Tenorlied with viols

For our concerts in April at Worcester Early Music Festival, St Martin’s in the Cornmarket, Sunday 29th April at 3pm and at St Michael’s Church, Discoed on Thursday 19th April at 7.30pm we have great pleasure in being joined by tenor Mathew Pochin.  Below is some background into the songs we will be performing with Matthew.

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Matthew Pochin

Germans seemed to develop an affinity with the viol consort very quickly, a fact attested to by the large number of payments made to viol players in courtly circles throughout the Holy Roman Empire. Through the same period of time, composers such as Fink, Hafhaimer and especially Senfl, developed the distinctively German fashion for the Tenor Lied, a song style in which the dominant melody is given to the tenor part, with the discantus, contratenor and bassus parts weaving counterpoints above and below. The contemporaneous French Chanson and Italian Frottola gave the principal melody to the cantus, or upper part, although four-part writing was the norm throughout Europe in the first half of the century. Of the 86 pieces in Ms. 18 810, only 14 are texted (although many concordances appear with texts in other sources). 12 of these songs are by Senfl, the remaining two are by Jörg Blanckenmüller, of whom almost nothing is known save that he seems to have been active in Munich and dedicated a motet to an Augsburg musician in 1545. Most of the texted pieces have three verses, and all have the lyrics written only in the tenor part book, except for Senfl’s cycle of settings of Fortuna Desperata, in which all parts are texted. The subjects of the songs tend to be of a kind – dealing with unrequited love, requited love, lascivious mischief and so on. The longest song in the collection, which appears in many other sources too), is Senfl’s autobiographical “Lust hab ich ghabt zur musica”, with 12 verses describing the life in music of the composer.  David Hatcher 2018

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Undated portrait of Senfl c.1510. Artist unknown

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