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Via Artis Konsort
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Parts of the new album “Crosswork” by Via Artis Konsort were recorded in San Esteban de la Sierra (Spain) in the beginning of June 2011

      

6 years ago |
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7 years ago |
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Cantiga CSM 103 “Quen a Virgen ben servirá” from “Cantigas de Santa María, Spain, XIII century, performed by the early music ensemble Via Artis Konsort.

           

Recorded at Græsted Church, Denmark and filmed “on location” at the Monastery of Leyre, Spain. HD vertsion.
You’re welcome to share the video.

7 years ago |
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Todo el mundo en general
by the Spanish organist Francisco Correa de Arauxo, recorded at the renaissance organ at the Castle of Sonderborg, Denmark.

           

Todo el mundo en general is included on the CD El Arte de Tañer by Via artis Konsort member Poul Udbye Pock-Steen. The CD is released on PARLA son- [parla09001]

7 years ago |
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A brief historical background for the “Art of Touch” - project

The year 1492 marks a cultural turning point for Spain.
This is the year where the Italian Cristobal Columbus - financially supported by the Spanish queen Isabel - discovers a totally new continent, almost by chance, and thus opens the gate to a new era of Spanish influence in politics, economics and culture.

1492 is also the year which marks the definitive end of Islamic supremacy on the Iberian Peninsula.
Since 711 the North African, Muslim Moors had maintained the control over parts of the territories we today call Spain and Portugal. During more than 700 years ever changing alliances of Christian principalities and kingdoms fought for political power and territorial control, against the Muslim caliphates.
The fortune of war changed throughout the centuries, but in the long run the Moors was forced into the south-eastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula and by the end of the 15th century the last Iberian caliphate was reduced to a minor territory around Granada.

Multicultural societies
In the areas that in the course of time were conquered by the Christian alliances, the Muslims - and the Jews – continued to live together, now as vassals under the Christian control.
The Muslim group, called Mudéjares, together with the sephardic Jews, constituted a relatively large part of the inhabitants, having a significant influence on the Christian Spanish society, especially within areas as medicine, architecture, economics, art, literature and music.

The end of the beginning
As time goes by and the influence of the Christian alliances on the peninsula is reinforced, the tolerance between the population sections decreases significantly. With the fall of Granada in 1492 it has definitely come to an end for the Muslim supremacy on the Iberian Peninsula, and also with any kind of unproblematic coexistence between the Christians, Muslims and the Jews.
In 1499 the Catholic kings Fernando and Isabel order all non-Christian Spaniards to be baptized under coercion and every mosque and synagogue are rebuilt into churches.
In 1609 after still a century with riots and inquisition all the population groups which are not considered ethnically Christian are forced to leave Spain.

New winds
During the 16th century new cultural winds blowing inward Spain gradually replaced older musical forms and instruments with new performing practices and theory from other corners of Europe.
But the thorough efforts of the Catholic church and the Crown to erase every trace of Islamic and Jewish influence in Spanish cultural life were only partly successful. Elements of oriental influence can be noticed in some parts of the Spanish art music well into the 18th century.
As for the folk music the Oriental element never disappears entirely and Arab as well as Sephardic and African influences are still a living part of the Spanish musical idiom.

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“El Arte de Tañer” (The Art of Touch - or the art of playing) is a CD recorded by the Via Artis Konsort member Poul Udbye Pock-Steen.
The CD is the first part of a larger project all about early organ music, i.e. organ music from late Medieval times to the Baroque period, with a special focus on the original performing instruments.
The CD recording has been supported by The Danish Embassy in Madrid and the foundation Reina Isabel de Dinamarca.

7 years ago |
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El Arte de Tañer / Kunsten at røre

    1. Pavana con su glosa - Spanish, XVI cent., Antonio de Cabezón
      Recorded as a duo between the Francisco Salinas organ and the Capilla Dorada organ, both Historic Cathedral of Salamanca, Spain
    2. Ya no quiero tener fe - Spanish, XVI cent., Juan del Encina
      Recorded at the Capilla Dorada organ, Historic Cathedral of Salamanca
    3. El aire se serena - Spanish poem XVI cent., Fray Luis de León
      Recorded at the Historic Cathedral of Salamanca, Spain
    4. Claúsula de cuarto tono - Spanish, XVI cent., Tomás de Santa María
      Recorded at the Francisco Salinas organ, Historic Cathedral of Salamanca, Spain
    5. No me digays Madre - Spanish, XVI cent., Francisco Salinas
      Recorded as a duo between the Francisco Salinas organ and the Capilla Dorada organ, both Historic Cathedral of Salamanca, Spain
    6. Prelude du cinqueme ton - French XVII cent., Guilliaume-Gabriel Nivers
      Recorded at the renaissance organ at Sønderborg Slot, Denmark
    7. Rind nu op i Jesu navn - Spanish, XVI cent., Anon.
      Recorded at the renaissance organ at Sønderborg Slot, Denmark
    8. Haec Dies - French, XIII cent., Magister Leoninus
      Recorded at the Capilla Dorada organ, Historic Cathedral of Salamanca, Spain
    9. Claúsula de sexto tono - Spanish, XVI cent., Tomás de Santa María
      Recorded at the renaissance organ at Sønderborg Slot, Denmark
    10. No me digays Madre, baile
      Recorded on Castillian pipe and tabor at Thomas Kingos Kirke, Denmark
    11. Salve Regina - German, XV cent., Anon.
      Recorded at the renaissance organ at Sønderborg Slot, Denmark
    12. Suite Pastoral, Flemish, XVI cent. Tielmann Susato
      Recorded at the renaissance organ at Sønderborg Slot, Denmark
    13. Claúsula de segundo tono - Spanish, XVI cent., Tomás de Santa María
      Recorded at the Capilla Dorada organ, Historic Cathedral of Salamanca, Spain
    14. Taksim, Romance
      Recorded on a ney flute at Thomas Kingos Kirke, Denmark
    15. Para quien creí yo cabellos - Spanish, XVI cent., Antonio de Cabezón
      Recorded at the Francisco Salinas organ, Historic Cathedral of Salamanca, Spain
    16. Duuinsela - Spanish, XVI cent., Antonio Cabezón
      Recorded at the renaissance organ at Sønderborg Slot, Denmark
    17. Mortal tristura - Spanish, XVI cent., Juan del Encina
      Recorded at the Francisco Salinas organ, Historic Cathedral of Salamanca
    18. Todo el mundo en general - Spanish, XVII cent., Francisco Correa de Arauxo
      Recorded at the renaissance organ at Sønderborg Slot, Denmark
7 years ago |
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A translation will be posted soon

7 years ago |
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This is only a short summary of the article “From listener to co-producer” describing an alternative model for the financing of small or non-commercial CD productions.
Arrange for a cup of coffee and set the music to play while you read the full story “From listener to co-producer” :)

 

What is it all about?
We have set up a model for the financing of our next CD publication, Crosswork (working title). The model involves the listener in the CD production process, not only as a listener, but as a co-producer of the CD. The potential listener buys one or more shares in the production in advance, against receiving a CD per share, and a part of the surplus generated by the CD sale.

Why a new model?
The economical conditions for any CD production are unusual poor at the moment. There are many reasons for that, but one of the reasons lies in our changing listener habits which tell us - preferably - not to pay for the music we consume. We’re rapidly getting used to the fact that music is “free of charge” on the Internet.
One side effect is an already notable restraint in the output from established record companies as well as the smaller independent producers. This could mean, eventually, a more limited choice for the music consumers. By actively participating in the production of music you ensure yourself that the music you’d like to listen to will still be available.

What’s in it?
1. A well-produced CD for €14
2. Updated information on the recording process
3. With purchases of 10+ shares several profiling arrangements can be agreed upon (please see the complete version of “From listener co-producer”, or contact the publishing label PARLA son, or any of the members of the Via Artis Konsort ensemble).
4. Last but not least, you obtain the right to a share of the surplus from the CD sale. You’ll receive your share every year, or you can choose to include it in a collective donation to The Grameen Foundation which in 2006 obtained the Nobel Prize for the distribution of micro-loans among women in the developing countries.

What now if …..
The Publishing company PARLA son guarantees in advance the purchase of all shares not sold publicly before the date of the release. The production is thus being financed 100%, and the co-producers will not be held financially responsible in case of a failed CD sale.
(Please read the whole story which also includes a detailed budget, or contact the publishing label PARLA son, or any of the members of the Via Artis Konsort ensemble)

Where do I purchase a share?
Please go to the Supporters page or to the PARLA son webpage.

7 years ago |
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Vicissitudes of the music business are slowly causing a change in our listening habits.
One of the consequences of the current development is a growing number of independent CD publications, each one representing a more modest sale. This situation enforces new bonds to grow between the publisher (often the very same musicians on the CD) and the listeners. Have you ever thought about participating in a CD production?
Read on while you listen to the Swedish folkkoral Du livsens bröd (1)

Mp3, digitalization, download’s, Web 2.0 ……
The development within CD production and distribution continues with an exorbitant speed. Only within the recent year the picture has changed dramatically and new channels to distribute music are launched almost every day. At the same time the music business seems to be in a chronic crisis, some are using such loaded terms as paradigm shift and nobody really knows where the wind blows, that is, how future music productions are going to be produced and distributed to the listeners.

Trade in crisis?
It really shouldn’t be of any concern to the consumers of music whether the music business is experimenting a crisis - and it may seem fairly irrelevant to the listeners how the music business are planning to solve any of their sales- or distribution problems. But it can turn out to be more relevant than first thought. First of all because the problems of the music industry have a direct impact on the quantity and, more important, the quality of the musical productions being offered.
Right now everything suggest that music production, be it classical or popular music, will continue the path of decentralization that it already has been taken for nearly a decade. That means on the positive side that music production is definitely liberated. Anyone who is in possession of a good stereo microphone and 3.000 € for the printing costs will technically be able to produce themselves.
The big media corporations, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group are not any longer in a position to decide whether a music production is going to be published or not.

Free music on the Internet
The negative side of the story is that a large group of “free and independent” productions seems to get lost in the crowd and never reach the listeners, often due to a missing or poorly established distribution.
At the same time the Internet has caused our listening habits to change and most of us a try consciously to avoid paying for the music. Why should we?, music’s free of charge on the Internet! Quiet a few public voices have even argued that music should be considered a human right and therefore freely available and free of charge for everybody.

Fewer and less significant productions
The conditions for music production are definitely not optimal. For the professional publishing companies the current situation actually means a smaller yield. As a result the companies are holding back on the expenses which necessarily has a direct impact on productions of a less commercial or experimental character.
For the independent producers an “overlooked” CD publication often causes the next production to be postponed or not even released at all. All in all, in the long run the listener will have to choose between fewer and less significant productions.

A solution to the problem
A way to ensure oneself as a listener a manifold offer and a high musical level, is to become engaged in the production of that specific music you’d like to listen to, and at the same time assume some sort of economical responsibility. That is, to become a co-producer! At first that may sound a bit overwhelming, but it shouldn’t necessarily be so.

The model
Let us first assume that an album can be produced with a number of fixed minimum expenses. These expenses include:
- Musicians salary
- Recording studio expenses
- Expenses for layout and printing of the CD
- A fixed onetime fee for the record company covering production management, accounting and distribution.
In order to finance the production a fixed number of “shares” are publicly offered to private persons as well as companies. Together these shares cover all net expenses, that is the expenses deducted any guaranteed income like economical support from foundations and other institutions, or any anticipated sale.
The surplus generated from the CD sale is shared between the share holders, that is between the co-producers.
The price of the each share is fixed in advance and each share grants the holder the right to a free copy of the CD production, free updated information during the recording process, and an invitation to the CD release reception/concert.
The purchase of several shares also implies several other advantages, such as free advertising on the webpages of the ensemble and the record company. CDs can also freely be resold.
At the end of the accounting year a balance for this particular production is presented to the co-producers. In years when the production leads to surpluses, the co-producers can individually choose to receive their corresponding share of the surplus or let their share enter a common donation to a previously elected recipient (e.g. Thee Grameen Foundation).

Becoming concrete - a share for 14€
The album Crosswork (working title) by Via Artis Konsort is being recorded between February 2010 and May 2010 (scheduled release June 2010), with the following regular expenses:
See the individual budgets for specified entries

Musicians salary (minimum salary according to the Danish Musicians Trade Union DMF) € 8.800
Recording studio € 3.200
Printing and layouts (the exact price depends on the number of copies, etc) € 4.000
Production management, accounting and distribution (PARLA son) € 3.067
Total approximated costs € 19.100

The production costs are being financed by the following incomes:

Anticipated/Immediate sale € 5.389
Economical support € 2.665
Issue and sale of 789 shares each with a value of 14€ € 11.046
Total approximated income: € 19.100

The Publishing company PARLA son guarantees in advance the purchase of all shares not sold publicly, up to 789 shares. The production is thus being financed 100%, and the co-producers cannot be held financially responsible in case of a failed CD sale.

What is a share worth??
All co-producers get their name published (with a link) on a sponsor list at the Via Artis Konsort web page. (The co-producer may of course also remain anonymous)
All co-producers receive 1 CD for each share purchased. These CDs can freely be resold by the co-producer.
Co-producers with 10+ shares can place an advertisement or a logo on the webpages of Via Artis Konsort (the ensemble), laNiche Music (the concert manager) and PARLA son (the publishing label), free of charge.
The name of the co-producers will also appear on sponsor lists at various music portals, among others Facebook and InstantEncore.
Co-producers with 25+ shares will, apart from being represented on various web pages, also be listed as sponsors in the Via Artis Konsort printed concert program, distributed at more than 30 concerts in Denmark and abroad during 2010.

Surplus
The overall surplus from the sale of the remaining CDs is shared at the end of each accounting year between the co-producers with 1/789 part of the surplus per share. The size of the surplus depends on the number of printed CDs:

Printing 2.000 copies - surpluses per share 0 - € 8 
Printing 3.000 copies - surpluses per share 0 - € 21
Printing 4.000 copies - surpluses per share 0 - € 33

Every year (until the CD is sold out) the co-producers can chose, on an individually basis, to receive the surplus, or let their part of the surplus be included in a common donation to the Grameen Foundation, which manage the Nobel Prize-rewarded effort of offering cheap micro-loans to especially women in the developing countries.

What now if …?
In fact only three scenarios are possible:

  • The CD is not produced due to unforeseen occurrences, forte major, etc.
    The amounts paid by the co-producers are returned.
  • The CD is produced and released but does not sell as expected.
    Each co-producer will have the pleasant experience of following a CD production closely and will also receive a nice and well-produced CD per share. Co-producers holding several shares do still get the added value, advertising, etc.
  • The CD sells between 1,200 and 3,200 copies as expected.
    Each co-producer will have the pleasant experience of following a CD production closely and receives a well-produced CD per share. Co-producers holding several shares will also have the added value, advertising, etc.
    Additionally, a surplus is generated that can be paid out to the co-producer, or donated as a contribution to a worthy project in the developing countries.

Who’s controlling that everything goes on properly?
PARLA son is a Danish registered company with a licensed accountant affiliated. The CD project has its own balance within the yearly account lead for PARLA son.

When should I purchase a share?
Registration for the purchases has already started. Please sign up on the page “Supporters” at the Via Artis Konsort website or at the PARLA son webpage. Until the final purchase takes place the registration is non-binding.
We’ll send you an e-mail and ask you to pay your shares beginning of May 2010, when the first expenses should be covered. You will be able to pay using a normal credit card or via a Paypal account.
By then the majority of the material has already been recorded and all registered co-producers have received video material from the recordings.


???(1) Du livsens bröd is one of the new fascinating songs to be found (in a new recording) on Via Artis Konsort next CD (release June 2010)

8 years ago |
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Album notes for El Arte de Tañer (parla09001)
Cabezón’s famous pavanne that probably isn’t a pavanne and maybe not even by Cabezón.
 
This catchy dance piece with variations originates from a music book published in 1577 by the Spanish organist Luis Venegas de Henestrosa. The piece is attributed to “Antonio”, and this, sort of insider information, has been interpreted by music researchers throughout the years as a reference to the contemporary Spanish organist Antonio de Cabezón. To what degree this is true has already been discussed a lot of times, but it’s probable that Antonio de Cabezón had a greater name than Henestrosa himself at that time, not least in those circles where the potential buyers of the music book were to be found.
“Antonio” may therefore have worked as a musical teaser for the publication.

Pavanne in three
Pavana con su glosa is clearly a dance piece. It also complies with the ordinary form structure of the pavanne, i.e., AA’ BB’ CC’, but even though the piece possesses the stately character and form structure of a pavanne, it has a marked tripartite rhythm, whereas a pavanne is in a simple duple meter. Further more the piece shows a clear folía character. The bass figure is as a matter of fact built on the harmonious chord progression (1) that characterizes this originally Portuguese dance: (i) - V-i-VII-III-VII-i-V- (i).
Is Pavana con su glosa a pavanne or is it a folía? Would it be possible to dance the waltz in a simple duple meter? These interesting questions I’ll leave for others to answer, and instead try to focuse on a very different and more technical detail.

Irregular dance steps
The piece has already been recorded by a large number of excellent musicians, each offering a different idea of how to perform the pavana, nevertheless among all these very valid renderings there was always one thing that annoyed me, namely the inconsistency of the form. Pavana con su glosa consists of two main parts:
First the listener is presented to a number of simple plays through the folía sequence V-i-VII-III-VII-i-V- (i) and secondly variations, or rather improvisations, follow over the same array of sequences.
Unfortunately, in the commonly used transcription (by Higinio Anglés) the improvisation doesn’t follow the exact progression of chords; some extra chords have been added. That is exactly what annoys me. If Pavana con su glosa is a dance piece, shouldn’t the improvisation section be just as be long as the presentation section, containing, so to speak, the same number of steps?

So let us take a closer look at the improvisation section:
As already said, the structure of the piece complies to the pavanne structure AA’ BB’ CC’, i.e. three different parts, each one repeating itself.
What makes the improvisation longer than the presentation, is an extra bar at the fifth harmonious level at the beginning of both the A, A’, B, B’ and the C parts. Let us first look at A and the repetition A’.
In Anglés’ transcription the two parts are identical and consequently both one bar “to long”. Let us start by assuming that a typo, sometime in history, caused the repetition indications to be set erroneously. Let us next assume that the first bar is a kind of pickup measure, that indicates a change from the first part of the dance to the following. Then the A and A’ parts will begin on what corresponds to the 2nd bar in the Anglés transcription.
Now both A and A’ parts follow the same progression in the improvisation as well as in the presentation section.

illustration14

Now for BB’ parts and now things are getting complicated. In the Anglés transcription the BB’ parts are identical, consequently both having an extra bar at the beginning. The “redundant” bar lies at the V chord level and the melody line begins at a C sharp, exactly as in the last bar of A and A’. Let us now assume that the first bar in Anglés’ transcription of B and B’ originally was meant to replace the last bar of A’ and act as a transition to B. Let us further assume that the same bar was intended also to replace the last bar in B and likewise act as a transition from B to B’. That will give us a B and a B’ part in the improvisation that closely resemble the B and the B’ from the presentation section.

illustration2

So far we have an improvisation section that follows the presentation section as well in structure as in chord progression (2). It’s now easy to sense the basso ostinato governing the whole AA’ BB’ course of events. But there’s still something that doesn’t fit in C and C’.
C and C’ aren’t identical and last all together 9 bars in the Anglés transcription. As before, if we assume that the first bar of C in Anglés’ transcription originally was meant to replace the last bar of B’ and thus act as a transition to C, we have solved the problem with the uneven number of bars. But we aren’t done yet. In Anglés’ transcription the entire folía chord progression in the CC’ - parts seems to have been dislocated a pulse beat to the left!

illustration3

Let us therefore assume that the transition from B’ to C ought to have the same dynamic character as the correspondent transition from A’ to B. That is in fact achievable by moving the entire CC’ parts a pulse beat to the right! Thus, the folía progression is, so to speak, set on place. Now the structure of C and C’ in the improvisation section corresponds closely to the same course in the presentation section.
Voíla!, we now have a dance piece with improvisations you’d actually be able to dance to.

illustration4

Now, that we’re in it …
The pavanne structure with the repetition of its component parts strongly appeals to a shift in dynamics and timbre between the repetitions. In the recording from the Cathedral of Salamanca I’ve recorded the pavana as a duet between the two renaissance positives of the cathedral. Since I felt that each positive ought to have its own improvisation, I have composed an extra improvisation section. The first improvisation on the recording consequently has not been composed by Antonio – whoever he was - but is a new addition, written in Antonio’s style.

Yes, I’m aware of it. The eternal question concerning historical correctness arises again. In response to that I can only say that the current dissection and subsequent repair of Pavana con su glosa isn’t an attempt to come up with a musicological treatise. With the due respect for the work of Higinio Anglés I hasten to emphasize that I’ve not yet seen the original manuscript and therefor I cannot know WHEN in history things went wrong, or IF they have gone wrong at all. That will be another day.
This is exclusively my bid on an interpretation of the famous renaissance piece, from a purely musical point of view.

 
(1) The Folia chord the progression may vary slightly. Note that this particular progression is a musical palindrome
(2) In the improvisation section the progression V-i-VII-III-VII-i-V- (i) has been replaced by V-i-VII-III-VII-iv-V- (i)
Sources: La música en la corte de Carlos V, con la transcripción del “Libro de cifra nueva para tecla, harpa y vihuela” de Luys Venegas de Henestrosa (Alcalá de Henares, 1557) by Higinio Anglés

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