Mito e Realidade – por David Bryant – Parte 2

Página 177: “According to one of the general rubrics in the ceremoniale of 1564 the organists were present during Vespers of almost all the most important feasts.” Never, however, in the detailed descriptions of the various individual ceremonies are they mentioned specifically in connection with the accompaniment of the psalms”.
– “The evidence of sixteenth-century musical prints, moreover, points vaguely to the prevalence of an a cappella style [nos salmos].”
– “The other instrumentalists were certainly not normally involved in the accompaniment of the double-choir psalms.”

Página 178: “Never in the ceremoniale of 1564 is their presence at Vespers recorded; they are not, in fact, mentioned in connection with this service until 1604, when Stringa refers to their participation on only one feast – First Vespers in Nativitate Domini”
– “The ceremonialia and other documents of St Mark’s contain valuable information not only on the double-choir Vespers psalms but also on the other main category of music for cori spezzati: the concerti and sacrae symphoniae of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli and Giovanni Bassano.
– “In almost every respect this repertory differs fundamentally from the salmi of Willaert and Croce. First, in form: thestrictly liturgical, verse-by-verse alternation of choirs so typical of the salmi is here replaced by a rapid interchoir dialogue of overtly musical orientation. Second, in the number of performing groups: while salmi, in conformity with the liturgical rubrics, are invariably scored for two performing groups, concerti frequently have one (in which case they are not polychoral), three or even four. Third, in the use of cantus firmus: this, ever present in the salmi, is, with few exceptions, absent from the concerti. Fourth, the texts of the salmi are derived from the Offices of Vespers, Compline and Terce, they comprise all verses of the chosen psalm (complete with Doxology), and were always performed in their prescribed liturgical positions; those of the concerti, by no means all of them psalms, are drawn for the most part from the liturgies of Matins and Lauds (at both of which the attendance of the singers was not normally required), are frequently curtailed, and (to judge from a total of nine occurrences of the word ‘concerto’ in contemporary descriptions of Venetian religious ceremonial)” were generally performed outside their immediate liturgical positions at Mass. Finally, while salmi were used exclusively in connection with the greatest liturgical commemorations, concerti, as testified by all nine above-mentioned occurrences of the word, were more often associated with occasional events. (As the published repertory shows, however, concerti too may sometimes have been destined for use at the very greatest of the annually recurring solemnities.)”

Página 180: “A repertory conceived, or largely conceived, for a series of quite unrelated, special occasions will tend to exhibit a minimum of unity both in style and in manner of performance, and to reflect instead the differing musico-ceremonial requirements of the various individual events. This might account for the remarkable range in number of voices used in Concerti di Andrea,& di Gio: Gabrieli (1587) – a minimum of six, a maximum of sixteen – and Giovanni’s two books of Sacrae symphoniae (1597 and 1615) – a minimum of six, a maximum of nineteen.” It would also explain an apparent inconsistency in the use of organists and instrumentalists.”
– uma enorme lista de variações de instrumentação;

Página 181: [1603-1612? Bryant: 1607] “April 2nd. Giovanni Croce, maestro di cappella … having communicated to the Most Illustrious … Procurators that, it being necessary to perform music in the organ [lofts] at such times as the Most Serene Prince and the Most Serene Signoria come to church, it is [also] necessary that there be someone of ability who serves in the organ [lofts] to beat the time, as it is regulated by this maestro. And because, in [Giovanni] Gabrieli’s loft, there is … Giovanni Bassano, capo dei concerti, who on that side [of the choir] is charged with this responsibility, and on the other side this maestro [i.e. Croce] is accustomed to employ … Friar Agostin, the minorite, singer in the choir, who, having left the city already some days ago, without leave, he [Croce] wished to give notice of the fact to Their Excellencies, in order that they might make that provision which seems to them best, that the music pass with that honour and public decorum which is the will of Their Excellencies.”

Página 182: “This account, which by reason of its position in the register may be dated 1607, must refer principally to concerti, and not to the salmi spezzati: frequently, even when (contrary to its stated terms of reference) neither doge nor senators were present, the psalms would be performed in double-choir settings. Two conductors, it would appear, were located in the organ lofts: one was Fra Agostin, a member of the choir; the other was the capo dei concerti, the cornettist Giovanni Bassano, which strongly suggests that the other instrumentalists were here also, together with a few vocal soloists who, according to the practice later noted by Praetorius, were positioned among the instruments. The conductors in the organ lofts were entrusted with the task of relaying the beat, indicated by the maestro di cappella, Giovanni Croce, to the musicians in their charge.”
– “As for Croce himself, he, together with or near to a separate group of performers, can have been located only at quite some distance from the rest (otherwise, why the need to relay the beat?). The obvious question is ‘where?'”
– “It would seem that sometimes, space permitting, he might direct the proceedings from the floor of the choir, as was apparently the case during a specially organised Mass in January 1579 when, in the presence of five visiting Austrian archdukes – and in the absence of all but five representatives of Venetian Church and State – ‘music was made with the two organs and instrumentalists, and the singers in surplices in the choir'”
– “On other occasions he might be situated either in the two-storey pulpitum novum lectionumor in the hexagonal pergolo, as during Mass on Easter Sunday (a feast for which many large-scale concerti and sacrae symphoniae have been preserved) when, according to the ceremoniale of 1564, ‘the singers … mount the pulpit of the lessons, where they sing Mass; for nowadays Our Lord the Doge … mounts the great pulpit [of the singers] in which he hears Mass. Whenever he [the doge] remains in the choir for Mass, the singers mount the great pulpit to sing it.'”
– “And on still others he would appear to have stood in a third, temporary pulpit specially erected for the event, as during the Mass celebrated in June 1585 in honour of four visiting Japanese princes, for which ‘there was made a new platform for the singers’.”

Página 183: “Whatever the case, he seems almost invariably (and in view of his position as maestro di cappella quite properly) to have taken command of the ripieno choir – which group, according to each of the above-quoted statements, was the only one to have been situated, like him, quite separately from the musicians in the galleries; since this choir was located at floor level, the maestro too was presumably there. Any problems of communication between him and his two assistants need not have proved insurmountable since at least one of the organ lofts is always clearly visible both from the floor of the choir, the pulpitum novum lectionum and the pulpitum magnum cantorum.”
– “It was not without reason that the main body of the singers was positioned at floor level. On all the greatest occasions they had, besides the performing of large-scale concertia, number of other liturgical and ceremonial duties.”
– “they often sang the litanies in procession. Sometimes, as on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, and the Feast of St Mark, they sang the introit of the Mass from the pulpitum magnumc antorumor alternatively from the steps of the choir (that is, ‘in medio ecclesiae’). Occasionally two of their number would be charged with the singing of the tract, or four might sing during the confession.”

Página 184: “The segregation of the ripieno singers from the rest of the ensemble is implicit in much of the published musical repertory. It is immediately apparent in the use of the designation ‘cappella’, a word that, on the relatively few occasions when it occurs, is reserved exclusively for one (and one only) of the four-part choirs. In this context it is used, with only two exceptions, to designate the whole choir (the exceptions occur in Giovanni Gabrieli’s fourteen-voice In ecclesiis and seventeen-voice Magnificat, where ‘cappella’ is applied respectively to three and two voices only).”
– “The spatial separation of the ripienists has a specifically stylistic dimension: the so-called cappella choir, in contrast to the predominantly instrumental groups (which stood much closer together both in location and timbre), is with one exception harmonically self-sufficient and complete.”
– “One is reminded of the comments of the contemporary theorist, Giovanni Maria Artusi:”

Página 185: [Artusi:] “Nowadays composers, in the cantilenae composed for concerti, place the lowest parts (that is, the bass parts of the one, and of the other choir) at the interval of a fifth, a third or an octave; almost always, one hears [a] wretched [sound, such as] I cannot describe, which offends the hearing … And [concerning] those choirs which are situated at a distance one from the other … when their bass … has become a middle-range part it can be said that that choir is [actually] without bass part and foundation; and what good effect can it have if the building be in one place and the foundations elsewhere? what sweet harmony can it yield to hear three or four parts of a cantilena without the bass, or at [other] times so far away that [these three parts themselves] can scarcely be heard?”
– “For Artusi, as indeed for the Gabrielis, the physical separation of one choir from the others appears to have underlined the need for its harmonic self-sufficiency.”
– “Although, then, in the case of the salmi the architectural characteristics of St Mark’s clearly did not influence the style of the music, in the concerti and sacrae symphoniae they do seem to have had a certain definite significance.”
– “While the ripieno choir had a number of liturgico-ceremonial duties which necessitated its remaining at floor level, the instrumentalists, who generally played no active role in ceremonial and the celebration of the liturgy, would surely have been given less conspicuous accommodation. Where more convenient in St Mark’s than the elevated lofts where the two ‘stationary’ musicians, the organists, were already housed? Had these galleries not existed, however, and had some other equally inconspicuous position been available, the result in terms of distance between instrumentalists and singers – hence also in terms of musical style – could well have been identical.”
– “This combination of architectural and ceremonial considerations seems to offer the most plausible explanation for the particular lines along which the cori spezzati developed at St Mark’s.”

BRYANT, David. The ‘cori spezzati’ of St Mark’s: Myth and Reality. In: FENLON, Iain (org). Early Music History, Vol. 1 (1981). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981, p. 165-186.

Mito e Realidade – por David Bryant – Parte 1

Um dos artigos mais exatos dos musicólogos mais tradicionais, esse texto pretende encerrar algumas das acepções criadas a partir dos primeiros vestígios analisados do Cori Spezzati.

Página 165: “Niccolò Fausti, master of ceremonies at St Mark’s Venice from 1576 to 1598, in one of his several additions at the back of a manuscript ceremoniale of 1564, lists the days on which Vespers in the ducal basilica were performed by two choirs of singers. The information is taken, he states, ‘from the list of duties of maestro di cappella Giuseppe Zarlino'”
– listagem de 29 celebrações com execução de música com coros duplos em 1564.

Página 166: “one of Fausti’s predecessors, Bartolomeo Bonifacio (1552-64)”

Página 167: [Bartolomeo Bonifacio] “De Annunciation B. M. V., (…) ‘in both Vespers all the psalms are sung most solemnly by two choirs of singers; and similarly the psalms of Compline of the feast-day [itself]'”
– “De Circumcisione Domini (‘all the psalms are sung by two choirs of singers’), De Assumption B. M. V. (‘the psalms … are sung in both Vespers by the singers in two choirs’), De Dedicatione Ecclesiae S. Marci (Second Vespers only: ‘the psalms … in two choirs’)”
– “Bonifacio’s observations bear out, indeed elucidate, those of Zarlino, (…) in Part III of his Le istitutioni harmoniche”
– “The earliest surviving Venetian examples in this style are the eight salmi spezzati (1550) of Willaert – cited, in fact, by Zarlino”
– “double-choir psalms for Compline (1591), Terce (1596) and Vespers (1597) of Giovanni Croce. All these works are scored for two four-voice choirs, which, in strict conformity with liturgical tradition, are alternated verse by verse (occasionally half-verse by half-verse), each of these liturgical units being expressed as a closed musical block.”

Página 168: “precise instructions for at least one occasion (First Vespers of Pentecost) are given by Bonifacio: ‘The singers sing the psalms divided in two choirs, namely, four singers in one choir and all the rest in the other.'”
– [Bonifacio, 1564] “OF THE PSALMS TO BE SUNG ON ALL SOLEMN FEASTS. Formerly, on all solemn feasts, the psalms were sung by the small choir, and by the singers who normally sing by practice [ex pratica, indicating an oral tradition], if they were available; in which case they were appointed to sing more georgiano. Today this practice of singing has fallen into disuse, and the singers of the greater choir sing all the psalms and whatever remains. And the psalms they sing divided in two choirs, namely four singers in one choir and all the rest in the other; since the small choir no longer exists”

Página 169: “That this practice was indeed polyphonic is duly confirmed by Fausti when, in a statement made in October 1589 before the Procuratia de Supra (the body responsible for the day-to-day administration of the basilica), he refers to a recent performance of the psalms which had been given ‘by two choirs in polyphonic music’.”
– “in St Mark’s, at least, the eight-voice salmi spezzati of Willaert and Croce were not, as has been believed hitherto, performed antiphonally, but rather, responsorially with four vocal soloists in one of the musical groups and all the rest of the singers, anything up to nine (for the second half of the sixteenth century) or eighteen (for the early seventeenth century onwards), in the other. One may note in this traditional manner of performance a definite liturgico-musical precedent for the systematic contrast between solo and ripieno voices used by Monteverdi in a number of his Vespers psalms”
– “During the procession on Good Friday, Venite et ploremus as sung by two choirs of singers: ‘in the first group … are four of the best; in the second group all the others’.”
– “On the same day, and on the previous Wednesday, the singers sang the Passion in three choirs: one soloist was the Evangelist; three sang the words of Christ (making four soloists in all); the others, all together, were the crowd.”
– “On Easter Sunday, at the start of the sepulchre drama, the procession (which had been formed at the nearby ducal palace) reached the church to find its entrance barred. Four singers inside began with the words ‘Quem quaeritis’, to which the rest, outside, replied ‘Iesum Nazarenum’, and so on. During many important processions the singers performed the litanies in two choirs.”

Página 170: “The manner in which they were divided is stated only in connection with the Processio de Domina ad pluviam sive serenitatem petendam: here it is prescribed that ‘the litanies of the Blessed Virgin… are said… by four singers; and all the other singers always respond “Sancta Maria ora pro nobis”‘.”
– “from where in the church did the two groups of singers perform? According to Zarlino, ‘[the] choirs are placed at a little distance one from the other’, a statement which seems to have given rise to the supposition that in St Mark’s the groups of singers were housed quite separately, one in each of the organ lofts on either side of the choir (see Figure 1). Neither this assumption, however, nor the comments upon which it is based are borne out by the contemporary documents of St Mark’s. These, in fact, contain four separate statements to the contrary.”
– “an entry in the acts of the Procuratia de Supra; it describes how at First Vespers in Dedicatione Ecclesiae S. Marci, Sunday 7 October 1589, there had been an argument in church as to whether the psalms of that service were or were not to be sung by two choirs. The master of ceremonies, Niccolò Fausti, said that they should be, but the singers disagreed. In this they had liturgical tradition on their side, for no one could recall a single precedent for the maestro’s directives. Nevertheless, Fausti had his way, and so ‘the book boy brought the books for singing in two choirs to the pergolo … Vespers was said, which the singers sang in two choirs’. This pergolo is identified by Giovanni Stringa, master of ceremonies at St Mark’s in the early years of the seventeenth century, as the hexagonal structure which stands in the nave of the church at the southern end of the iconostasis (see Figures 2 and 3); on it, he says, ‘almost always, and particularly on solemn feasts, and when the signoria comes to church, the musicians sing at High Mass and Vespers’. The procuratorial act contains the names of thirteen musicians ‘who were then in the pergolo’: their leader Baldassare Donato and twelve others, two of whom are identifiable as sopranos, three as countertenors, three as tenors and three as basses (the vocal range of the twelfth singer, a certain ‘Fra Gio: Ang.o de f.ci’, is not specified, but he was presumably a third soprano). These performed four of the five psalms according to the standard, double-choir practice outlined above. Of the fifth, however, no such double-choir setting could be found (there never having been need for it in the past), so this they sang in falsobordone.”
– “The other three statements are all from the ceremoniale of 1564:
OF [THE FEAST OF] ST JOHN THE BAPTIST. [In Second Vespers.] 1558. By order of the Most Serene Prince and the … procurators … we make a great solemnity … The psalms are sung by the singers in two choirs … in the choir [of the church] at the high altar.
On the Vigil of Ascension the singers … sing alternatim, divided in two choirs. His Serenity mounts the great pulpit and there hears Vespers … The singers sing in the new pulpit of the lessons, although they are tight in it. Whenever Our Most Serene Lord the Doge sits in the choir the singers are situated in the great pulpit.
[OF [THE FEAST OF] ST MARK. In First Vespers.] Our Lord the Doge mounts the singers’ pulpit, and there hears Vespers … Nevertheless, today the chorus [of priests] is not in the middle of the church, for Our Lord the Doge does not mount the pulpit as formerly.”

Página 175: “In the first of these excerpts the singers are said to have stood on the floor of the choir, near the high altar. In the second their preferred position is the pulpitum magnum cantorum (the hexagonal pergolo); more often, however, this was occupied by the doge, and they sang instead from the pulpitum novum lectionum, a two-storey structure which stands, like the pergolo, in the nave but at the north end of the iconostasis (see Figures 2 and 4). In the third their position is not explicitly stated; however, it may be inferred, if only tentatively, that although formerly, having been displaced from the hexagonal pergolo by the doge, they were situated with the chorus of priests ‘in medio ecclesiae’,29 they were ‘today’ free (the doge having moved elsewhere) to take up residence in what according to Stringa was their regular position, the same hexagonal pergolo, the pulpitum magnum cantorum. In no case in the ceremoniale of 1564 are the singers assigned to the organ lofts for the singing of the double-choir psalms. In no case, either, is it required that they be divided into two, spatially separated groups. Indeed, the whole need for spatial separation as an aid to distinguishing aurally between the two groups of singers would surely have been obviated by the responsorial alternations of soloists and ripieno choir so central to the liturgically prescribed manner of performing salmi spezzati. It would appear that the remarks of Zarlino – addressed, perhaps, less to his colleagues in Venice than to the musical world at large – relate more to doublechoir performance practice in general than to the particular set of conditions that governed the performance of the psalms during Vespers at St Mark’s. His very choice of Willaert’s salmi as illustrative material may well have been determined by sheer necessity: in 1558, when the first edition of Le istitutionwi as published, no other polychoral music was readily available in print to his readers.”

BRYANT, David. The ‘cori spezzati’ of St Mark’s: Myth and Reality. In: FENLON, Iain (org). Early Music History, Vol. 1 (1981). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981, p. 165-186.