflict which you will have to sustain, if it be His good pleasure to lead you thereto [ To die for Christ, in following the Apostle, is to our benefit.
By the mids when these five students were burned, audience interest in and sympathy for the theatre of martyrdom was in decline; by around , crowds disrupted the ritual process and began to demand participation in the executions. Bruce Gordon Aldershot: Scolar Press, , 2: By , he was encouraging the faithful to expect persecution and joyfully accept martyrdom, as confessing their faith was more important than worldly life.
See Jean Calvin, Institution de la religion chrestienne, 4 vols. Baum et al, 62 vols. Brunsvigae: C. Schwetschke et filium, , 8: Nonetheless, Crespin had an obvious leaning towards liberal editing practices, both removing and adding to content in order to ensure the most immaculate picture possible of a perfect Protestant martyr. The significance of executions for the Lyonnais public meant that recalling the burning of the five students from Lausanne would likely Crespin produced fourteen editions of the martyrology in eighteen years.
When Crespin died in , Simon Goulart took over editorship of the work, and made substantial changes with his four editions produced between Their interactions with the students added value to the story of the martyrs from Lausanne, for they included important tales of determined proselytizing, spiritual consolation, and successful conversion of their fellow prisoners.
As a group execution, the public burning of these youth was remembered as a major civic event, a phenomenal experience for inhabitants of Lyon that underscored connections between the affective powers of martyrdom and Protestant techniques of communitas. Interrogating these relationships may allow us to see how a song might mobilize strong emotions keyed to political events and ritual practices. Psalm translation, however, had initially emerged as a generally humanistic project. In fact, there were many coexisting translations and musical settings monophonic and polyphonic published by Catholics and Protestants alike throughout the s.
While this is a properly Protestant devotional verse, it is not a psalm. The records of the Parliament of Paris, dated December 29, , contain a letter from Mr. Jehan Leclerc, the lieutenant general of the bailiwick of Meaux, reporting on several songs whose authors he was trying to track down. Lire, lire, lironsa. The monopolistic court printers, Le Roy and Ballard nonetheless put out musical editions of the translations of the psalms from into the s; as the religious wars intensified, however, and the Genevan psalter became increasingly associated with heresy, this production halted in the s, and Le Roy and Ballard returned to printing masses, motets, and chansons.
Translation mine. Furthermore, within contrafacta practice, the repertoire of timbres was frequently the same, whether the song was political, devotional, dirty, silly, or amorous; indeed, as I will explore in Chapter Three, some of the same timbres were deployed for both Catholic and Protestant contrafacta.
Despite these similarities, the chanson spirituelle nonetheless emerged as a distinct classification with its own valences, quickly becoming allied to Protestant practice. Within both composed chansons and contrafacta, one significant sub-genre takes the form of a first-person narrative, often in the guise of a complainte.
His Premier Livre des Chansons Spirituelles, published in in Lyon by the Beringen brothers, was the first collection dedicated to newly-composed i. Containing hints of the first-person complainte style, this song narrates the story of Susanna and the elders — a biblical reference that Protestants used as a metaphor for the corruption of the Catholic Church hierarchy. An in-octavo, the Martyr Songs is printed on somewhat low-grade paper, and consists of twenty folios, making it a slim volume that could have been easily hidden amongst other materials.
It was decently set in moveable type, nonetheless, with relative care given to the alignment of the musical staves. Although these contrafacta recueils were printed in tiny sextodecimo format, they most often had hundreds of pages, and were thus extremely chunky little volumes. These songs also appear to be fully unique musical settings; the texts for most of these pieces, on the other hand, had complicated lives.
These were arguably the three most important poets of the earliest phases of French Evangelism; they were certainly projected retrospectively as such by the later Protestant elite. Clearly, there was a marked authorizing going on in this collection by plumping it up with figures who were not only some of the most prized French poets, but also incredibly influential political figures in the Protestant world. I will address these issues of authorization as they pertain to these appended poems and their authors below.
In a related vein, let us turn to their musical settings. As noted, all of these little tunes appear to be unica — but they are quite certainly in the accessible style typical of both the chanson spirituelle and Protestant psalms. Any flourishes occur between principal pitches, and move in easily sung arcs.
The poems are generally set in sixains and huitains stanzas, and in octosyllabic and decasyllabic lines. Like most psalm settings and certainly the later Genevan psalter , each line is typically broken up by a caesura, allowing for groups of amateur singers to co-ordinate naturally; such demarcations also permitted a regulated marching rhythm that was obviously useful for the aggressive parades of early Protestantism, and the subsequent battle marches of the church militant.
And as with both monophonic psalter settings and many popular chansons settings, Martyr Songs are all strophic. In sum, all of these songs would have been approachable for an audience with very basic musical training, or familiarity with popular chansons or French monophonic psalms. Drawing on their acquaintance with common tunes, it would have been possible for listeners with no musical training to pick up the Martyr Songs expeditiously.
In some ways, the lyrical content of the five martyr songs fits predictably into established chanson spirituelle tropes. Many of the songs draw on devices frequently deployed in the psalms — such as pleading for help against the enemy, or resisting temptation. Ouyr prescher le tressainct Evangile.
Initially, one might assume that this was a contrafactum of the psalm, particularly given that the Protestant chansons nouvelles of the era were often written in imitation of the psalms. Much like many of the monophonic psalm settings, the melodic pitch emphases follow the rhyme scheme of the poem.
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