Friday, July 9, 2010

Danserye Part I of II--Tielman Susato- Renaissance Dance Music.

La Mourisque, Les Quatre Branles
Dance Music from the 1500's

This is one of my favorite traditional compositions from this Era--it is often on the short list of any high school or college program of Renaissance music. Suffice to say dancing had to be a bit more formal 450 years ago than now. Hard to find a good Volta Dancing School these days ;-)

Hope you enjoy. Here a bit more on Tielman Susato (1500/1515--1570), the composer, from Wikipedia.

"Not much is known about his early life, but he begins appearing in various Antwerp archives of around 1530 working as a calligrapher as well as an instrumentalist: trumpet, flute and tenor pipe are listed as instruments that he owned. From 1543 until his death he worked as a music publisher, creating the first music press in the Netherlands; until then printing had mainly been done in Italy, France and Germany. Soon afterwards, Susato was joined by Pierre Phal├Ęse at Leuven and Christopher Plantin, also in Antwerp, and the Low Countries became a regional center of music publishing. It is possible that Susato also ran a musical instrument business, and he attempted several times to form partnerships with other publishers but none were successful. In 1561 his son Jacob Susato, who died in 1564, took over his publishing business. Tielman Susato first moved to Alkmaar, North Holland, and later to Sweden. The last known record of him dates from 1570."


  1. "Hard to find a good volta dancing school nowadays...."

    Got a chuckle out of that one.

    Medaeval and Renaissance music has long been a favorite. Thanks for this one!!!

  2. Sounds to me like a nice bit of Renaissance Parvane dancing music, I have heard this piece before but did not know anything about the composer (including his name) thanks for that info Doug. He got about a bit didn't he this Mr Susato, I am frequently surprised by the mobility of people throughout history and the distances so many people covered.
    You get the feeling that for a man of his talents originating in cloth rich Flanders where international banking was first being established around that time, the whole of western Europe was Susato's oyster.

    Nice piece thanks for posting it Doug

  3. You're welcome.

    It was good to find a full-out orchestra for this composition Astra. It's been a very versatile piece of music for smaller arrangements, but this one captures the version I first heard a while back.

    There is something about this period type of music in northern Europe I feel in my bones. Hard to explain but it does.

  4. Thanks for filling in some details AA.

    Yes, I wish I could find pout more about Susato on the web but details are sparse on this amazing composer. I was surprised too how far about he got.

    It is remarkable how people got around so well in an age of only wind and horse power, and where many roads were likely lairs for brigands.

    Good point about banking and the textile trade: money attracted the upper classes to sponsor artists and the desire for "showing off" plays into the creation of fine art.

    Speaking of brigands, JD Rockefeller, Jr, famously sponsored Diego Rivera to do a mural in New York's Rockefeller Center in the early 1930's, although they had it destroyed when they discovered it was "Marxist". One wonders what the hell they expected from the guy?

    The Florentines knew a bit about banking and they attracted Ghiberti, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, et al. It was also places like Flanders I believe that had their fair share of great painters as well.

  5. Excellent point Doug, during the late Middle Ages all the major investors in the increasingly and internationally important English wool trade (the raw material for Flanders textile industry) were either Flemings or Italians....Italian was the language of the business class at that time in England, when French was the language of the lords temporal (government) and Latin the language of the lords spiritual (church).....nobody who was anybody spoke English which was the language of the peasantry.

  6. Thanks for posting that link to the Rivera story, he has always been a favourite artist of mine. I think it is fascinating that the mega capitalists were so scared of a painting that they took hammers to it and destroyed it rather than let it go to MoMA to subvert the public with its revolutionary images.

    This kind of dullard, philistine paranoia resonates with the Nazi book burners in Germany at that time (which the Rockefeller Foundation also subsidised, nurtured and invested in of course) and sets the tone for the robber barony that were to become the dynamo to dumbed down America, caught like a rabbit in the headlights of history and brainwashed by Edward Bernays PR gurus.

    It is a testament to any artist or intellectual that his or her ideas are seen as so dangerous that they have to be suppressed.
    However, the very act of suppressing them inevitably guarantees their continued survival and value added potency as icons of principle over propaganda, of authenticity over superficiality and sanity over madness. 'You can't buy class' as my old Granny often used to say, meaning no matter how much money they have stuffed under the mattress a dumkopf is still a dumkopf at the end of the day.

    Your larger point about the relationship between wealth, banking and culture is very well made by this illustration I think, but getting back to the music it is really wonderful Doug.

    I love the percussion in La Mourisque...its like a sort of proto-jazz- Gene Krupa or Sandy Nelson would have fitted in to this band also reminds me a bit of the music I heard on the streets of Kathmandu and come to think of it..... the 'movement and motion' lessons I did at school when I was about 7.

    Great choice Doug.

  7. Arrived in a while ago and the music is greand and the story behind this ...meanwhile I believe that I see "Esso" there on your wallpaper did that once exist there or it it called Exxon now. As here we have always had all the different name changes with the exception of Esso still being a retained name Doug.

    This is superb music to say the least his talents obviously were something that prevailed for Tielman. Listened to this as truly was different in the manner that it was uplifting and one really did feel the "Spring" within it.

    All the best to you and yours Doug.

  8. Shows you how much the world changes, AA. English is still the major international language I suppose, although I imagine Chinese lessons are popular these days.

    I know for a long time the Kings of England spoke French after 1066. Not sure who the first monarch was who held court in MIddle English.

    I guess that must be were the term "lingua franca" came from.

  9. Thanks Jack.

    I always enjoyed this music. Uplifting and very much a music of awakening, as in Springtime.

    I belive Esso was the parent of Exxon. Something about this painting--simple and quiet small town Americana--drew me into the work from the first time I saw it.

  10. By the middle of the 14th century discussions in Parliament were increasingly taking place in English, so during the reign of Plantagenet King Edward III.

    It is known for a fact that the Lancastrian Henry IV spoke in English to Parliament in 1399... his words having been recorded and preserved.

    One major impediment to the adoption of English was the great variation between the regional dialects that were then spoken and it was not until the arrival of printing that English was standardised in its written form and could become the coherent official language of England's government.

  11. Thanks much for that background AA.

    Hard to imagine a time when English had the status of Yiddish in 19th Century Eastern Europe.

  12. If anyone is interested I am working on a series of electronic transcriptions of the music in Susato's Danserye. Details available via pm.

  13. Thanks Myscha. Sounds very interesting.