Andoni Mercero, baroque violin
Juan Vega, recorders, txistu and silbote
Elena Martínez de Murgia, viola da gamba
Rafael Bonavita, tehorbo and baroque guitar
Sebastian Wonner, hapsichord
David Mayoral, percussion
The influence of dance on the development of instrumental music during the Baroque period is evident in the way its forms evolved, particularly the suite. And it is the suite — conceived as a set of dances of a distinct character — that forms the basis of the programme presented here.
This recording features the music of the music and dance performance Le Basque, which the Ensemble Diatessaron and Erregelak dance workshop premiered on 17 May 2005 at the Musikaste festival in Errenteria, offering a sample of the dance music of the 18th century that ranges from the refined elegance of Marin Marais to the popular Basque flute-and-drum pieces compiled by J. I. Iztueta.
The programme consists of five sections, which clearly show the influence on Basque and European music of the style that was so popular in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The first section includes Baroque court pieces under the title Le Basque — recalling the title that leading representatives of the French Baroque, such as Marin Marais, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Le Clerc and André Campra would often give to their works.
The second section is a suite composed of several pieces by Bernardo de Zala y Galdeano, of whom little or nothing is known. The music played here comes from a copy of the Libro de arpa de D. Bernardo de Zala y Galdiano (“Don Bernardo de Zala y Galdiano’s Harp Book”), published in Pamplona in 1700 and now in a private collection. Although we cannot be certain whether Zala was the composer of the music, or merely its compiler or even its patron, the music itself is of great quality, showing a clear French influence. It is also the most important record that we have of the secular music of Navarre before the 18th century.
The third section presents the courante, rondeau, sarabande and giga rhythms with melodies that have been preserved to this day as part of traditional Basque music — clearly a vestige of the Baroque fashions that once delighted generations of Basques. In 1824 Juan Ignacio de Iztueta published the book Gipuzkoako Dantza Gogoangarriak and in 1826 the first collection of popular Basque songs and dances, Gipuzkoako Dantzak. The purpose of this work was to preserve old dance tunes that were played in public squares but were giving way to new dances that were becoming popular (particularly the waltz and contradanza) among the nobility. Some melodies considered to be very old at the time date back to the 17th or even the 16th century, as we find in the case of Amorea Margaritatxo (“My Love Margarita”). In the late 18th century the famous linguist Wilhelm Freiherr von Humboldt collected the tunes that he heard on his travels through the Basque Country or had been given by he members of the Real Sociedad Bascongada. Most of these melodies were more recent than those compiled by Iztueta, with some belonging to what we might term the “European cultural heritage”, since they are melodies that are also found (with certain variations) in many other parts of Europe. An example of this is the melody that Lully used for Air pour les matelots, which is very similar to one collected by Humboldt and played in our recording on the txistu in our recording (a three-hole flute played with the left hand while the right plays a drum — the instrument that traditionally accompanies Basque dancing). Humboldt mentions a larger txistu in is writings tuned to the fourth, which may correspond to the instrument that is known today as the silbote. In order to tune to A=415 we have used a somewhat larger txistu than those used today. As far as we can tell from Iztueta’s writings, this txistu is of a very similar size to those used in the first half of the 18th century.
The fourth section is a suite by Marin Marais (1656–1728) from his book Pièces en Trio, published in 1692. Marais, a fine viola da gamba player and composer, was one of the most refined, elegant and distinguished maestros at the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, at Versailles. An ardent defender of the French style, in which the dominant instrumental form was the suite (so named because it originally referred to a succession of dances and pieces in a certain style, often with descriptive or poetic titles), in the face of a growing challenge from the Italian influences of the likes of Corelli and Vivaldi, who were bringing in new musical forms such as capriccios, partitas and sonatas.
The fifth and final section consists of original music by Mme. de Mazarredo, several tunes collected in the late 18th century by Von Humboldt during his Basque travels, and others from the repertoire of María Josefa Marco. This music reflects one of the most open periods of Basque culture — the Enlightenment — when the application of new fashions was absorbed into the traditional rhythms of the region to renew and invigorate popular music. We end with a selection from La Folia by A. Vivaldi (1678–1741). La Folía is a dance that was first mentioned in a 15th-century Portuguese text and had been associated with Spain since the early 17th century. Lively — sometimes even frenetic — in its pace, it would spread to every corner of Europe, where numerous composers based sets of variations on its harmonic model.
Elena Martínez de Murgía y Juan Vega
I. Le Basque
1. Entrée pour les Basques (Xerxes 1654), J.B. Lully (1632-1687)
2. Minue Ciegato, Minue del Rey (Libro de arpa de Bernardo Zala y Galdiano 1700)*
3. Le Basque (4ème livre 1717), Marin Marais (1656-1728)
4. Minue I Suite II (Libro de arpa de Bernardo Zala y Galdiano 1700)*
5. La Bourrée de Basque (Receüil de Contredanses, R.A. Feuillet, 1704), Ch. N. Le Clerc (1706-1774)
. La Gasconne (Receüil de Contredanses, R.A. Feuillet, 1704)
. La Podain (Receüil de Contredanses, R.A. Feuillet, 1704)
. Lau Puntuak, Tradiziozko euskal doinua
. La Biscayenne (Camille 1717), A. Campra (1660-1744)
II. Suite (Libro de Arpa de Bernardo de Zala y Galdiano 1700)*
7. Corrienta “Primer tono�?
9. Corrienta “Por el re�?
III. Quirón & Axatiña
10. Ouverture «Air pour les matelots», W.v. Humboldt (1767-1835)–J.B. Lully
11. Zezen soinua (Euskaldun Ancinaco ta are lendabicico etorquien dantza i…1826), J.I. Iztueta (1767-1845)
12. Amorea Margaritatxo (Euskaldun Ancinaco ta are lendabicico etorquien dantza i…1826), J.I. Iztueta
. Prozesio soinua (Euskaldun Ancinaco ta are lendabicico etorquien dantza i…1826, J.I. Iztueta)
13. Urso lüma gris gaxua, Tradiziozko euskal doinua
14. Giga (Euskaldun Ancinaco ta are lendabicico etorquien dantza i… 1826), J.I. Iztueta
IV. Pièces en Trio (1692), Marin Marais
V. Sarao de Bergara
19. Contrapas, W.v. Humboldt
20. Silbote, W.v. Humboldt
21. Fandango, Mª Josefa Marco (XVIII)
22. Fandango, Santiago de Murcia (1682 -1737)
23. El Cantarico, B. Iñiguez (1840-1902)
24. Zortziko, Mme. de Mazarredo (XVIII)
25. Folias (1705), A. Vivaldi (1678-1741)
* A partir de una transcripción de Antonio Baciero.
"Auténtico aire fresco en el autocomplaciente y a menudo reiterativo panorama musical" (Variaciones Goldberg, octubre 2007)
"El Ensemble Diatessaron está formado por conocidos intérpretes del ámbito barroco español, que para este trabajo mezclan el violín, la flauta dulce, la viola da gamba, la tiorba, la guitarra y el clave con puntuales intervenciones de instrumentos populares vascos, como el chistu o el silbote. La visión es de un ímpetu, una vitalidad y un colorido tan vibrantes que termina por arrastrar los pies del más adusto de los oyentes" (Pablo J. Vayón DIVERDI)