Originally from Belgium and The Netherlands, the carillon is found throughout the world and is experiencing a real golden age at this point in history. There are close to 200 instruments in North America alone, and the performers are frequently superb virtuosi on the instrument. A modern carillon is capable of extraordinary sensitivity to touch and has, in the latter part of the 20th century, become a true concert instrument. There are national schools in The Netherlands (Amersfoort), Belgium (Mechelen), and France (Douai). In North America, while there is no national school, there are two large centers of carillon study: the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and at Berkeley. The difficulty in playing comes not from the delay between striking the note and the sound of the bell (that is minimal in a modern instrument), rather the real difficulty comes in controlling such a large collection of very heavy weights and still taking care with voicing and other musical matters
Duration: 0'47", 754 kB. (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
Duration: 0'17", 254 kB. (128kB/s, 22050Hz)
|Folies d'Espagne (2003)
Sint-Pieterskerk, Leuven, Belgium
|Published by the magazine "Campanae
June 2003, page 29, used with permission
|© sheet music by Nieuwsbrief
The sheet music of the automatic-play drum. The drum's rotation,
similar to a music box,
Dos estrellas le siguen, morena,
y dan luz al sol :
va de apuesta, señora morena,
que esos ojos son.
Duration: 1'58", 1760 kB. (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
Nearly the equal of Hidalgo and Marín by the quality if not the quantity of his output (two other composers featured at the compact disc, editor), Manuel Machado (c.1590-1646) was a composer and instrumentalist of Portuguese extraction who pursued his career in Spain. He seems to have been much appreciated at court as a chamber musician and he mastered a number of instruments. Only twenty works of his are extant, all secular songs in Spanish, and all of exceeding beauty. A case in point is the finesse of his 'Dos estrellas le siguen', comprising a single stanza. This gem of a song, which opens this recording, is encased in a series of variations elaborated by our musicians on the famous 'Folía', a ground bass that was popular throughout Europe.
La Folia and from Manuel Machado: Dos estrellas le siguen
The famous Follia is a dance of Portuguese origin of the XV century. Exported to Spain, France and Italy becomes a society and court dance. On the contrary, Lei foulié espagnolo, also known as Danse du Turc, was performed in Provence as a representation of two young Saracens’ story. .
Duration: 2'10", 1781 kB. (112kB/s, 44100Hz)
Although the manuscript is not dated, it must have been
produced after 1700. In this manuscript there is a Giga from Corelli's Op.
5 (that was published on 1700). Monica Hall thinks that around 1730 is more
likely because it sounds similar to S.Murcia's book published on 1732. I
can agree with this.
In the Iberian tradition, the book is notated in numerical (as opposed to alphabetical) tablature; though the notes are there, however, as is the case with the two other Portuguese baroque guitar sources, rhythmic indications are lacking (with a small number of exceptions), the interpretation in this respect being left to the performer (I reconstructed the rhythmic structure by myself).
|Theme of Folias de Espanha (c.1700)||Transcribed by P. Galvão, used with permission|
The variations on the Folias are also highly idiomatic, and a brilliant rhythmic and melodic exploration of this famous basso ostinato theme.
Duration: 1'26", 03 kB.
|Theme of Diferencias de las Folías (c.1700)||Hudson, Richard Vol I, p. 122|
The Folia is a danza of Portuguese origin with an extensive history in Spain - there being references to it as far back as the fifteenth century. During the course of the seventeenth century the harmonic pattern known as the folías de España became widely used (the three that we include here follow that pattern).[...] The Diferencias de Folías taken from an anonymous book of harp tablature coming from Avila (and preserved today in the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid) are of particular interest as they contain three original variations in plucked style (clearly those in the strummed style are additions here) which correspond to the two most common forms of folías known in the Spanish Baroque; folías a la Italiana (variations I and III) and folías a la española (variation II). The latter are distinguished by their melodies with upbeats and a clear preference for the dominant key. The use of the campanela (a frequently employed guitar resource in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) which consists of plucking the melodies with the fingers on several strings whilst allowing them to resonate, in this way perfectly imitating the sound of the harp.
Folies d'Espagnes pour clavecin (manuscript, collected 1695): 27 couplets, extract
Folies d'Espagnes (f. 6v). By far the longest and most difficult piece in the collection, this work is a series of variations on the well-known theme and bass of La Folia. Couperin's set is noteworthy for more than one reason. First, its unusual length is impressive: containing no fewer than 27 couplets, it is longer even than d'Anglebert's famous set. The set in Couperin's manuscript has clear links with d'Anglebert's work, which was published only after Couperin left for Turin: 4th couplet = d'Anglebert's 4th, 7th couplet = d'Anglebert's 6th, 13th couplet = d'Anglebert's 22nd, 16th couplet = d'Anglebert's 21st, 26th couplet = d'Anglebert's 16th. Some of these correspondences are extremely close, even down to the little ornamental notes, and cannot be the result of coincidence. We may conclude that Couperin had some contact with d'Anglebert. Perhaps he studied harpsichord with him. The work is conceived according to a solid plan, not without its own internal subtlety. After the opening statement of the theme, there follow four groups of six variations (couplet 2-7, 8-13, 14-19, 20-25), followed by a short coda (the last two variations). Each group of six is different as a result of the increasing virtuosity but is nevertheless built in the same way structurally and organised identically: (i) figuration for th e right hand, followed by (ii) the same figuration for the left hand and (iii) a melodic variation starting on D. Then (iv) the two previous figurations of each hand combined together in both hands, followed by (v) a melodic variation starting on F, derived from (iii). Each group of six variations ends with (vi) a bass solo. The most elaborate and rapid figuration is reached in the 23rd couplet, after which the intensity relaxes somewhat.
Duration: 1'38", 1.5 Mb. (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
'Pagginton's Pound' was one of the most popular ballads in England during the Elizabethan era, for which one can count no fewer than 100 different texts with numerous immoral themes: criminality, infidelity, thefts, executions, hangings, etc. This is a dialoque between a valet and his mistress who complains that her husband is always drunk, stupid and a liar. Only a few verses are used here because of course the mistress leaves with the valet. This song is based on the bass line of a primitive Folia for which we have used Corelli's variations and parts of du Faronel's Ground.
An Elizabethan tune, Packington's Pound was so popular that by the end of the seventeenth century more than a hundred ballads has been printed calling for the tune. It continued in popularity until at least the middle of the eighteenth century and instrumental versions abound. This recording attemps a performance such as would have been heard on a street corner in the seventeenth century. No ballad survives to tell us who or what Packington was, but there are three people with whom the tune may have associations: Sir John Pakington (a favorite of Queen Elizabeth); his great uncle, Sir Thomas Pakington (who was instrumental in walling up the fourth side of the Inner Temple Gardens); and Thomas Paginton (a court musician who died in 1586). ('Paginton's Round' is called for on some ballads.)
The modal tunes of Pakingtons Pound & Parsons Farewell and the rhythmic 'Scotch snaps' in Stingo sound Celtic, but they are all based on the Spanish folías ground.The later Folia-theme is briefly quoted twice as an arrangement of Pakington's Pownde, but I fail to see any similarity with the theme of the early Folia and the tunes mentioned above.
In the eighteenth century the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book manuscript was owned by the composer Johann Christoph Pepusch. His wife, an excellent harpsichordist, found the pieces in the FWV technically far more demanding than the most difficult sonatas by Scarlatti.
Duration: 2'38", 06 kB.
|Theme of The Spanish Follye||by Hudson Vol I, p. 113|
the program opens with one of the many sets of variations on the theme of Folia de España by an anonymous composer of the 16th century.Not much to go on, but the 16th century as indication needs some correction because the later Folia melody and chord progression is involved (introduced in 1672). As the name already indicates i guess some variations of the manuscript collected by Martín Y Coll are involved.
All variations of Follia parte pa
5 page in pdf-format, 589 kB
Duration: 0'29", 01 kB.
|Manuscript from the archive Bosch van Rosenthal||© Rijksarchief Gelderland, used with permission|
Duration: 5'08", 17 kB.
6 page in pdf-format, 97 kB
|Manuscript from the archive Bosch van Rosenthal||© Rijksarchief Gelderland, used with permission|
Duration: 2'43", 08 kB.
|Theme of Folías graves||by Hudson Vol I, p. 140|
What is strange about the Oxford manuscript is that the French tuning (aka D minor tuning) required for this piece was not commonly used in Britain. So, the manuscript may be French. If it is French it probably is from before 1700 because new music for the lute was not produced anymore in France after 1700.
Duration: 0'32", 01 kB.
Valéry Sauvage plays
Duration: 3'41" direct link to YouTube
Duration: 3'47", 07 kB.
1 page in pdf-format, 71 kB
.Folies d'Espagne (Spanische Torheiten), eine Lautenkomposition mit Variationen aus dem handschriftlichen Lautenbuch des Grafen Wolkenstein- Rodenegg (Ms. Berlin), um 1685, deren weite Verbreitung aus ihrer Wiederkehr in zahlreichen zeitgenössischen Lautenbüichern erhellt; ja, damit nicht genug: auch für verwandte lnstrumente aller Art iibertrug man sie - ais Kuriosum sei ihr Auftau chen als "Folie de Spange" in einer Berliner Handschrift (Mus.MsA0267) für das "Hamburger Cithrinchen" (eine Art Cither mit 5 gleichgestimmten Saiten) vermerkt. Dabei ist die Melodie hochst ansprüchslos und einfach, ebenso wie die gewiss harmlosen Variationen über sie, und hat hier hauptsächlich wegen ihrer enormen Popularität als Probe einer volkstümlichen Lautenkunst Aufnahme gefunden*). - Franzosische Tabulatur
The Division Flute 24 mb, 35 pages
Faronells Ground (from 'The division flute') as played by Romeo Ciuffa and Giancarlo delle Chiaie
An anonymous set of divisions on the famous Follia ground bass, from The Division Flute issued by Walsh in London, 1704
Anonymous Follia played by Stefan Temmingh and ensemble live
Duration: 5'50", 11 kB.
|Theme of Follías de España||by Hudson Vol I, p. 143|
Many composers were inspired to write variations to the
famous dance piece Folias de Espan˜a. For centuries it rated in the top
ten along with Greensleeves. My version is from a manuscript datet 1764
in Barcelona containing a vast collection of Hammered Dulcimer music
(Salterio). It is the piece de resistance in my programs. I love playing
it and put it in the programs, since it allways arrives well even with
folk audiences. So for the last 2 years I played it in various concerts
(Folk and Classical) in Canada and Argentina. I play the Folias 1 tone
lower (in d-minor) because the range of my instrument is not high enough.
I combine pizzicato and hammering in my interpretation. Var 6 both hands
Pizz. (as suggested in the edition by Schickhaus). Var 7 and 10 'melody'
pizz. lower part hammered after var 10 I repeat the theme pizzicato.
I play the variations on a Appenzell stile Hackbrett which I built in a Hackbrettbuilding course at the Heimatwerkschule in Richterswil, Switzerland back in 1992 in the tradition of the Alpstein region in eastern Switzerland, where it is THE regional instrument . All music schools offer lessons on the Hammered Dulcimer and it is now enjoying a revival at the Conservatory level in Europe. That is when I started playing the instrument.
serinette manufactured by Gavot
Bird-organs, in french 'serinettes' derived from the word
'serin' meaning European canary (in Latin serinus serinus) were intended
to learn domestic birds to sing melodies by repeating the tunes over and
In our museum collection we have such an 18th century bird-organ. This charming mechanical instrument (table-model) was dated March 28, 1763 and signed by 'Gavot', a well known instrument manufacturer from the city of Mirecourt (in the Vosges, east of France). The organ is well-equipped with two stops (registers) of 10 pipes each, one in the upper register (treble-notes, in french registre aigu) and one in the lower register (registre grave). So people could choose to play melodies in one of the two registers. However it is not possible to make use of both registers at the same time. The barrel contains 10 tunes and the titles of the melodies are labeled with handwritten paper on the box of the serinette (see photo).
Recently the instrument has been restored in its full glory by the restorer Bernard Pin. Now it can produce the original sound again of all the ten melodies (small airs and dances) in both registers for which it was originally intended. Because of the extraordinary pure and authentic sound, I decided to record all the ten melodies in both registers for a compact disc release, with the financial help of the 'Association des Amis du Musée Grasset Conseil général de la Nièvre'. The last melody is 'Les Folies d'Espagne' a tune which will have your special interest. You might notice the very high tempo of the Folia-theme, especially in the last eight bars. The speed is also more up tempo compared to the other tracks which have less bars than the sixteen of the Folies d'Espagne because of the limited absolute duration of the pieces to be played. On a serinette, to come full circle of the barrel, must be achieved by the player (the guy that turns the crank) in more or less than 20 seconds. Otherwise, the bellows will not blow air enough, and the notes are not hold.
About the name of the man who did put all these small things of brass (in french 'picots') on the wood roll : i should say 'anonymous'. There was, in the 18 th century, a man specialized in this sort of job in every workshop. Unfortunately, he has no name, and the only signature we know here is 'Gavot fils' (the son of Gavot). Some specialists in mechanical music told me, after listening to the record, that the roll was very well 'noted'. Some others are much more simplified. And the notes of the 10 pipes are unusual, compared to other serinettes made at the same time. However due to its very specialized disposition the compact disc is not available in record shops as you might understand.
Duration: 0'22", 254 kB. (96kB/s, 44100Hz)
This Folia was part of a manuscript in the collection of the duc d'Aiguillon, now preserved in Agen (France), known as Folia in La mineur, F 6,7 Ms. Agen. The piece is written down in two sections: A and B. I recorded the piece as A-B-A to extend the solemn atmosphere of the composition and as you probably will know the theme was often repeated at the end of these kind of Folias.
Duration: 1'55", 964kB. (64kB/s, 44100Hz)
2 pages in pdf-format with fingersetting, 71 kB
|Joy to great Caesar, long Life, Love, and Pleasure 'tis a
Health that Divine is, fill the Bowl high as mine is. Let none fear a Feaver, but take it off thus Boys. let the
King live for ever, 'tis no matter for us Boys,
Try all the Loyal, defy all. give denial sure
none thinks the Glass too big here, nor any Prig here, or sneaking
Whig here, of Cripple Tony's Crew, that now looks blew, his Heart akes too, the
Tap won't do, his Zeal so true, and Projects new, ill Fate does now pursue
Let Tories guard the King, let Whigs in Halters swing. let Pilk- and Sh- be sham'd, let
bugg' ring O be damn'd. let cheating Pl-- be nick'd, the turncoat Scribe be kic'd. let
Rebel City Dons never beget their Sons. let ev'ry Whiggish Peer that
Rapes a Lady fair and leaves his only Dear the Sheets to gnaw and tear, be
punish'd out of hand, and forc'd to pawn his Land t'attone the grand Affair
| Great Charles, like Jehovah, spares Foes would unking him, and
warms with his Graces the Vipers that sting him. 'till
crown'd with just Anger the Rebels he seizes. Thus
Heaven can Thunder when ever it pleases
Then to the Duke fill, fill up the Glass, the Son of our
Martyr, belovev'd of the King. Envy'd and lov'd, yet
bless'd from above, secur'd by an Angel safe under his Wing
Faction and Folly, and State Melancholy, with
Tony in Whigland for ever shall dwell. let
Wit, Wine and Beauty, then teach us our Duty, for
none e're can love, or be wise and rebel
On languit, on meurt près de Sylvie
Tous les jours entrent à son service
C'est ainsi qu'en un bois solitaire
Madame de la Sablière had provided lodgings for La Fontaine in her house since 1673, but she became increasingly religious and he took to spending more and more time with the Hervart family and their brilliant circle of guests. The Hervarts gave him a room, full of busts of philosophers, in which he kept his harpsichord. Françoise d'Hervart was 'one of the most beautiful women anyone has ever seen'. La Fontaine wrote that it was his 'desire and intention that in future Mme d'Hervart be called Sylvie in all my territory on Parnassus' i.e. in his poetry. That he had given his very name to Madame Fouquet thirty years previously shows how great a compliment he was paying his hostess, for whom he wrote some galant verses to the well-known tune 'Les Folies d'Espagne'.
qui s’appelait Madeleine.
Chanson sur l'air des Folies d’Espagne
Votre patronne en son temps savait plaire;
7 pages in pdf-format 105 kB
Duration: 10'00", 30 kB
|Theme of Folie d'Espagne by Abel||© Synofzik and Concerto, used with permission|
Duration: 0'32", 773 kB. (128KB/s, 44100 Hz)
Duration: 0'56", 890 kB. (128KB/s, 44100 Hz)
I gave Lee Santana (the author of the CD notes of "Aguirre" by Los Otros) all the info that I had about the MS, but it was several years before the making of this CD and I'm sure he had forgotten it, and I think his interests were somewhere else (hence the connection made by Lee between Sebastian de Aguirre -the supposed author of the MS- and Lope de Aguirre -the Spanish conquistador portrayed by Werner Herzog). Anyway, as long as I started this little Aguirre thing, I'd like to share with you some things I've learned of this MS; please don't take this as a criticism to Lee or anybody else, it's just my two-pence contribution for your wonderful page.
The Saldivar Codex 2 is a mexican manuscript for four-course cittern, or "cítara", discovered somewhere in Mexico by Dr Gabriel Saldivar y Silva (the same one who discovered the famous Saldivar Codex 4, the Santiago de Murcia baroque guitar ms), but both mss are not related to each other.
The Saldivar Codex 2 is undated, but was dated by Robert Stevenson as ca. 1650; in my opinion, because of its early repertoire (including Pavanas, Gallardas, Bacas and so on) and the lack of "modern" french pieces and menuets (always present in 18th century mexican mss), I think the Saldivar Codex 2 can be dated in the first half of the 17th century. Stevenson also says that the ms was written in the city of Puebla, in central Mexico, but he gives no reasons for this statement.
There are 2 names in the ms: Anttonio Marttin de Villegas and Sebastian de Aguirre, and I have found not one single piece of information about who these men were. There's no evidence that any of these 2 persons is the compiler or composer of the music, but then, apparently Dr Saldivar considered that the author was Aguirre and labeled the ms "Metodo de citara de Sebastian de Aguirre" and ever since Aguirre has been credited as the composer, and the MS considered a "method", which it is not. In fact, I think Anttonio Marttin de Villegas could be the author or compiler of the MS because his name is at the beginning of the ms. Aguirre's name appears only at the end in an acrostic (a very bad one) praising his nobility and making him some kind of a warrior or soldier, so I think Aguirre was the patron or boss of some guy who could or could not be a musician, called Anttonio Marttin de Villegas, but it's only guesswork.
I don't have the xerox copy of the MS with me, but according to my index,
there are only 2 folias in it, in f. 16v., headed: "folias por 6 y 7 rasgas" and "folias por elami rasgas." rasgas (last 2 letters in superscript) is an abbreviation for "rasgadas", strummed. This would mean
that only the basic folia chords are in the original, and all the rest of the music was composed by Lee Santana. As I tell you,
I don't have the xerox with me, I'll check it.
I use to say that Lee "reconstructed" the music of the MS, but in this case he probably composed it. This folia was first recorded by Lee on the cittern and myself on baroque guitar at the CD "Laberinto en la guitarra. El espíritu barroco del son jarocho".
This is a very simple version, the one in the Los Otros Aguirre CD could be very different (I've never heard this CD), because as Lee says, they all were improvising.
I locked myself in with a copy of the Manuscript, which is a very chaotic (typical cittern!) collection of chord charts and 'licks' for what must have been some of the hits of that era, a kind of 17th century fake book. There are no rhythmic indications whatsoever, and lots of mistakes all over (cittern!)., so I had a heyday making sense and nonsense out of these fragments. [...] The pieces are sketches; some bits of tunes, bass lines, chords, forms, sometimes germinal ideas for solos.
La pieza que vamos a tocar ahora es de las pocas que estan... mas bien quiero decir que es un par de piezas: es una Folia que procede de un libro mexicano del siglo XVII que le dicen el Metodo de Citara de Sebastian de Aguirre, porque era para un instrumento que ya no se utiliza en absoluto que se llama citara y Leopoldo va a tocar la parte de la citara con este tiple ColombianoTranslation in English by Carlos E. Osuna:
The piece that we are going to play now is one a the very few that...I really want to say that it is a pair of pieces: one is a Folia that comes from a 17th-century Mexican book named "Method for the Cittern (Citar) by Sebastian de Aguirre", because it was for an instrument that is now obsolete that was name Cittern, and Leopoldo is going to play the Cittern part on a Colombian tiple.Eloy Cruz wrote about this concert 16 January 2010:
The version we played at the Festival Cervantino is basically the same as in
the Laberinto CD, but played on a 4-course, triple-strung colombian guitar
called "tiple", and blended with a Colombian piece called "La Guaneña".
This version has been very recently recorded in the CD: "Diferencias e
Invenciones. Nuestro son barroco", Tembembe-M Sonido (Mexico).
This last version is somewhat of a divertimento and I had forgotten all of the Aguirre-Santana thing; sorry, I'll never again say that this piece comes from Saldivar Codex 2.
Incidentally, in the Festival, after this folia, we played the Follia by A. Corelli in a "Huasteco" versiona. Our fiddler, Ulises Martinez, is very well acquainted with the music of the Huasteca region by the Gulf Coast of Mexico (always played by one violin and 2 guitars, all tuned at A=415) and he said that this Follia could very well be a traditional piece from this region in Mexico.
Each of the variations is written in the style of an important mandolin composer: No.1 Gabriele Leone, No.2 Carlo Munier, No.3 Heinrich Konietzny.
Duration: 3'05" direct link to YouTube
The complete sheet music
Ensemble 415 with Sonate pour violon et basse continue Opus 9, nr. 12
His output consists of four opuses of trio sonatas for violin and continuo, one of Concerti grossi and a motet entitled 'Coelestes angelici chori' for tenor or soprano which has remained in manuscript form. The style is Italian and the fact that at the end of Opus V there is, like in Corelli, a 'Folia', is a wink that speaks volumes! Albicastro thus ranks among those southern German composers who drew much of their substance from the Italian style, such as Froberger, Walther or Sebastian Scherer
Hesperion XXI at You Tube
Hesperion XXI at You Tube
In 1704 one of the most representative composers of violin music of the German and Dutch school, Henricus Albicastro, an artistic pseudonym of Johann Heinrich von Weissenburg (ca. 1660-ca.1730), published a sonata "La Follia", which displays a clear Corellian influence in its virtuosic writing.
Duration: 1'47", 264 kB. (20kB/s, 16KHz)
Many composers over the centuries have written sets of variations, suited to different instruments, based on the popular old Portuguese folk tune, La Folia. As far as I know, this is the first set written for dulcimer as it is tuned and played today.She verified that she used the theme of the Barcelona Manuscript (1764) for salterio solo as the introduction of 'La Folia in OZ':
I actually performed all the Barcelona variations in 1996. It was while practising for that concert that I made up my own variations for dulcimer. The different tuning layout makes a difference in the ease of playing ... the Barcelona set is easier on a salterio, mine are easier on a dulcimer tuned the way modern dulcimers are tuned.All activities of this composer, builder, teacher and performer can be found at http://www.netspeed.com.au/gillian.alcock
Duration: 4'50", 13 kB.
|The Folia progression in A minor by Alkan in 5/4 meter|
The Folias performed by Chatham Baroque attempt to recreate an improvisatory feeling over a repeating ground bass pattern. Using sources from both the Old and New World, Julie Andrijeski has created a unique version of this well-known dance.
9 pages in pdf with all 22 couplets, 129 kB
D'Anglebert follows the form of the later (as opposed to the early diverse one) folia
closely, but varies the final cadence by using submediant
or subdominant harmonies. His 22 variations constitute an
early instance of keyboard melodic variations. The form
is defined as having a generally fixed harmonic scheme and
constant formal proportions; the main notes of the melody
are retained but may be embellished in any number of ways by
addition of nonharmonic tones and rhythmic variation. The
melody of d'Anglebert's Variations undergoes continual alteration
in the soprano voice, supported by the harmonic structure and
fluent movement of the lower voices. Since D'Anglebert adheres
to the constraints of the form, the harmonies are simple. Occasionally
the rhythmic interest shifts to a lower voice or voices, or a
distinctive rhythmic pattern may be tossed between the hands,
as in Variation 16. In Variation 21 the melodic notes are trilled
with alternating upper and lower auxiliaries, almost producing the
effect of a continuous trill. The scale and arpeggio pattern in the
bass of the last variation resemble the Italianate violin style.
Although numerous settings of the folia melody occur in French manuscripts of the period, D'Anglebert's Variations are possibly the first published keyboard melodic variations on the folia, preceding those of Pasquini (in manuscript from the 1690s), Alessandro Scarlatti (1715) and C.P.E. Bach (1778). D'Anglebert's Variations had great popularity and longevity, for they are also found in a late eighteenth-century German manuscript. They reflect characteristics of the Italian school-notably those of Bernardo Pasquini.
D'Anglebert's Variations also fall into this classification of melodic variations, with a homophonic texture and fixed harmonies, and they appear to antedate those of Pasquini. Whatever the case, D'Anglebert was probably influenced by the Italians, for traits such as violinistic gestures occur. His Variations, however, do not reflect the virtuoso style, sharp contrasts , and vivid imagination of those by Marais. One senses that Marais's variations were for the pleasure of a seated audience, while D'Anglebert's could have accompanied dancers and may have been included in his edition for their populair appeal. Although simply constructed, these variations succeed admirably within their strict harmonic and formal framework.
Duration: 0'34", 02 kB.
|First 8 bars of the opening-variation by d'Anglebert||by unknown source|
The Suite in D minor is a large suite that opens with a
prelude non mesure twice as long as those of the previous
suites, moving forward with excitement and anticipation.
The suite is capped by a set of22 variations on the Folies d'Espagne. The word folia, a popular ground that originated in fifteenth-century Iberia, literally means "insanity" in Portuguese. A wild, churning dance song, it was used as the basis of improvisations and virtuoso compositions. Its influence can be felt throughout this suite, in which the key of0 minor carries affects ofdevotion and grandeur, melancholy and phantoms
The triumph of the Folies d'Espagne started probably around 1656 after the appearance of the guitarist Francecsco Corbetta in Paris. The name is derived from, the Portuguese "folias", meaning lunacy. It originated from a noisy, very fast carnival dance of fertility and slowed down in the course of time. The wonderful melody enhanced its popularity throughout all of Europe. d'Anglebert's variations, maybe the first published version for keyboard, are not so much on the virtuoso order as the ones by Marais, Corelli or Vivaldi, but can be well imagined to have served for real dance occasions. Yet, in this form it survived its creator and even still is found in a German manuscript from the late 18th century.
Duration: 9'12" direct link to YouTube
Duration: 8'33" direct link to YouTube
The suite in d-minor ends with the set of variations on 'La Folia de Espana'. These are the only variations on this popular theme composed for a keyboard instrument in France during the 17th century*. 'Folia' meant 'madness' in Castilian [the standard literary form of Spanish], and it was originally used to refer to a very fast dance, 'out of control' ['alocada' means literally with madness but it really implies 'beyond the standards or beyond the reasonable framework']. Little by little, the dance becomes slower (being assimilated as a courtly dance). D'Anglebert variations are 22 pieces of notable 'richness'. Within their scope we discover different styles: Italian, French... The [contemporary] baroque choreographies (cf. Feuillet) justify the use of changes in tempo and character.* In 1998 there was another long forgotten manuscript of the Folies d'Espagne for harpsichord published of minor importance and which was originally collected by Marc Roger Normand (1663-1734) in 1695.
From among the pieces in the appendix, which encompasses all those movements not included in Part 1 of my complete recording, I
would like to single out one that in terms of size and form is unique among d'Anglebert's original works for harpsichor: the variations on the famous Follia bass.
As a mosaic of many dissimilar parts, the twenty-two couplets represent a great challange to the player.
In my opinion, the Follia variations are d'Anglebert's most 'Italian' work. Besides French style cantabile sections dominated by the upper voice, elements of the Italian style can also be found: variations with rhythmici ornamental figures and a clear alternation of regular motion between the bass and the soprano. The long series of small character sketches finally leads into a flashy solo in the left hand, which is accompanied in the right hand by chords enriched with acciaccaturas. The master arranger, the great protagonist of beautiful gaillardes, and creator of weighty sarabandes thus shows himself also to be a master of inventiveness and instrumental diversity. Let us hope that also from this recording he may be recognized as such.
It had not occurred to me that my 'Song Without Words no. 2' was a variation
on 'La Folia' . You are right that it is, in the sense that it has the Folia
chord structure as it's basic idea, though the main difference between it
and all the Folias I see on your site is that it is in 4/4 time.
None of the people who have heard the piece before, including musicians, have notice the resemblance to La Folia. This piece was described as 'Gypsy-sounding' by one listener, and 'resembling Fauré' by another - quite a range.
I think the universality of the Folia chord-progression lies in the way it is rooted in the minor but makes a central aspiration to the relative major before dying back again. It is a kind of musical equivalent of a cycle of life in its most simplified form.
I took this chord-progression from the general background of our musical culture rather than in any deliberate attempt to write a variation on La Folia, for one number in a set of romantic, short piano pieces that use the title that Mendelssohn invented, and which re-interpret some techniques of the cantabile piano style.
Duration: 2'05", 12 kB.
The work takes the form of two original variations appended to Bacevicius' solo piano arrangement of Corelli's Op. 5 no 12.
this theme, an ancient Portugese dance melody, has been
made famous and was composed by him for violin and piano*. This is the
piano solo arrangement of the superb work. The 17th and 18th variations
has been added and are in the modern contemporary atonal mode. For the
music analyst, these last two variations offer a revealing study in
contrast between the old and modern school. No more exquisite variations
have been composed in the entire field of music composition - classic
*Since the Folia variations of Corelli were published in 1700, when the forte-piano was not invented yet, the piano in the text should be read as the harpsichord.
Duration: 0'47", 4 kB.
Duration: 0'48", 4 kB.
A fantastic live performance of Folies d'Espagne on a spinet
The sheet music
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's keyboard output, which is as extensive as it is important, does not yet find the attention it deserves. His "Folies", Wq 118/9, were composed in 1778, thus constituting a very late example of a "folia".
La Folia is a Baroque template which has induced countless composers to write variations. The material first apprears at the end of the fifteenth century and the first set of variations on La Folia is that for chitaronne (guitar) by Johann Hieronymus Kapsberger (1604). Jean Baptiste Lully and Arcangelo Corelli composed important La Folia variations. Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Liszt, Reger, Rakhmaninov and many other composers later followed. In1778 Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach wrote twelve variations for harpsichord set in the key of D minor, which is typical of Folia. They are a fine example of the timeless nature of the material which at that time was already three hundred years old.
A comparison of C.P.E. Bach's Folie d'Espagne variations demonstrates what a difference the empfindsamer-Stil made to Bach's approach. The Folie d'Espagne variations are highly dramatic. Where Rameau's variations charm with their subtle differences, Bach's are radically different in tempo, texture and mood, from the calculated under-statement of the theme in simple arpeggiated chords, to the twelfth variation, marked sehr geschwind, which brings the work flying to a rather sudden close.
The music of Johann Sebastian Bach's second and most talented son, Carl Philipp Emanuel, is an encyclopedia of fundamental tonal
procedures. There is art intrinsic quality in Bach's keyboard music which stands apart from the music of later composers, despite the tendency
of commentators to consider it mainly as art ovenure to the schools of Viennese classicism. A study of his work reveals a unique musical
consciousness, and a pioneering mind of considerable subtlety.
The set by C.P.E. Bach is entitled 12 Variations auf die Folie d'Espagne W. 118 and is one of his most original works. Unusual modulations and changes of key, unorthodox motives, rhythmic changes, brilliant and expressive keyboard treatment make for heightened interest through-out. The bare set of chords used by Bach could be placed by a more interesting version of the theme and Mr. Bonn treats it in effective triplets. Variation one carefully shares material between the hands while variation two has a brooding atmosphere of repressed power. Special mention should be made of variation three which achieves a magnificent and modern?sounding effect in virtue of "wrong notes" subtly inserted into the arpeggiation. Variation four is mainly imitative while variation five is especially striking as the bass figure is pursued remorselessly to the final cadence. Variation six exploits a "sigh" motif while variation seven partakes of keyboard acrobtics a la Scarlatti. Variation eight is written in a slow French overture style with contrasting dynamics and serves as art introduction to variation nine that is permeated with fleet figurations. Variation ten is imitative between the hands. Variation eleven is a study in syncopation to the final three bars where smooth rhythms take over. The final variation is a perpetual?motion idea with specific fingering indicated by the composer.
Incidentally, at this point in our anthology [Sanz]
we make our first encounter with the 'Folia', which runs through our
programme like a silver thread. The Folia (also Follia) is an
eight-bar (in later forms also sixteen-bar) bass, which was first used
in Spain in 1494 by Juan del Encina. The 'Follia di Spagna' subsequently
developed into one of the most popular bases for variations (the most
famous example is probably the sonata 'La Follia' by Arcangelo Corelli).
The oeuvre by Sanz is normally played on the rizzio guitar, but Brembeck knows how to play these jewels on a delicate clavichord. The sustain of the basses sounds exceptionally well and the Folia by Sanz gets a new dimension this way.
High quality performances of the Folia-variations by Alessandro Scarlatti and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. The only small omission is that the documentation does not mention which instrument is used for which track. I guess the performer assumes that we are all familiar with early keyboard instruments and that the C.P.E. Bach Folia can only performed on a copy by Hemsch like Picci's Ballet is made for the copy by Ferrini.
It is of no importance considering the mid-price of this disc and the deal that the famous Fandango by Soler and fantastic transcriptions of Milan and Manuel de Falla are included to make it a bargain I enjoy very much.
Along with many of his contemporaries, he (C.P.E. Bach) was inspired by the "folia", a quietly dignified Portugese dance akin to the passacaglia and known at the time as "Les Folies d'Espagne", whose popularity was such that many of the great composers, up to and including Liszt, made use of it. Taking the exceedingly simple "folia" theme as his starting point, Bach employs a variety of technical and rhythmical means to concoct a succession of extremely subtle ornamental pieces. Whether it be swamped by expressive virtuoso passages, hidden whitin compact counterpuntal textures or placed as a freely mobile bass, this theme remains present throughout.
Next we have the Variations on the 'Folies d'Espagne' Wq 118-9, H 263, published in Vienna in 1803 though composed in 1778 after the death of his son Johann Sebastian II, in Rome.
La Folia (Les Folies), the name of a musical structure for songs, dances and variations that emerged early in the 16th century in Portugal, had developed by the 18th century into a fixed theme much used for variations. The most famous set is Corelli's (1700): C.P.E. Bach's dates from 1778.
Out of the wealth of Follia compositions traceable from the late 15th century up to the turn of the 20th, we are publishing three salient works for the keyboard. Our edition is based on a critical revision of the source material.
Likewise, his 12 Variations on the familiar theme Folies d'Espagne, which Corelli had already dealt with, permit us to sense the then so heralded virtuoso. His aim was, as he wrote, ' through the medium of instruments to express as much as is possibl, where it would otherwise be much simpler to use the voice and words.' He surprises the listener with unexpected rests or sudden changes from pianissimo to fortissimo, by recitatives, rubati, romantic motifs and rhythmic contours.
Folie d'Espagne performed by Ruggero Laganà
The date of composition of the variations on the 'Folies d'Espagne (Wotquenne 118 no 9) is unknown. the piece was first published in Vienna fifteen years after Bach's death. The 'Folies d'Espagne' or 'La Follia' as it was often called wa a melody (or more precisely a melodic pattern with an associated bass pattern) on which composers from Frescobaldi and Corelli to Liszt and Rachmaninov wrote variations. Bach's set consists of twelve variations in varying tempi. Nos 3, 7, 9 and the final one are particularly brilliant.
The twelve Folia variations show a different side of Philip's art, the virtuoso pure and simple. They may have been written for the harpsichord, but were more likely intended to demonstrate all the facets of the new forte-piano
Man muss nur die '12 Variationen über "Les Folies d'Espagne"' kennen und die besonderen Qualitäten des Clavichords zu schätzen, das vermutlich im mittleren und späten 18.Jahrhundert im deutschsprachigen Raum des bekannteste häusliche Tasteninstrument war. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bachs begründete Liebe zum Clavichord wird hier besonders dokumentiert; denn in diesen Variationen spielt er die ganze Klankfülle der verschiedenen Register des Instruments aus und nutzt die Möglichkeit zur detaillierten Artikulation.
Duration: 1'02", 989 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz mono)
Robert Woolley plays all variations by C.P.E. Bach
The remarkable Variations on Les Folies d'Espagne by
C.Ph.E. Bach though transitional in style, are included here as they
extend the influence of the French School, and other charasteristics
of the Baroque style through the 'classical' period into Romaticism.
Les Folies d'Espagne is equally suited to the harpsichord, clavichord and fortepiano. Its composer was a master performer on all three instruments although his approach to each is known to have been distinctly different. On the harpsichord, the performer should, in my opinion, follow the original dynamic nuances by means of refined registration, for instance, two-keyboard- playing on eight-foot stops to achieve the desired forte and piano effects in Variation 2. On the whole, the harpsichordist must colour each variation according to its mood and retain, whenever possible, the legato-touch and plaintive rubato typical of clavichord playing (Variation 6 and 11). Levels of sound can be distributed effectively to secure the pianistic, Beethoven-like contrast essential to Variation contrast essential to Variation 8. The overall interpretation of phrasing, embellishments and rhythmic alterations should be oriented towards Baroque traditions, which are a part of C.Ph.E. Bach's musical image. The 'Thema' was not expected to be performed as written but must be ornamented. It can be brought back 'da capo' at the end of the composition, to complete the triptychlike form which composers usually applied to a set of variations. I have chosen to ornament the 'Thema' and its 'da capo' à la francaise, although both realisations differ in spirit altogether.
[...] Does this make Soler's fandago the most unconventional piece of this selection? Thomas Ragossnig: Certainly. However, concerning the liberal treatment of the thematic material, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach with his folia variations also pursues a unique, yet completely different, path. Again, it is bass variations, though not improvised but experimentally and very densely composed in full. Bach intervenes with the form of the theme crafting respectively individual, contrasting characters therefrom which stand at a distinctive distance from this original form. In his case, the theme undergoes a true metamorphosis in several variations contrary to Mozart's variations on Ah, vous dirai-je Maman, where the theme of the song can be clearly discerned at any time. The selection of themes is in itself characteristic with these composers: C. Ph. E. Bach with the folia resorts to a model known since the 16th century that had gone out of fashion and from which he then developed something of a very contemporary if not future-oriented nature. Mozart, on the other hand, in the same year of 1778 composed a more transparent, less deviated playing form about a song which was popular then.
The variations on the theme Folie d'Espagne also bear an experimental character: the composer addressed himself to a wholly antiquared theme whose harmony cannot be meaningfully integrated into the the musical language of the later eighteenth century - it was a mannered, almost absurd undertaking, perhaps the first example of a variations cycle with an ironic distance to the theme.
Duration: 6'38", 6.2 Mb. (128KB/s, 44100 Hz)
Probably there is no recording of this piece for organ and I never heard it during a concert either. Despite these facts,
I think the organ has some features which are very suitable for the way Carl Philipp treated the Folia theme
in most variations. I left out variation number five while the keys for the left hand are not available
on the organ and a work around has some disadvantages in this particular case.
There are three main reasons to play this piece on the organ and not on the harpsichord or clavichord which is common practice.
First of all the organ of the Sint-Martinus Church (built in 1839 with a late Baroque disposition and intonation and restored in 2001) is very appropriate for the repertoire of C.Ph.E Bach based upon the experience of several organ-players the last couple of years. As a harpsichordist I knew the Folies d'Espagne by C.P.E. Bach but the acoustics of this particular church (resonance) is more suitable for the organ than for the harpsichord. Especially the 'Sturm und Drang' effects, the contrasts in dynamics, rhythms, and voicing (registers) fit in nicely.
The second reason has an historical background. In the 19th Century, local organ-players in this region (Brabant) frequently played music originally written for piano and orchestra. There was relatively less literature for organ to be heard. These roots are still often taken into account during concerts. Besides it was around the era of the Baroque not often clear for which instrument pieces were written in the first place.
The third reason is more of a practical kind. The program already had a concert for flute by C.P.E. Bach included and as I am scheduled as solo organ player in between I looked for common grounds.
Some additional information about the performance: to avoid a blur of voices it is essential to know both the organ (and its stops) and the acoustical features of the space where the organ is located. In the church of Sint-Oedenrode there is serious resonance. So the way to play this piece is a harpsichordistic playing style to produce a transparant articulation.
variation IV: the upper voice is played with the right hand on the upper manual 8' (Holpijp8 & Roerfluit4) (the normal pitch) and the lower voice is played with the left hand on the lower manual 4' (Fluit4 + Gemsh. 2). In this manner the two voices which are normally separated by an octave, now got interwoven like a wreath.
Variation VIII reminds me of effects Beethoven used as I once had read about this variation.
I will perform this piece at several concerts this summer
Zaterdagavond 23 juni 2012 om 20.12 uur in de Maria Magdalenakerk in Brugge http://www.yot.be/
Openingsmanifestatie zomerproject 2012 'ONE' van “Yot” Axel Wenstedt, Schijvenorgel 1875
Zaterdag 30 juni 2012 15.30uur Martinuskerk Sint-Oedenrode: orgel + saxofoon + poezie http://www.sintmartinusparochie.nl/smitsorgel/
Axel Wenstedt, Smitsorgel 1839 mmv Jo Hennen, sopraan- alt- en tenorsaxofoon (Geldrop) en Julius Dreyfsandt zu Schlamm, dichter (Sint-Oedenrode)
Donderdag 2 augustus 2012 15.30 uur dorpskerk in Vorden http://www.muziekdorpskerkvorden.nl/
Axel Wenstedt, Lohmannorgel 1834 Zaterdag 4 augustus 2012 12.30 uur Zutphen Walkburgiskerk
Axel Wenstedt, Ahrend- en Baderorgel en Jos Koning, barokviool / viola d’amore
zondag 5 augustus 2012 12.30 uur Deventer, Bergkerk
Axel Wenstedt, orgel
Jos Koning, barokviool / viola d’amore
Julius Dreyfsandt zu Schlamm, dichter (Sint-Oedenrode) .
Foliations (the contraction of Folia and Variations
referring to the origins of the word Folia as empty-headed or madness)
was written in 1995 for the Stockholm Chamber Brass, a brass quintet which
commissioned it to go on a CD album of Renaissance music. I decided to base
my work on the later version of 'La Folia', which nevertheless has enough
ties to the 'earlier' piece that I thought it would fit right in with the
other Renaissance pieces on the album. I wrote the work as a 'sandwich':
the beginning THEME and the concluding CHORALE and FUGA are immovable as
the outside movements of the work, but the remaining eighteen short variations
are to be used as a source from which any number may be played and in any
order. The musicians make their own choice how the work will be performed.
In fact, when I mailed the piece (with the parts for each variation on a separate piece of paper) each player got the movements in a different alphabetical order, with Trumpet I receiving the parts with their titles' first letter alphabetized, Trumpet II getting the second letter alphabetized, and so on. I have no 'correct' order in which the parts should be performed.
The variations are primarily sectional, ornamental variations, based on the chord changes of the original along with some chord substitutes. The titles (working titles, really -- they needn't be listed in the program), aside from the Theme, Chorale and Fuga, are: American, Arpeggios, Austrian, Bumptious, Caccia, Cadenzas, Canzona, Germanic (duet), Phlegmatic, Reflectively, Rococo, Romanie, Russian, Scholarly, Stealthily, Tersely, Trio, and Wistful.
It was intended that, because the work was originally to be recorded as its premiere, the movements could be continuous; even page turns would be no problem if the performers played each movement as a single "take", and then the recording engineer could butt them up against each other. I really don't know how the performers are going to handle the page turns in a live performance; they may have to take slight breaks between the variations because they generally play throughout each variation. La Folia has been of interest to me since I took violin lessons as a youth and played the Corelli version; it's got a great harmonic progression.
Duration: 1'32", 5 kB.
Duration: 1'52", 1776 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
Duration: 1'04", 3 kB.
Duration: 1'05", 1080 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
Duration: 1'09", 1108 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
Duration: 1'04", 1038 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
Duration: 1'10", 1166 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
Duration: 5'45", 5468 kB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
|Opening of Foliations for Brass Quintet||reproduced by permission of Meadow Music|
The sheet music
Duration: 1'53", 06 kB.
|Intro of Unser trefflicher lieber Kamerherr
for violino, viola and continuo
|by Bärenreiter-Verlag Kassel, 1975|
Duration: 1'03", 1 Mb. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
In the so-called 'Peasants' cantate, BWV 212, Johann Sebastian Bach paints a picture of the village dances of his time. Each air is repeated with a different dance rhythm, and this tune refers to the Folia where one clearly hears the theme played at the beginning. Unusually for Bach the text, 'our servant is a very pleasant man' has little to do with its musical setting. The short variations follow on from each other in the same way as do the instruments and voice in magnificent harmonic shades.
The Folïa theme appears in its entirety as well as in truncated pieces, and is also altered into the relative major for additional variety, and my choice of caccia and fughetta were additional contrapuntal ways of extending the theme.
Why did I choose the theme? In large part, because I remain devoted to traditional forms and subjects, and the theme had been mentioned on the website Musical Assumptions by Elaine Fine which led me to yours. In the same way that many composers have favored traditional forms for their work, I too favor them, and this form was new to me in its history – thank you for your site again, therefore – and in its interest to many composers. Looking at it, I was immediately struck at some alternatives in terms of breaking it apart into material for an extended piece. In doing so, it simply became jolly fun to follow along the many possibilities which it suggested. Having used cantus firmus themes in some of my organ work, this became both a cantus firmus of harmonic structures and relationships, and a fertile field for invention.
Duration: 5'44", 5490 kB (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
Orchestre de Chambre Nouvelle Europe (Sébastien van Kuijk cello), Nicolas Krauze, conductor
A former winner of the Prix de Rome, Bacri writes in a fairly
traditional idiom which strives for direct communication and expression.
At turns influenced by Shostakovich and Frank Martin, Bacri's music is characterized
by a fondness for melody and chromatic harmonies that result from clear
voice-leading. There is nothing really new here, of course, but it makes
for enjoyable pieces.
Folia was originally written for orchestra in 1990 and was premiered on 15 April 1993 in Paris by the Orchestre symphonique français and Laurent Petitgirard. This nine-minute chaconne is scored for a medium-size orchestra: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, timpani, xylophone, snare drum, triangle, and strings. It is based on a two-measure pattern taken from the 17th-century folia. Over and under this two-measure pattern, Bacri writes gently flowing chromatic melodies. The first section of the piece is marked by constantly increasing activity:, with the quarter-note melody going successively into eighth notes, triplet eighth notes, sixteenth notes, and thirty-second notes, to finally culminate in a homophonic presentation of the basic pattern. The second section, marked Dialogo, is a Scherzo in 9/8 time, based on motives derived from the osinato pattern and from the melody of the first section, with a slow Trio in 3/4 time. The third and last section of the piece is marked Epilogo and features slow chromatic counterpoint, which leads gradualy into a statement of the original folia. The orchestration remains traditional throughout, with only a few technical challenges for the strings. The arrangement of Folia for solo viola (or solo cello) and string orchestra has a solo part that is particularly demanding, while the orchestra part is not difficult.
© 1996 by Sonances and used with permission.
Folia, originally conceived as a kind of 'show-piece' for l'Orchestre Symphonique Français and dedicated to its musical director Laurent Petitgirard, is interpreted here in the version for solo viola and chamber orchestra. The process leading from the first to the second version is allied to the theme of the Variations and Theme, the germ of which was originally found in a duet for violin and viola written shortly before and entitled Chaconne. 'While composing the duet I realised that this theme was closely allied to that of Folies d'Espagne; so I decided to transcribe and develop it for orchestra. In its new form the piece has the structure of Variations and Theme'. The transcription of Folia in the version recorded here was inspired by Bacri's fascination with Britten's 'Lachrymae', a work for viola and string orchestra similarly constructed.
Duration: 1'13", 04 kB.
|Theme of Folies d'Espagne in a lay-out
derived from the original notation
|reproduced with permission from
the Minkoff-edition 1972 p.16
|Theme of Les Folies d'Espagnes (1781)|
This arrangement was commissioned by Music Works Northwest, Seattle Washington USA for a premiere performance at the Olympic Recital Hall, April 1, 2006. As far as I know this is the only Folia set to an Afro-Peruvian Lando groove.
Duration: 1'05", 833 kB (96kB/s, 44100Hz)
Duration: 7'26" direct link to YouTube
Duration: 5'05" direct link to YouTube
I assume it was written for harpsichord (I play it on both clavichord and harpsichord and think it works better on the latter). The piece consists the statement of the theme and two variations, essentially the ground bass and treble almost entirely in dotted eighth and sixteenth notes. Very 'dancy'.
Duration: 0'28", 01 kB.
|Opening of La Folie D'Espagne||Baustetter|
The Folia track presents an accompanying instrumentation that became quite popular in Spain: harp and guitar. The various rhythmic patterns and accompaniment patterns used by the harp, guitar, and vihuela on this recording are entirely improvised. We chose to experiment on this recording by presenting the diferencias organized or grouped in pairs instead of a nonstop delivery of the melodic material. Only the melody is given in the manuscript.
The sheet music
Duration: 6'52", 30 kB.
Concerning the Folies d'Espagne by J-B Bedard, I found
it at the Bibliothèque Nationale (note: the French national archives
for books and manuscripts, it is also the depository for anything that
was/is printed, even nowadays, you can imagine the volume !) 25 years
ago and I still have a copy. Bedard was a guitar teacher who lived between
the middle of the XVIIIth century till the beginning of the XIXth. He
wrote very few pieces of interest, as was often the case for the guitar
at that time. If it wasn't for my arrangement of his 'Variations sur
la Foliá', this piece would have seemed 'rather plain' to my
colleagues. Moreover, the tremolo (note: the 10th) variation is mine:
this style appeared only starting from the middle of the XIXth, if my
sources are correct. I wanted that piece to be technically complete.
Oddly enough I will do it again with the volume that is due to come out in September 2001. This time it will be a Folia from the XVIIth century that had been written for the lute.
12 pages in pdf, 321 kB
Duration: 8'08", 36 kB.
Attached I am sending copies of the originals of this Folias Op.39/2 by Jean-Baptiste Bédard. The Lyre ou Guitare parts are identical in both versions. Actually it comes from the same printing plate nº 27. The duo version is from D:Mbs München, and the solo version from F:Pn Paris.
On your documentation you have already the Bédard Folias stating that it is from F:Pn also, but as I realize, in the tema the interpreter uses a different rhythmical pattern, and so on (note from the redaction: the music with Jean-Baptiste Mourat as the editor).
Just before I sent you a score of this Folias in PDF of the original duo by Bédard, and also the same as a MIDI file. This MIDI file is just a guide, the sound is electronic, and not imitating the original instruments.
As indicated these two passages (editor: in the previous part a fragment of Mozart's Requiem and Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 were mentioned) are based on the Folia pattern in an analogous way, that is the melodic pattern established by the first few tones extends into a sequence. To my knowledge neither link has been mentioned in older theoretical treatises. So we wonder if composers were aware of possible derivations. Certainly Beethoven's use of the original Folia pattern (without labeling it as such) is curious; see the second movement, measures 167-176 of the Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, the second movement 1-8, of the Sonata No 3, in A Major for Cello and Piano, Opus 69 and slightly altered the second theme of the first movement of the Concerto No. 5 in E-flat for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 73 (measures 38-45). Moreover, Beethoven used the Folia sequence in such works as the Symphony No. 4 in B-flat (first movement, measures 89-92) and the Sonata in E Major Opus 109 (first movement, measures 27-32). But it is difficult to assign an extramusical or affective meaning to these passages with any degree of consistency.To understand the context better Hoyt gives in 2002 for this website a more detailed description of the Beethoven fragments in relation to the Folia-theme:
As noted before, I would say that the example from the Fifth
Symphony is the most pure. The example from the scherzo of the Cello Sonata
repeats the initial tonic chord and the cadence at the end of the phrase.
In A minor I would consider the Folia bass to be A-E-A-G-C-G-A-E (or E-A).
The cello sonata example is A-A-E-A-G-A-G-A-E-A-E-A. (with the first E repeated
twice, one E per beat in the third measure). Perhaps it would be more clear
to diagram this using vertical lines to represent barlines:
A | A | E E E| A | G | A G| A E A | E A |
The 'Emperor' Concerto example consists of many repetitions of the fourth leaps, starting with the anacrusis to measure 38 (key of E-flat minor):
Bb | Eb Bb Eb Bb | Eb Bb Eb Bb | Eb Bb Eb Db | Db Gb Db Db| Gb Db Gb Eb|F Eb F Bb | Eb Bb Eb Bb | Bb....
which elaborates Eb Bb Eb Db Gb Db Eb Bb'.
The variations of the slow movement of the Fifth Symphony too include a strikingly archaic moment: in the tonic minor at bars 166ff can be discerned a complete statement of 'La Folia'.
It (la Folia-theme) was used by Beethoven too in his Fifth Symphony where it is quoted in the harmony towards the end of the slow movement - a fact which apparently escaped musicological detection until 1994 when it was recognized by an Open University student, Lucy Hayward-Warburton (to the astonishment of her tutor)'.
Duration: 0'32", 04 kB.
|Excerpt of Folia-theme by Beethoven
for only flutes, viole and celli
|by Leipzig Verlag von
Breitkopf & Härtel
The sixth prelude is based on the 'later' Folia-theme, though altered in rhythm and meter. As for the choice of la Folia, i believed it would serve very well as the basis for a jazz prelude and it did. Similarly, I employed a theme based on the letters B.A.C.H. for the 12th fugue. I worked on the pieces in this set over a number of years, so the publication and recording date of 1992 means they were composed prior to that date, but I don't have a composition date for each individual prelude and fugue in the set.
A live performance by Yu Chien Chen
The sheet music
Duration: 6'55", 45 kB.
|Theme of 'Follia', part of the Sonata in d minor||arrangement David Lasocki|
The famous theme of La Folia (originally a type of wild Portuguese dance) was used by many composers of the baroque era. It is found as the Adagio movement of the third of Bellinzani's twelve Sonate a flauto solo con cembalo o violoncello, Opus 3, published in Venice in 1720. Preceded by a joyful intermezzo for solo harpsichord, designed 'per respiro de flauto' (i.e. to enable the flautist to get his breath), the theme is exploited in seventeen variations, during which it undergoes all sorts of rhythmic and melodic transformations.
The twelfth, the present piece, has an unusual form. After two movements of what seems to be a sonata, there follows a movement for solo harpsichord headed, literally 'harpsichord solo give the recorder a rest', and finally comes a long set of variations for recorder and basso continuo on La Follia. The desire to end the collection with these variations is presumably a nod in the direction of the composer's hero, Corelli. although the unprecedented (?) tacking on of three such other movements owes nothing to the master
The adagio of Sonata no. 12 in D minor takes up the famous
theme 'La Follia',
which was used by numerous composers in the 17th and 18th centuries
(including Frescobaldi, Corelli,
François Couperin, Carl
Philipp Emanuel Bach, to name but a few). It is preceded by a joyful
intermezzo for solo harpsichord, written specially by Bellinzani per
respiro del flauto, i.e. to allow the flautist to get his breath
back ready for the following variations. Already known in the 16th century,
the melody from 'La Follia' which was originally a wild Portuguese dance,
came to be used in instrumental music as the subject of variations,
close to the chaconne or the passacaglia, on a basso ostinato.
Bellinzani exploits this theme in seventeen variations, which severely test the soloist's technique: theme and variation on the bass (var.1), series of semiquavers on the recorder (var.2), perpetual motion (var.4), imitation in dialogue between the soloist and the bass (var.5), theme to the rhythm of a gigue (var.6 and 7), repeated bounding notes (var.8), an expressive syncopated largo (var.9), series of swift arpeggios passing from the recorder to the bass or progressing in contrary motion (var.10 to 14), use of syncopation (var.15). After a fast gigue (var.16), Bellinzani brings his series of sonatas to an end with a final variation, providing a truly pyrotechnic display of virtuosity.
My composition is a salutation to the wig-headed ancestors,
by a modern musician, anno Domini 2002. That is why I have chosen the format
midi. To listen to the midi the Soundblaster (SB) Live! is recommended -
the piece is optimized and balanced on it. (On this card choose the 'Concert
Hall'-environment setting for the really authentic feeling). The software
was a 'Midisoft Session', without midi-keyboard, only with manual scoring
from bar-to-bar. The instruments are: a violin, a flute and - of course
- the lute (or guitar, in the original sound bank).
'The Folia' starts of course with the main-theme, and goes forward by a builded theme-sequence (first a third-scale, and after a normal variation), from the simple to the virtuous one. As lutenist, I fit a soloistic lute variation-part into it, with an inverse section, without lute, which two parts appear also together at the end. At the top of its musical expressions I placed a three-part fugato - not a 'real' fugue, perhaps a more serious canon with the diminued scores of the main theme - at the 'exposition' it ends with a 'coda' - and it finishes with a choral-style, and a 'pseudo poliphonic', rather virtuous 'running', before the last some bars, including a melodic coda-variation.
Duration: 5'58", 28 kB.
Duration: 6'07", 14 kB.
6 pages in pdf, 67 kB
The idea of composing some variations of the Folía came from listening for the first time to the famous variations of J.B.Lully. The theme was simple and catcthing too so I searched at the internet and found this site (www.folias.nl). I began listening to some samples and other variations by various composers that definitely inspired my work. Every variation I made is based on a peculiar element (time changes, chromatism..), a sort of etude but there isn't a guideline: I simply wrote the variations as they came in my mind.
Duration: 1'38", 6 kB.
2 pages in pdf, 67 kB
The origin of this variations (as well as the theme) is curious, because they are inspired by the piece "Partita Sopra folia" by G.Frescobaldi, and I also believe they can be used as an introduction. My real intention was to play the song (I didn't have the score), but in the track I listened to the harpsichord, it wasn't tuned using equal temperament so I was misled. I failed to reproduce the song nevertheless I created a new piece.
The Taizé community performance
The song "Laudate Dominum" sets words from Psalm
117 to the Folia theme; it was composed in about 1980 by Jacques Berthier
(1923-1994) for the Taizé community, and it has become one of the
best-known of the songs of Taizé. The song is published by the Ateliers
and Presses de Taizé in numerous songbooks, which include solo verses
in different languages and instrumental accompaniments.
It appears in the following recordings, all made at Taizé in France, in versions that include solo verses in different languages. In each case, the performers are young people visiting Taizé to take part in the intercontinental meetings at Taizé: T 554 Jubilate (1991), T 559 Liederen uit Taizé (1997), T 560 Chants de la prière à Taizé (1998), T 561 Canti della preghiera a Taizé (1998), T 562 Joy on earth (1999), T 563 Auf dich Vertrau'ich (2000)
Animation 'The monk and the fish'
Duration: 0'31", 02 kB.
Andrew Stroud and Adam Larison (guitars) play thew entire composition
|Theme of Variations pour deux guitar||Used with permission ('Just Guitar')|
Duration: 16'44", 15.5 Mb. (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
This Follia for cello is not very known by the instrumentalists. You can access to it at IMSLP -submitted by the user "Generoso" the 5 IV 2010- or on the originally scanned source, the Music Library at the University of South Carolina. As a secondary fact, this work is one of the most difficult study-pieces ever written for the instrument up to its date of composition. Unfortunately, the quality of the scanner is not very good.
All the music on this recording is from the Baroque
period. Some of it is by more-or-less well-known composers, the rest
is from collections of unattributed music recorded on paper during the
same period. It is not surprising that "La Folia" - the greatest
hit of the eighteenth century - makes more than one appearance. You
are probably wondering about the nyckelharpa. This is a Swedish instrument
similar to a viola but played with keys along the broad neck. In addition
to three or four bowed strings, the instrument has up to thirteen metal
sympathetic strings, like a sitar. It is played on the lap. The nyckelharpa
has a sharp, tangy, insistent sound which blends well with the baroque
instruments. There is also a certain amount of clicking from the keyboard,
especially in the faster passages, which in no way detracts from the
charm of the instrument.
Macklin and the backup band keep lively time and exhibit a good understanding of Baroque ornamentation. This may be a unique opportunity to hear music of the Baroque court played on this peasant instrument, as there is apparently no evidence that the nyckelharpa was used in this setting.
The Swedish folk music in this recording includes a set of variations on Foli d'Espagne, taken from the collection made by Gustav Blidström in 1715. This collection documents the music current among the Swedish peasantry at the time. There is no great difference between this folk music and its contemporary through-composed music, as the Allegro of Mascitti's Sonata begins with the same melodic line as La Folia.
Duration: 4'19", 10 kB.
The Folia appears as a trio to the Minuet (second movement) and is very extensive, alluding to Corelli but with highly elaborate pre-Romantic textures. Since he lived in Spain and had a dance background (his brother was a famous dancer-choreographer), this is easily the most effective late 18th century folia setting, and in a sense the last of the main line, since later treatments are usually 'historical' in style or used as local color. Unfortunately, neither the music itself or recordings are easy to find. The Quintetto Boccherini recorded it in the 50's or 60's, but it has not made it to CD. There is no modern edition of the music, but a facsimile is available from the King's Music in the UK.
Duration: 9'26", 117 kB.
My name is Jose Bravo, a violinist by nature, a composer by necessity. I heard of Vivaldi's version of La Folia (Opus 1, No 12) and just fell in love with it. Ever since, the theme has enchanted me with it's simplistic, yet incredibly rigourous variations. Several years, I began on my Folia and for a hiatus of about 2 years, I never completed it. Certain inspiration pushed me to reinvigorate my desire to finish this piece and just finished writing it recently. As you can suspect, Vivaldi's version of La Folia has influenced me greatly when writing this piece. I wish (if possible) for this piece to be added to the "La Folia" site for the benefit of others.
4 pages in pdf, 743 kB
Composed for the 2011 PLU Guitar Festival Orchestra
Initially it may seem hard to understand what it is about that tiny tune, La Folia, that has caught the attention of so many musicians through the history of music. But perhaps it is just the fact, that it is merely a template. It is like a mould that you can fill with almost anything. I made the simple cadenza-like chord structure in La Folia even more simple in my variations. Instead the variations unfold in rhytmical, metric and melodic ornamentations.
Duration: 1'00", 941 kB. (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
The first public performance by polish guitarist Marek Walawender
had place in Warszawa (Warsaw) in December 1997. We've tried to record it
in Autmn 1998, but the recording has never been published or used in the
Why I used the 'la Folia'-theme in a composition is not that difficult to understand. I often use some musical themes from the past in my compositions. I try to combine the 'classical' ideas with the modern musical language. Look at the list of my compositions http://www.budzynski.waw.pl (a Polish and English version) - you will find there also such pieces as 'Passacaglia', 'Sonata', 'Concerto', 'Partita concertante' etc.
Three sessions in May 1951 found Bachauer, Sherman and the orchestra he founded in 1941 assembled for the recording of two contrasting works, both pivotal to Gina Bachauer’s repertoire- Mozart’s ‘Coronation’ Concerto and Busoni’s transcription of Liszt’s Rapsodie espagnole. (If the New London Orchestra was predominantly a chamber ensemble, augmented it cut more than persuasive dash in Busoni’s multicoulored orchetstration of Liszt).
Duration: 3'13", 2938 kB. (128kB/s, 22050 Hz)
Carrying out an adventure, sowing long-lasting seeds is what the Trio Polycordes intends to do with this second record, focusing on the creative processes at a given time in a sort of inventory of today's musical praxis. The first recording recounted the genesis of an ensemble and a repertoire. Now time has come to develop both a story and an identity, to lay solid foundations. This second record aims at clearing a musical "terra incognita", giving each instrument the opportunity to reveal itself, making sure this shared land will be flourishing. Régis Campo's filiation can be traced back to the Baroque age . He pays a tribute to this musical tradition and at the same time perpetuates and renews it. Dancing is closely related to the "Suites de danse" made famous by composers such as Couperin or Rameau but Campo adds his own touch of night club atmosphere. The work is built round a glorious and luxuriant Chaconne. The theme of La Follia, clearly brought out at the outset, is gradually blurred by rich arabesques but can still be heard distant and faint as in a dream. Main panel of a contemporary altar-piece, this brilliant part is enhanced by the extremely minimalist movements that surround it. The first of them - Rag-Tango - is a double humorous reference. Regis Campo follows both Rag Time's spasmodic rhythm and the glissandos of the double-bass typical of a tango band. This unlikely mixing results in a strange ballet of sounds, a poetical evocation in which the dancers' steps on the stage may be heard through muffled notes. The last two movements belong to the tradition of animal paintings or that of the bestiary. Fly Dance in the Dark pursues the trill of the Chaconne and turns it into a key element in that behavioural study of flies' life. The buzzing insects induce a progressive fall into drowsiness in the listener. It's a lazy summer day's rest. But hey! What sheer pandemonium at the beginning of the fourth movement! Clucking, squawking, cackling, flapping of wings wake us up in an infuriated henhouse. Chicken Rock is a true, boisterous, gallinaceous Woodstock.
Duration: 2'50", 2604 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
The Livre de Sonatas ('Book of Sonatas') for organ groups several commissions from the Spanish Ensems 97 festival, the city of Auch and Radio France. Composcd between 1997 and 1999, this is the fruit of a wonderful. lasting oollaboration with the young Frcnch organist Jean-Christophe Reve1. Each sonata is conceived in a single movement developing a single idea, in the manner of Domenico Scarlatti's sonatas or, better yet, Rameau's harpsichord pieces. L'extravagant is a sort of mechanical fantasy mingled with obsession ansd false naïvete. Le Don and La Nuit are the two most nocturnal sonatas of the cycle, the second, of course, being dedicated to the great master Vivaldi, whereas La Follia makes use of the famous 15th century dance. [...].
The sonata 'La Follia' is taken from my 'Livre de Sonates' composed betwen 1997 and 1999 for the benefit of the young
organist Jean-Christophe Revel. This 'Livre' gathers together several orders from Radio France, the Spanish festival Ensems at Valencia,
and the Association of the Friends of the Organs at the cathedral of Auch.
Each Sonata, built in a single movement and developed around one theme only, is a reminder of Scarlatti's Sonatas or Rameau's Pieces for the harpsichord. Sonata no. 4 'La Follia' brings back the famous 15th century dance in a somewhat ironical and outmoded way. Pascal Rouet gives us a dynamic and personal version, highly consistent with the forceful spirit of my music.
This version for guitar was written with the help of the French guitarist Jean-Marc Zwellenreuter. I was looking for a very playful sound, Baroque in character and with humour and wit. This version is very different from the original version for organ with respect to texture and dynamics. I like the idea of the bottleneck in this piece; it is a good example of my ludic musical style.
Régis Campo made a new Folia-version, in the spirit of composers of the 17th century, who didn't hesitate to transcribe their works for different instrumental formations. After the presentation of the theme in a rather baroque style, the composer uses different modes in the aim of disarticulating the phrase and introducing different kinds of interferences. The long development in harmonics was suggested by Régis Campo by a cadence in a concerto for guitar by Villa-Lobos.
La Folia is a set of variations for chamber orchestra, commissioned by l'Ensemble du Jeu Présent, with the assistance of the Canada Council. La Folia was one of the most popular bass progressions used for sets of variations, songs and dances in the late Renaissance and Baroque eras. Its origins are obscure, although it probably originated in Spain or Portugal some time in the early 16th century, from whence it spread to Italy, France and England. It goes under many names in many countries - la folia , la follia , les folies d'Espagne and Farinel's Ground , among others. And it is often, though not always (and not in this piece), associated with a standard discant melody. Some of the more famous treatments of la folia include a set of keyboard diferencias by Antonio de Cabezön (1510-66), a set of variations for violin by Michel Farinel (1685), the masterly set of 24 variations in d, Op. 5, No. 12, for violin and continuo, by Archangelo Corelli (1700), and the Sonata in d, Op. 1, No. 12, for two violins and continuo, by Antonio Vivaldi (1705). In La Folia a variant of the original bass progression is woven, usually very audibly and clearly, but in many different voices and textures, into the fabric of each variation.The oeuvre of Patrick Cardy can be found at http://www.carleton.ca/~pcardy/
Duration: 3'54", 11 kB.
I just composed a new variant of the Folias. These are "loose" variations in that I allowed myself to modulate to other keys and to insert a parallel major version of the Folias chord progression. The piece starts in D minor and is written in 17th century style counterpoint and gradually evolves into a more modern treatment with modulations to a variety of keys and ending in D major. Although my variations are based on the Folias chord progression, nowhere in the piece do I actually quote the Folias melody The playing time at 100 bpm should be about 6 minutes. I was inspired to write this after seeing the Folias-website. The PDF score and an mp3 file are attached.
All Variations on Folias created with Finale (GPO) by Michael L. Carroll
Variations on Folias in pdf-format, size 60 Kb
Duration: 0'39", 02 kB.
|Opening of Variations de Las Folias d'Espagne||Published in 'Guitarre & Laute', 1995|
Duration: 1'27", 1.4 Mb. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
Finally, it was difficult to resist this last temptation: our Walloon Folklore has an abundance of tunes going back to the beginning of time, and 'Poule Noire' (Black Hen) is nothing if not an authentic Folia which has come down the ages through popular dancing.
A very nice and transparent composition for brass quintet. Somewhat in the idiom of the Folia variations by Jan Bach, which I consider as one of most interesting and enjoyable efforts to translate the Folia theme to modern times. The nice thing of a brass quintet is that the voices are so clear that the listener can distinguish the action and interaction bewteen the voices. Further on the Folia theme has a somewhat fragile setting with that modest melody line but the brass instruments transform the music into a very powerful statement especially with those firm trumpets. Those intriguing features strike me again when listening to the music of Jean Chatillon with his Fantaisie sur La Folia
Duration: 7'58", 7.56Mb. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
Fantaisie sur La Folia, 22 pages in pdf-format, size 255 Kb
It was after listening to the fine compositions of my two friends of the Delian Society (editor: Thomas Matyas and David W. Solomons) that I became intoxicated by this tema.
Sometimes there is a historical reference - the use of the traditional theme 'La folia'in L'Hotellerie portugaise.
L'Hôtellerie portugaise, one of three one-act opéras comiques written in 1798 and 1799, is based on the familiar plot of the lovers who have to outwit the old guardian bent on marrying his pretty young ward himself. Set in an inn on the border between Spain and Portugal, the story this time moved Cherubini to make a discreet application of local colour, in the form of allusions to the popular Portuguese tune La Folia, in the slow introduction to the ouverture. The main Allegro section is a skilfully achieved accumulation of eager expectation which reaches its climax just before the end.
The premiere of Les Abencérages took place at the Paris Opéra on 6 April 1813 in the presence of Napoleon and his wife and it proved one of the greatest successes of Cherubini's career.
The fact that this was one of Cherubini's most successful operas is confirmed not only by the enthusiastic comments of the
many personalities present at the first performance, including Napoleon and Marie. Louise, but paradoxically also
by the request made by the composer himself after about twenty performances that the dramaturgical part of the opera be cut
and reduced into two acts in order to create more space for ballets. A practice reserved in France only for those operas that sought
to becomepart of the "repertoire" [...]
To hear again the French version of 'Les Abencerages, however, we had to wait for the radio production of 15th January 1975 which Peter Maag and Radio Italiana chose to perform. This is a production that returned to the original three-act version of the opera, with limited use of ballets, and is proposed without significant cuts compared to the radio performance tradition of the time.
Somalia in pdf-format, size 37 Kb
Somalia by Gintonic
This is a composition I've made for my jazz-rock band Gintonic. It's based on the Follia (the Intro is the Pasamezzo Antiquo). It's very recent so I don't hace still the audio. I hope i will send you in a couple of months. I play flute and EWI in the jazz-rock band Gintonic.
Although I play mainly jazz - rock by now, my beginnings in music were in the field of early music. I have play many sets of variations upon the Folia (Vivaldi, Marin Marais...) with the recorder. I think the Folia and the Blues (as schema, the 12 measures) are the major cathedrals in music. I've write this music as a reaction to the human disaster in Somalia (the last 3 letters are the same -lia) Of course, It's possible to publish the sheet music in your website.
Somalia is based on this schema:
Intro: 8 bars (Pasamezzo antiquo)
Theme: Folia (Am7 - E7#9 - Am7 - G9 --- CMaj7 - G9 - Am7 - E7#9 --- Am7 - E7#9 - Am7 - G9 --- CMaj7 - G9 - Am7-E7#9 - Am7) 2 times
Guitar open solo (E7#9)
Intro: 8 bars (P.A.)
Theme: Folia 2 times
Flute solo: second half of Folia many times
All the chords are "jazzified" i.e. (instead of Am-E-Am-G, I've write Am7-E7#9-Am7-G9) but the chord progression of the main theme is the Folia in A minor.
In the future I will send you the link of YouTube with this music.
The complete theme and variations as played by the maestro Jorge Cardoso
It's in the Folies d'Espagne by Le Cocq that we find a compendium of the language of the baroque guitar, in an aesthetic and idiomatic synthesis of the subdued and rarefied folk influences, the peculiarities of a more elaborate performing technique and the profound expressive idiom of musical culture in the baroque era.
We are indebted to the Flemish clergyman and amateur guitarist, Jean-Baptiste de Castillion (1680-1753), whose activities as a music copyist have preserved the guitar music of François Le Cocq (fl.1685-1729), Nicolas Derosier (c.1645-1702) and many pieces by Corbetta not found in the surviving printed books. In the preface to the manuscript which he copied in 1730 (B:Bc.Ms.S.5615) Castillion says that in 1729 Le Cocq gave him copies of his music, which he re-copied for his own use, adding pieces by several other composers of the previous century. He says that Le Cocq taught the guitar to the wife of the Elector of Bavaria and refers to him playing to the sister of the Archduke Charles of Austria, later emperor Charles VI. This was probably Maria Antonia, a half-sister of Charles, who married the Elector Maximillian II Emanuel in 1685 and died in 1692. In 1729 Le Cocq is described as a retired musician of the Chapel Royal in Brussels. His variations on Folies d'Espagne is a technical tour de force featuring the 'harpegemens', elaborately arpeggiated chords, which were a jealously guarded secret of Le Cocq's. Castillion says that he rarely indicated them in his music so as to conceal how he played them and to preserve them to himself alone.
Duration: 3'18", 4886 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
Duration: 0'59", 958 kB. (128kB/s, 22050 Hz)
Duration: 0'38", 652 kB. (128kB/s, 22050 Hz)
Francesco Conti (1681-1732), now almost forgotten, was a very famous and highly respected composer in
his time. The largest part of his life he worked at the imperial court in Vienna. In 1708 he was
apointed first theorbo player, in 1713 he became also court composer. After these appointments he became
one of the highest paid musicians in Vienna, who was able to perform his own works with the best singers,
since he could pay them well. After falling ill in 1726 he returned to Italy, but in 1732 he returned to
Vienna to introduce some new works. It is an indication of his reputation that his successor as court
composer, Antonio Caldara, had to step aside to make place for Conti. Shortly thereafter Conti died.
This work performed was composed for the Carnival season in 1719. It was extremely successful: it was even translated into German, and was performed 25 times outside Vienna, mainly in Hamburg. Don Chisciotte in Sierra Morena is a tragicommedia, which combines elements of the opera seria and the intermezzo (a form of comedy which was performed in between the acts of the opera seria as a form of compensation for the disappearance of all comic elements from the opera seria). It not only combines these elements, but also ridicules some elements of the opera seria. The way Conti portrays Don Quixote and Sancho Pansa in particular is brilliant. Don Quixote, a puffed so-called knight, who believes that he is a hero, and doesn't want to see the truth, even if it is right under his nose.
In Conti's time, Don Chisciotte lasted about 5 hours.
[...] Such conversations bore Don Quixote and especially Sancho Panza. They leaf through the music of Conti's opera, which he had brought with him. "Look, my dear Sancho, just look at this! Indeed, how marvelously our story is told," exclaims Don Quichote, " how wonderfully fresh the music - I like it! And it also has real Spanish character, even a follia!" Grumbling to himself he recalls the evening's opera performance of this miserable piece of work by Mattheson: "Granted, the music is nice, but the story is not at all the right thing for a Spaniard. here, on the other hand: A follia! A chaconne! A Ballo de Pagarellieri, a ballet of the squires, like Mr. Conti has composed it - this is something that is knightly and would certainly also please my Dulcinea!"
Duration: 3'37", 20 kB.
|Opening of Conti's Folia||Artaria publication for the opera La pastorella nobile|
This is a printed keyboard vocal score of a duet composed by Conti used for the first Viennese production of Guglielmi's comic opera La pastorella nobile. The singers were Adriana Ferrarese (the first Fiordiligi in Mozart's "Cosi fan tutte") and Francesco Benucci (the first Figaro and Don Alfonso). The entire duet is based on La Folia; the text is probably by Lorenzo da Ponte. The first Viennese production of "La pastorella nobile" is discussed in my dissertation "Emperor and impresario: Leopold II and the transformation of Viennese musical theater, 1790-1792"In the dissertation John A. Rice writes (p. 125):
[...] Also added to the Viennese version in place of the recitative in the original was the duet for D. Florida and D. Polibio, "Va pur in malora," attributed in the Artaria print to one "Sig. Conti." (It is not clear that this duet was in fact sung as part of Guglielmi's opera. The text appears in the 1790 libretto, but a note at the end of the libretto informs us that the duet was omitted in performance; yet Artaria issued a keyboard reduction of the duet and described it as "eseguito dall Sigra. Feraresi ed il Sigr. Benucci nell'Opera la Pastorella Nobile.")
An effort to minimize inevitable monotony is discernible
in the set of 23 variations, particularly by giving to the accompaniment
as active a role as possible. Several times in the 3rd variation and in
the 16th the same designs are exchanged between melody and bass. Sometimes
this reciprocity operates between groups of two variations; for example,
between the 4th and 5th, 6th and 7th, 20th and 21st. Still more
revealing is the manner in which the ostinato of the bass is now and then
halted. The harmonic framework of the 14th is new, likewise that of the
19th, which is in imitation with supple modulations and that of the 20th,
which cadences in F while the 21st variation traverses the reversed key
sequence. Finally, an elongation by four measures at the close of the last
phase attests, by itself, to Corelli's desire to evade customary routine
and to invest a somewhat naive architecture with a degree of nobility.
But there is no doubt, as is evident from a cursory reading of the follia that in Corelli's eyes its interest was of a violinistic order before all else. Everything he knew about the matter of instrumental technique, which he had scattered throughout Opus V, and the device of variation, enabled him to concentrate, to classify, and to demonstrate with precision in a veritable corpus of doctrine. By technique, that of bowing should be understood; for as regards to the left hand, Corelli's role, (.....), far from being constructive, was limited to 'pruning'.
Duration: 5'16", 40 kB.
Duration: 7'03", 47 kB.
Duration: 8'56", 59 kB.
|Theme of Violin Sonata in d minor La Follia||arr. for violin and b.c.|
The complete score of la Folia opus 5 no. 12
Marie Therese had at her disposal many wind and brass players, whom she sometimes brought together in orchestras that must have made a brilliant and colorful sound. Her concert on 18 July 1802 ended with what she referred to as "Die Follia di Spagna mit allen Instrumenten von Eybler." Eybler is not known to have composed such a work (footnote 66: No orchestral variations on La Follia by Eybler are listed in Hermann [= Hildegard Hermann, Thematisches Verzeignis der Werke von Joseph Eybler, Munich, 1976]). But she owned, under the title Follia a più strumenti, an anonymous orchestral transcription of the variations on La Follia from Corelli's violin sonatas, Op. 5 (CaM, p. 62; see Fig. 1.3), which the diary allows us to attribute to Eybler. The orchestral parts call for (in addition to strings) pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, and timpani (footnote 67: A-Wgm, XIII 29392).
piano roll, 1921
Duration: 5'45" direct link to YouTube
Duration:6'26" direct link to YouTube
La Follia has proved the most popular and is the oldest permanent classic of the virtuoso's repertoire.
It was a favorite with the 19th Century performers who added luxuriant accompaniments and spectacular cadenzas. In the
original form, as recorded here, it consists of twenty-three variations for violin and harpsichord on the theme
of an old Portuguese dance. The dance was originally accompanied by tambourines and performed by men dressed in women's
clothes who acted so wildly that they appreared to be out of their senses, hence the title 'Follia' meaning 'Madness'
This tune was used in vocal music by Steffani and Milanuzzi. In harpsichord solo variations by d'Anglebert, François Couperin (Les Folies Françoises), Alessandro Scarlatti, and Pasquini. And in an organ setting by Cabanilles. J.S. Bach employed it in the ' Peasant Cantata' (record Allegro alg-82). It is found in works by Gretry (in the Opera 'L'Amant Jaloux') and in 'The Beggar's Opera' to the words ' Joy to Great Ceasar'. Other composers who made use of La Follia include François Farinel, whom Corelli met in Hannover around 1680, Lully, Frescobaldi, Marais, Pergolesi, Vivaldi, Keiser, Cherubini, Liszt, and even Rachmaninoff (in his Variations on a theme by Corelli, Opus 42).
Andrea Lausi wrote about recorder-music in general and in particular the Brüggen-Bylsma-Leonhardt-trio (used with permission, 2005):
I have always considered the anthologies issued by the Brüggen-Bylsma-Leonhard
trio for Telefunken (Italian Recorder Sonatas, Blockflötenmusik auf Originalinstrumenten...)
among the key recordings of the ‘70s. Veritable chamber music lesson,
these recordings shaped the perception of the recorder as a musical instrument
for many years to come. What I find central to this is the quality, so-to-say
the real magic, of Brüggen’s sound. The recorder is an instrument with
a particular limited amount of overtones – it is actually a good approximation
to a sonic laser with all the energy concentrated in the fundamental –
and Brüggen’s playing puts this quality at the center of his constant
focus. A playing where the center of the tone is never missed, the sound being
always direct and full. These qualities blend with the play of other two musicians
in interpretations of a simple nobility, where the 'abstract' timbre of the
recorder – the quality Brüggen once defined as its 'dangerous innocence'
– appears perfectly functional in putting in evidence all of the curves
and shapes of the compositional architecture.
The Brüggen-Bylsma-Leonhard series included also a very impressive rendition of the Follia and, given such an overwhelming example to confront with, I have been always surprised that in the past years so many recorder players recorded the piece, which after all is definitely not a piece composed originally for the recorder. [...] and I find the Cavasanti-Guerrero-Erdas reading to be perhaps the first to cope with the mastery of BBL example. [...]
The work differs only in points of detail from the versions for violin and demands a high degree of technical competence on the part of its performance, since Corelli, an accomplished violinist, conceived the work as a virtuoso bravura showpiece. The folia or ostinato bass, after which the piece is named, is a solemn, weighty theme that is subjected to a total of twenty-one variations to produce a veritable fire-work display of ideas.
Corelli's variations on La Folia, from the beginning of the 18th century the composer's most famous work,
were originally written for violin and figured bass and constitute, in this version, the last of the twelve 'Sonate a violino e violone o cimbalo',
which first appeared in Rome with the superscription of 1st January 1700, and by 1720 saw no fewer than twenty reprintings,
above all in Amsterdam and London.The present version for recorder (in which the only simplifications are of technical peculiarities
like the chords or double-stopping of the violin version) had already been published in 1702 by Walsh in London. The
imaginative title 'La Folia' (Walsh wrote 'La Follia') denotes nothing more than that the work is constructed on the bass pattern known
as a 'folia', which first emerged in Spanish and Italian music in the early 16th century as a bass (i.e. as a harmonic framework)
for vocal and instrumental movements, and thence, partly also combined with more or less fixed or varied upper melodic part,
set out on its victorious path through Europe. In the instrumental music of Corelli's time, particularly in the sets of variations,
this pattern atteined its richest flowering - not only Corelli himself, but also Pasquini, d'Anglebert, Cabanilles, Marais and
Alessandro Scarlatti wrote sets of variations on La Folia, in so doing giving free rein to their imagination, particularly from
the point of view of technique.
Corelli's 'sonata' is planned as a sequence of a theme and 21 variations. The theme preserves, along with the traditional 3/4 measure, the traditional descant melody and its sarabande character; thereafter movement and melodic figuration are increased from variation to variatio, and rhythm, tempo and compositional technique constantly changed, while the harmonic movement and its symmetric organisation (4 + 4, 4 + 4 bars, both halves repeated) remain firmly fixed. The frequent recurrence of long phrases building up from grave crotchet movement in sarabande rhythm to virtuosic semiquaver figurations in the separate movements gives the work its inner coherence and its accompanying dynamics; the abundance of ingenious melodic and constructional ideas and the extraordinary technical demands lend it that range of colour and that air of fantasy which already fascinated its contemporaries and made the work so uniquely famous.
The final work in the collection is a set of 23 variations on La Follia, a sixteen-bar ground bass that had been used as the basis of variations for well over a century and had by then picked up an 'accompanying' melody in chaconne rhythm. This is something of a tour de force, particularly in bowing technique.
|Duration: 0'54", 848 kB.( 128kB/s, 44100Hz)
The opening of Opus 5 nr. 12 as played by Cavasanti, Guerrero and Erdas
© Cavasanti, Guerrero and Erdas 2004, used with permission
So, to the very famous variations in trio on la Follia by Corelli, which open the concert, the response in false symmetry
at the very end will be the trio of the Folies d'Espagne by Marin Marais, his exact contemporary
the other side of the Alps two admirable pieces of equal length on the same motif, that Portuguese dance of the folia which passed
through Spain (whence the name "Folies d'Espagne" given to it by the French) and whose popularity soon swept
throughout Europe in the 17th century.
Lully adopted the famous theme and d'Anglebert won fame with his variations for harpsichord on the same subject. This is before one finds it in Italy with the 23 variations from Corelli, and then again in France from Marin Marais. Would extravagance itself not be a symbol of the Baroque, a precious asset of the imaginary and a pretext for everything daring, for all metamorphoses?
[...] Munrow extended his activities with the Consort
to a heavy schedule of concerts, tours, and the making of numerous albums,
encompassing the early music of many countries. His popular English
television series Pied Piper considered music of all eras. In the eight
years of Munrow's all-too-brief career before his death in 1976, he
also wrote a book Instruments of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (Oxford
University Press. London: 1976) and composed and arranged the scores
for four feature films, including Ken Russell's The Devils, the EMI-MGM
Henry VIII, John Boorman's Zardoz, and the French documentary La Course
en tête, produced by Vincent Malle and directed by Joël Santoni.
It is Munrow's score for La Course en tête that is heard here. Focussing upon the European bicycle races at Grenoble, the film sensitively explores the anxieties and problems, as well as the pleasures and rewards, of the professional bike riders in competition. For his score, Munrow utilized arrangements of music by Hassler, Praetorius, Susato, Macque, Phalèse, and Corelli, and composed original themes in early music styles. [...]
Arcangelo Corelli (b. Fusignano, 1653; d. Rome, 1713) studied counterpoint with Simonelli and violin with Bassani. His travels as violin virtuoso and composer took him to Paris and throughout Germany. In 1685 he settled in Rome in the service of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni. Corelli made a major contribution to the development of violin technique. As composer, his sonatas da camera and concerti grossi were the predecessors of the sonatas and concertos of Bach and Handel. David Munrow's "End Music" uses Variations on La Folie d'Espagne from Corelli's, Op. 5 No. 2.
'La Follia' has proven to be one of the most popular and enduring harmonic progressions from the Renaissance and Baroque period. Throughout history 'La Follia' has been used by many great composers including Corelli and Vivaldi, right through to Liszt and Rachmaninoff. This CD contains a wide selection of 'La Follia' variations by Baroque composers, including one of the most well known settings, by Corelli - 'La Follia' from Sonata Op 5, No 12. This work is Corelli at his best, displaying an endless imagination through a succession of variations in ever changing moods and metres. Likewise the setting by Vitali also featured, contains a wealth of variation and invention
The insert in the CD says the Corelli is for 'Altblockflöte und Basschalumeau', but I don't hear any Basschalumeau. The accompaniment seems to be cembalo (Michael Schönheit) and Cello (Bettina Messerschmidt).
Jean-Pierre Nicolas chose the flute in D, pitched a third lower than the standard treble instrument in order to play the exact melodic lines and especially the virtuosic variations of the Follia
Just imagine if everyone had composed in the manner of Arcangelo Corelli, whose variations on an old Spanish Sarabande La Follia caused quite a stir, not only with his contemporaries ...
There is no twelfth sonata. XII is entitled Follia, and is a set of 22 variations on the dance tune of that name which goes back to fifteenth-century Portugal and was a great favourite throughout the baroque era. The 'madness' implied in the title was said to reflect the wild mood of the dancers. Corelli takes us a step further into a state of general derangement. Geminiani, in one of his treatises, names Corelli's variations as the ultimate work of the violin literature, and says 'I have had the pleasure of discoursing with him myself upon this subject, and heard him acknowledge the Satisfaction he took in composing it, and the Value he set upon it.'
Born in Bologna, Italy, Corelli lived in Rome. He has produced the most significant example of a sonata for two or three instruments. He was an innovator in the concerto form which underwent an extraordinary development in the following centuries. "La Folia" certainly one of Corelli's most enchanting works, reveals his real discovery - the instrumental use of the 10 - string guitar and the violin. The resulting resonance lends to Corelli's music all its sensitivity, charm and originality. The balance achieved in the movements of the concerto is a miraculous poetical synthesis.
The 'Follia', too, became a rich stew in the hands of LFA: we get a taste of Corelli and Marais, but also a touch of Scarlatti and Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach. But what does it matter? In the art of arranging, varying and improvising, the question 'which note is whose?' has become absolutely irrelevant.
The oldest form of arrangement known in musical history is the variationof already existing themes. Some of these models really became archetypes: They were varied by so many composers that the original spiritual father fell into oblivion. Two of these essential themes are the English folk song 'Greensleeves' and the sarband tune 'La Folia'. The attraction of these themes lies in the comprehensible harmonic sequences, on which they are based and which have encouraged numerous composers to write so-called ostinato variations, that is improvisations over a bass, that is permanently repeated. This type of variation was already mentioned in a novella by the author of Don Quichote, Miguel de Cervantes, who called this piece 'Folia'. Therefore the famous theme from the Corelli concerto bears the name of a whole variation genre being at the same time its most popular representative. Corelli, the baroque master of the violin and 'inventor' of the concerto grosso, develops from the simple model a whole host of modes of expression, from grandiose festiveness to complicated counterpoint, from sweeping cantabile to brilliant virtuosity.Reinhold Friedrich and Martin Lücker wrote for the slipcase:
Das führte zur 'Follia' von Corelli. Wirklich der helle Wahn diese Musik! (Follia=Wahnsinn, fixe Idee). Aus der originalen Vorlage (Violine und bezifferter Bass) haben wir eine Art organisierter Improvisation gemacht. Zunächst wurde die originale Violinstimme ihrer Länge wegen zwischen Trompete und Orgel aufgeteilt, und dann ging 's kos: Da wird auf der Grundlage der Continuo-Notierung improvisiert, figuriert und konzertiert, kaum etwas haben wir dabei notiert.
The twelfth sonata is "La Follia" by antonomasia, the one that was the basic for the compositions of Marais, Vivaldi, Reali, et al. It was customary to colclude a collection with a series of variations on the same bass (lateron, one will also find examples in Vivaldi, Tessarini, Tartini ...), and Corelli, in truth, deploys a vast range of ideas, metres and phrasings to best illustrate the proud, ancient Iberian theme. Pupil Francesco Geminiani spoke of it in these terms: " I do not pretend to be its inventor: other composers of the very highest level have embarked on the same voyage; and none of them with greater success than the celebrated Corelli, as can be seen in his Opus V, on the Aria de la Follia de Spagnia [sic]. I had the pleasure of discussing this with him and heard him acknowledge the full satisfaction he felt in composing it, and the worth he attributed to it (source).
The last number of Opus 5 is not a sonata but a variation
cycle which is not only the crown of the set but Corelli's greatest
technical achievement. It has a precursor in the Ciacona, the last piece
of the chamber sonatas Opus 2. The ciacona (Chaconne in French), the
passacaglia (passecaille), as wel as the Portuguese folia, whose Italian
spelling is follia are closely related. They are dances in triple time.
The origin of the follia was long a matter of dispute. It was thought to be Spanish, but the Portuguese musicologist Luis de Freitas-Branco has drawn attention to the fact that the noun folia (meaning obsession) and the verb foliar derived from it, are Portuguese and not Spanish words. The follias were known in Portugal as early as the fourteenth century. Yet the tendency to regard the follia as a Spanish dance developed only from the beginning of the seventeenth century and one called them 'Folies d' Espaigne'. At the end of the sixteenth century follias were included in collections of instrumental music. There they invariably appear as variations on an ostinato bass. They can be found in works of Italian, French and German composers and the theme of the follia was heard everywhere.
It seems very strange indeed that through four centuries dozens of composers have used that tune for variations. This phenomenon becomes more puzzling in view of the fact that the range of this tune is only a fourth plus a semitone. Yet it exercised an irresistible magnetic power on a host of composers. Percy Scholes compiled a list of 23 names but remarked "that it is certain that dozens of examples are omitted." His list includes Frescobaldi [red: which is not a folia], Corelli, Vivaldi, Domenico [red: Alessandro the father of Domenico is intended here] Scarlatti (Variazioni sulla Follia di Spagna), Bach (Peasant Cantata, 1742), Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Gretry, Cherubini, Liszt (Spanish Rhapsody for Piano, 1863) and Rachmaninoff with his Variations on a Theme by Corelli (!) for Piano. The tune was well known in Italy and Corelli became familiar with the ostinato technique presumably through the works of Girolamo Frescobaldi whose 'Cento Partite sopra Passacagli' (1637) is on account of its melodic, rhythmic and contrapuntal diversity a worthy predecessor of Corelli's 'La follia' and Chaconne and Passacaglia by elaborations has been thrown on the the market that, it is true, bear Corelli's name but go far beyond the violin technique of his time, elaborations which Pincherle defined as "calamitous disarrangements" of La Follia.
The student of this work who happens to be a violinist will quickly become aware of Corelli's basic conception. The composer's overriding interest centered on violinistic problems and the technique of bowing in particular . Thus, Geminiani's task was a very difficult one because he had to adapt the violinistic style to the ensemble.
Incidentally, the suite in Italy at that time was called sonata da camera, or chamber sonata, so that it could be immediately distinguished from the sonata da chiesa. The 12th and last of the so-called 'sonatas' has nothing to do with either of these: it is a theme with variations. The theme, entitled 'La Follia' - a Spanish dance - was one of the most popular melodies of the day and was arranged by many Baroque composers. But it really only survives today in this last and most popular of Corelli's 12 sonatas.
The last of Corelli's twelve sonatas comprising his Op. 5 consists entirely of a series of increasingly virtuosic variations on 'La Folia'. Originally a Portuguese peasant's dance, the Folia (the etymology of which is related to our 'fool') became the basis for improvisations by more courtly musicians throughout the Iberian peninsula before making its way northwards to France, Italy, England and the Netherlands during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Corelli's version, like the rest of his Op. 5, was highly influential; Vivaldi's Op. 1 trio sonatas of 1705, for example, ends with a set of Folia variations as a direct homage
Duration: 1'04", 1011 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
This sonata is performed essentially as Corelli published it, 23 variations on the 'Follia' theme. Perhaps Portuguese in origin, the centuries old "Follia" theme was a popular subject for variation sets of the 17th century. Some have described Corelli's variations as nothing more than bowing exercises, but Corelli makes his bass as active and involved as the solo. This adds considerable interest to a sonata that seems intended as a vehicle for virtuosic display. We employ orchestration that suits the wind soloist and we rely upon trombone multiphonics to take the place of the many passages that call for double-stopped notes on the violin. Trombone multi-phonics is the practice of singing a note with the voice, while at the same time, playing a lower note with the lips. While this is certainly not a Baroque technique, it is an accepted part of 21st century trombone technique. In the same way that Corelli sought to demonstrate the technical capabilities of the violin that flourished in his era, this recording seeks to demonstrate similar capabilities unique to the trombone in the 21st century. Indeed, this recording and its accompanying performance editions aspire to take a place in the unbroken, 300-year performance lineage established upon Corelli's solo sonatas.
Live performance in Het Concertgebouw February 16, 2012
Ik speelde "La Folia" gewoon uit het manuscript voor viool en continuo. Harmonische toevoegingen kwamen logisch voort uit de bc. De regisratie en registerwisselingen zijn afhankelijk van de mogelijkheden van het orgel. (translation: I just played the Corelli variations from the manuscript for violin and basso continuo. Harmonic added parts were derived from the b.c. The registration and stops are of course dependable from the possibilities of the local organ.)In the slipcase is written about Jan Jansen:
Jan Jansen (1946) studied organ, piano and harpsichord at the Utrecht conservatory. In 1966 he won the 'chorale'prize at the national improvisation competition in Bolsward. As a pupil of Cor Kee he gained the Prix dÉxcellence for organ in 1970. Jan Jansen has taught at the Utrecht conservatory since 1973, and he was appointed organist of the Dom in Utrecht in 1987, where he performs weekly with the choir at Saturday afternoon concerts. He has played in Holland and abroa, and has made many recordings (radio, TV,LP,CD).
Duration: 3'52" direct link to YouTube
The first mention of the theme on which 'La Folia' is based occurs in 1505, and a number of compositions bearing that
name appear throughout the 16th century. In 1611 'Tesoro', the first
published dictionary of the Spanish language, gives us this
definition: 'La Folia: Portuguese dance, very loud since in addition
to many people on foot with little cymbals (Basque tambour) and
other instruments, it includes portefaix in costumes carrying on their shoulders
boys dressed as girls who shake their long sleeves, dance sometimes, and play
their cymbals as well; the noise is so loud and the rhythm so fast that they all
seem to be possessed by 'madness' whence the name 'Folia'.
During the seventeenth century, the spirit of the Fpolia changed: from a leaping dance it was transformed into a kind of passacaglia or chaconne, noble and stately. From then on, La Folia came intofashion with composers all across Europe, from Frescobaldi in Italy; Boyce and Arne in England, passing through Lully and d'Anglebert in France and Pergolesi and Bach in Germany. This theme has remained popular with composers such as Cherubini (The Portuguese Hostelry: 1798), Liszt (Spanish Rhapsody: 1863), and Nielsen (Mascarade: 1906).
In Corelli's work, the sixteen-bar tune recurs constantly in the bass, while the violinist proceeds continually through new material, alternating mood and tempo for twenty three variations. The edition used here is that of the nineteenth-century violinist Hubert Leonard, who has altered somewhat the order of Corelli's variations, and has expanded some of them as Corelli himself undoubtedly did in performance.
'La Folia' also belongs to the variations genre. Folia (or Follia, known also as Les Folies d'Espagne
and by other titles) is a famous melody of the early 16th century, probably of Portugese origin, which was used by a great number
of composers as a theme for continuous variations. The Folia has no ritornellos, is almost always in D minor and is geberally slow and dignified.
The Folia began, usually, with a statement in which all second beats were dotted. This threw a powerful secondary accent on the opening chord.
This masterly set of twenty-four variations, which concluded his Op. 5 is Corelli's most difficult as well as his most enduringly popular composition.
With cycle of sonatas opus 5, in which the Sonata "Folies d'Espagne" belongs, Corelli finally established his fame as composer and violinist. This piece of music appeared in print in Rome, Amsterdam and London all in the same year - 1700. This was very unusual at the time (for example, Bach's works were not printed at all during his lifetime.
With the development of the virtuosic repertoire for the violin at the turn of the century it was only natural that the Folia should be included in it. In 1700 the great Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) used it as the basis for a series of exceedingly virtuosic variations with which he concluded his most influential collection of solo sonatas for violin and continuo, the famous Op. 5, the contents of which are known to have circulated in manuscript for more than a decade prior to this printing. In 1704 one of the most representative composers of violin music of the German and Dutch school, Henricus Albicastro, an artistic pseudonym of Johann Heinrich von Weissenburg (ca. 1660 -ca. 1730), published a sonata 'La Follia', which displays a clear Corellian influence in its virtuosic writing. And it was not by accident that a year later, in 1705, the young Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) also chose to conclude a decisive publication in which he placed the highest hopes for the future of his artistic career, his Op. 1 collection of trio-sonatas, with yet another magnificent set of Folia variations.
In May of 1702 John Walsh, the famous London music publisher, issued 'Six Solos for a Flute and Bass' by Arcangelo Corelli. Five of these 'solos' were transcriptions for alto recorder of the celebrated violin sonatas from Opus 5 (which Walsh had published two years earlier). The remaining work, also from Opus 5, was the even more celebrated 'Follia' or 'Spanish Folly': a set of variations on a tune much admired by composers of variations before Corelli's time and since. Recorder transcriptions of all sorts of music, both vocal and instrumental, were commonplace in 17th and early 18th Century England. Players of the recorder (then called the 'flute') were apparently as numerous then as now, since publishers displayed much energy and imagination in supplying their needs.
Incidentally, the suite in Italy at that time was called sonata da camera, or chamber sonata, so that it could be immediately distinguished from the sonata da chiesa. The 12th and last of the so-called 'sonatas' has nothing to do with either of these: it is a theme with variations. The theme, entitled 'La Follia' - a Spanish dance - was one of the most popular melodies of the day and was arranged by many Baroque composers. But it really only survives today in this last and most popular of Corelli's 12 sonatas.
'... It was said that Jefferson's violin playing helped him win his wife's hand in 1772, and it would not be surprising if Maria Cosway was also impressed by his musical abilities. I gravitated to Corelli's Violin Sonata Op 5 no 12 La Follia not only because Jefferson owned multiple editions of this work but also for its sheer beauty. Corelli's La Follia and its orchestrated version by Francesco Geminiani are heard throughout the film, each time helping to highlight the ever-changing emotional landscape. ...'.Jim Stevenson commented in June 2001:
the Geminiani version does not appear to be on the CD. And since the CD is designated ADD and a reference is made to Erato records, it may be that this is an old recording re-released. But I could find no other reference to it. This CD no longer seems to be available through retail outlets. I had to get a copy from used CD dealers.
'La Follia', a dance melody similar in style to a sarabande,
has inspired numerous composers to write variations on it. They include
d'Anglebert (Pièces de Clavecin),
Vivaldi (Op. 1, no 12) and Marais
(Pièces de Violes, Deuxième Livre). Variations on the Follia
melody for recorder over the Follia bass, described as 'Faronels
Ground', appeared in the collection 'The Division Flute' (1706)
(Edition Schott 5737). J.S. Bach in the aria of the Goldberg variations
made use of the popular bass only. Its origin is unknown. It appeared
already in early sources, and was described as 'Italian' by Spanish
composers in the 16th century (cf. D. Ortiz, 'tenore italiano').
Corelli's 'La Follia', Op. 5, no 12, was published by John Walsh (London 1702) in a version for recorder transposed from d to g. It follows the original version for violin exactly, except for the double-stop parts.
There are no thrill signs in the original text (British Museum, London). Other additions made by the editor have been indicated as such. The variant in bar 160 is also to be found in F. Geminiani's Concerto grosso version of Corelli's Op. 5, nr. 12. The pauses that have been inserted by the editor should facilitate the division of the variation sequence.
Opus 5 ends with twenty-four variations on the simple harmonic sequence, said to have originated in the Iberian peninsula: Follia. Many sets of variations in general, and of the Follia in particular, survive on paper, although one suspects that far more were improvised. than were ever written down. One violinist contemporary of Corelli who studied in Rome, Michel Farinel (1649-c.1700), introduced the Follia to England (where it was known as 'Farinel's Ground'). Perhaps it was part of a Roman violinist's everyday repertoire, in which case Corelli's notated version in Opus 5 was perhaps didactic in intent. He certainly provides an A-to-Z of violin technique circa 1700, including variations dedicated to arpeggios, consecutive thirds, running sixteenths and the indispensable messa di voce, the long, sustained bow stroke which was considered to be the key to good violin playing. Alongside these techniques, Corelli also leaves plenty of room for the performers' personal follies.
Since no authentic ornaments for 'La Follia', the last work in Opus 5, were available, the original text has been left untouched, although an eighteenth-century violinist would certainly have added some improvisations. Only the last variation was extended to include Veracini's coda. Otherwise we avoided Verancini's versions of Opus 5, since they entail too sweeping changes in the whole composition.
Selbst Corellis berühmte "Folia"-Variationen - natürlich für die hellere, strahlendere Violine komponiert - wirken bei Mönkemeyer so unstrittig "richtig", so lebendig, schmissig und wild, dass die guten fünf Zentimeter mehr zwischen Wirbeln und Kinnstütze nicht ins Gewicht fallen - allenfalls positiv, wegen der extra Portion warmem, satten Sound.
The last and most celebrated sonata contains the variations on the
passionate theme La Folia, which areexceptionally virtuosic for Corelli. 'La Folia' was to
become one of the most famous tunes in music history. The melody was taken from a Spanish dance,
like a sarabande, but wild and exuberant as in the original sense of the word folia: madness or frenzy.
It was gladly embraced by a whole line of western composers, from Lully, Corelli, Marin Marais
via Alessandro Scarlatti, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach to Liszt and Rachmaninov.
As a homage to his great example, Corelli's pupil Francesco Geminiani published a series of twelve concerti grossi in London from 1726, based on Corelli's sensational Violin Sonates op.5. What has been a highly virtuosic piece for solo violin in Corelli's hands became a merciless exercise for string orchestra in Gemininani's
The fifth volume of the Takako Nishizaki Plays Suzuki Evergreens starts with an arrangement by Shinichi Suzuki of Arcangelo Corelli’s variations based on the popular dance, La Folia. Corelli, with his twelve sonatas for violin and keyboard, his trio sonatas and his dozen concerti grossi, exercised a strong influence on his successors, with many of his works familiar before his death in Rome in 1713 and their final publication. His Op. 5, No. 12 is a set of variations on La Folia, a dance that was to form the basis of various compositions by his contemporaries and successors.
There were apparently quite a number of skilled recorder-players in 18th century England, and by 1702 at the latest, Corelli was a household name to them: this was the year when local publisher John Walsh brought out several recorder arrangements of the op.2 & 4 trio sonatas as well as of the famous op.5 violin sonatas. In the latter case, however, the arrangements were only made of the last six of the set of twelve, which are set in the sonata da "camera style". In the last sonata of the set, op. 5 no. 12 in G minor, Corelli sets the melody of then popular Portuguese dance "La Follia" with a total of 21 variations, in whose ostinato harmonies the bass line is quite virtuoso in places
I stayed [in Hamburg] fifteen and a half years for the entire Nazi period, the war and the defeat. This was only possible because of the open-mindedness that has always been a characteristic of this city. My personal and political opinions would have surely made it impossible for me to live in Berlin, Dresden or Munich.
But this recital [...] is an act of hommage not only to Kreisler but to the long tradition of great violonist composers who came before himn, and of which het was the last representative. The point is implicit in the opening track. Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) is widely regarded as the most illustrious founder of that tradition. Ironically he is perhaps best known for a theme he never actually composed. La Folia is in fact a anonymous Iberian dance song from the 17th century, much varied by composers from that time onwards (among them Franz Liszt and Kreisler's friend an collaborator Sergei Rachmaninov).
The Purcell Quartet plays all variations by Arcangelo Corelli
Duration: 10'12", 9592 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
A comment on the Quadro - since Dorothee joined the Trio of the Lo Specchio Ricomposto I actually started considering this a sort of 'issue 0' for the quartet. Dorothee is a very good player, and also the trio was very good. But the four of them together really exceedes the mere sum of the components! There is something really unparalleled in the quality of the 'ensemble' sound which was (almost) never heard before. QJ resembles the Quadro Hotteterre, actually the Quadro in their name is an obvious hommage to the Dutch group, which is now unfortunately disbanded, and I have always considered Kees Boeke and Walter van Hauwe with the highest respect. More astonishing, the recording you have is from the FIRST concert QJ performed together. I was not there, but when they came back with the DAT tape I was really thrilled. I must also bow my head to Lorenzo and Paola for the recording sound quality: Lorenzo has a portabe profi equipement, and they did all the mike positioning by themselves, with the festival staff only helping with the on-off button. And when a few months later I finally had chance to listen to the quartet live, it was even better. It's a great group!
. I found some informations about its publication on Imslp (http://imslp.org/wiki/Corelli_Album_%28Corelli,_Arcangelo%29")... It says 1895-96, the year of 1st publication.
Concerning Reinecke version I found these links with Corelli:
- Reinecke piece has 11 var. instead of Corelli's 22 var.
- Var.n.4-5 in Corelli are gathered in Var.4 (Reinecke) so Var.6 (C) become Var.5 (R)
- Var.7-10 (C) missing in R.
- Var.11 (C) become Var.6
- Var.12 missin'
- Var.13 become Var.7 (R) and Var.14 become Var.8 but very freely transcribed, in this last case
- Var.15(C) is Var.9 (R)
- Var.16,17,18,19 (C) missin'
- Var.20(C) is Var.10(R)
- Var.21 missin and last Var.22 (C) "sounds like" last Var.11 (R) but we cannot say it's the same piece, just the bass line is the same.
These 18th century editions are the basis for the programme that Frédéric de Roos has compiled: it includes not only various sonatas and concerti but also the famous variations on La Folia and the Concerto latto per la notte di Natale, in which the timbre of the recorder accents the music's pastoral character. [...] the 12th sonata stands out from the others, it being the renowned La Folia, a series of variations on the bass that had already been popular for over a century. [...] We have also chosen (to) make a free interpretation of Walsh's arrangements of La Follia, judging that the respect for the strong emotions that we find in Corelli's work would have been much more important for our virtual player and for us than a strict respect for the arranger's notes.
Both 'La Follia' and the Corelli sonata were composed for violin, but the flute versions are derived from 18Ih century sources which show the popularity of these works among the flautists of the time. The sonata is one of a series of five works named in sources as works by Corelli, which however has not prevented many researchers from doubting their authenticity, as these works vary in style from other works by Corelli.
Originally, this theme was a Portugese dance, but during the course of the 17th century, on an Iberian peninsula, it was said to have originated from a certain melody - 'Les Folies d'Espagne' (the Spanish fools). It became very popular in many parts of Europe and was chosen by several composers as a basis for writing variations on a theme. The original sarabande or chaconne rhythm could even be combined with the specific technique of a recurrent bass part and also forms the basis for Corelli's 'La Folia' - although in the middle section a smooth rhythm is used for three variations.
Ahora a tocar ahora una de las pocas piezas que si esta solita: es una Folia del compositor italiano Arcangelo Corelli,
que vivio a fines del siglo XVII y principios del siglo XVIII. La Folia o mas bien como comunmente se conocian
las Folias, no se por que tenian nombre en plural.
Decian en una obra espanola de teatro del principio del siglo XVII, que las Folias es, son las aguelas de todos los Sones (lo ponian asi con "g": las aguelas de todos los Sones), porque eran el Son mas antiguo. Es un son que existe desde mediados, por lo menos desde mediados del siglo XVI, y que de alguna u otra manera se ha conservado vivo desde aquel entonces. La esencia de nuestro proyecto consiste en el mezclar estos sones muy antiguos que existen desde el siglo XVI con los actuales sones tradicionales de Mexico (como los sones huastecos, jarochos, planecos de Michoacan, con los arriben~os de por aqui de toda esta region) y encontrar las similitudes que sabemos que estan ahi. En esta ocasion... Bueno, el ano pasado, debo decir que tuvimos el gusto de estar en este mismo recinto con Jordi Savall, y el estaba muy sorprendido porque el traia una pieza italiana, y la empezo a tocar, la pieza barroca, y uno de nuestros companeros, Patricio Hidalgo inmediatamente empezo a tocar una pieza jarocha encima de ella. Entonces era como ensenarle una pieza tradicional mexicana a un musico barroco. Lo que hicimos ahora fue traer una pieza barroca y ensenar.. mostrarsela a un musico tradicional mexicano, a Ulises, que son unas folias para violin escritas por este compositor italiano, que sin embargo son un son, como cualquier otro, no son como una pieza barroca muy especial, son tan son como la Bamba o cualquier otro. Y de hecho, cuando lo estabamos tocando con el, les decia: estas figuras melodicas de aqui parecen huastecas, del violin. Y luego decia: estas no parecen huastecas, estas son huastecas: es una pieza huasteca. Entonces, decidimos dejarlo que el convirtiera estas folias barrocas que estan todas escritas: esta es una fotocopia del facsimil del original, pero que las tratara libremente como lo hace con la musica viva y que las convirtiera en una pieza jarocha, huasteca de hace 300 anos, de hoy. Yo creo que si la musica esta viva, funcionara, y aqui encontramos a la abuela de todos los sones viendo a sus tataranietos huastecos en el esplendido violin de Ulises.
Now we are going to play one of the few pieces that are not paired: it is a Folia by the Italian composer Arcangelo Corelli, who lived at the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th century. The folia, or as it was more commonly known Folias (I have no idea of why the name is used in plural)... A Spanish theatre work from the beginning of the 17th century said that the Folias were the grandmother of all "sones", because they are the oldest "son". It is a "son" that exists at least from the middle of the 16th century, and which has been kept alive since then. The essence of our project consists of mixing these very old "sones" from the 16th century with today's traditional Mexican "sones" (Huastec-, Jarocho-, Michoacan planeco- and also arribeño-sones from this region) and discover the similarities that are there. On this occasion... Well, last year, I have to say that we had the pleasure to be at this same venue along with Jordi Savall, and he was very surprised because he brought an Italian piece, and when he started to play it, one of our colleagues, Patricio Hidalgo, immediately started playing a Jarocho piece on top of it. It was like teaching a traditional piece to a baroque musician. What we did now, was to show a baroque piece and teach... show it to a Mexican traditional musician, Ulises, and these are the folias for violin written by this Italian composer (Corelli), that are however a "son" like any other "son", and not like a very special baroque piece, as they are just a son like the Bamba or any other son. And when we were playing them with him, I told them: these melodic figurations seem Huastec, in the violin. And then I said: these, not only appear to be Huastec, these are Huastec: it is a Huastec piece. Then, we decided to allow Ulises to transform these baroque folias which are completely written (this is a photocopy of the facsimile of the original), and treat them freely, the same way he does with live music, and transform them into a Jarocho piece, a Huastec piece from 300 years ago, as of today. I believe that if this music is alive, it will work, and here, the grandmother of all "sones" will be watching all her Huastec granchildren under the splendid violin of Ulises.
In the 'Follia' variations, a baroque guitar helps to bring out the Spanish roots of the theme.
Playing Corelli's 'La Folia'hundreds of times has never
filled us with boredom. Again and again it is a wonderful piece to play,
rendering endless possibilities. It is an ideal piece of music for members
of estabished ensembles to explore one another's horizons, to wait and
see how they will react to one another, how the musical impulses of
one musician are being understood and creativity worked out by another.
It is attractive because of the full measure of always impressing virtuosity
and of course because of the large range of changes, in spite of an
endless repetition in harmonic scheme. The recorder as well as the continuo
are fully recognized being equally important.
It is interesting to know, that the basso ostinato which 'The Follia' literally is based upon, has inspired numerous composers, amongst whom Rachmaninov. One variation from his 'Corelli-variations' (in major!) enabled us to create a wonderful moment of light in our interpretation'.
Follia: 1st version violino e violone; 2nd version violino e cimbalo, ornamentation improvised
Follia (more commonly spelled folia in Portugal, Spain and Italy) is the name given to a musical framework used for songs. dances and sets of variations during the Baroque period. There are two distinct phases in its history: the first, from the late 15th century in Portugal to the third quarter of the 17th century in Spain and Italy was strongly associated with the guitar, and with songs and dances accompanied by the guitar. It was usually fast, with the wildness of spirit suggested by the name. In 1671 Francesco Corbetta published a set of Folia variations in which all the second beats were dotted; this, some changes to the harmonic structure of the early folia and the emergence of a virtually fixed melody led rapidly to the later folia. Almost always in D minor, the later folia was generally slower and more dignified than its forerunner. The earliest version is a 1672 Air des Hautbois by Lully, and in this form it flourished especially in France and England. Variations by Vivaldi, Alessandro Sca the most famous music he wrote.
In 1700, A. Corelli published his op. V, 12 sonatas
for violin and bass, which immediately met with an immense success,
thanks in great part to the 'Follia' that included the work. As early
as 1702, the London editor John Walsh published a transcription of the
last 6 sonatas of the op. V - including the 'Follia' - for recorder
and bass, under the title: 'Six Solos for a Flute and Bass by Archangelo
Corelli being the second part of his fifth opera containing preludes
allmands corrants jiggs sarabands gavotts with the Spanish Folly. The
whole exactly Transpos'd and made fitt for a flute and a bass with the
aprobation of several eminent masters'.
This is the version that is always chosen by recorder players. If it is not quite as 'exactly Transpos'd' as he claims, Walsh's realization is nonetheless well adapted to the recorder, and this no doubt is the reason why - in addition to the interest of Corelli's composition - his transcription has known undisputed success until today
It is clear that Walsh intended to present a simplified transcription of the 'Follia' avoiding the low f sharp (the boring of double holes on the instrument being a rare occurance in the 18th century), as well as the high register, whenever possible. However, if certain 'octaviations' are indeed required by the compass of the recorder - more limited than that of the violin - others could have been avoideed in Walsh's version use of high notes. Also, Walsh deletes - in the recorder version - all double-stops written by Corelli for the violin. Yet these double notes are perfectly manageable on the recorder if the performer simulaneously plays the alto recorder with the left hand (the recorderstabilized by resting on the left knee), and the soprano recorder with the right hand: this process today employed in contemporary music, was practiced during the 18th century on the flageolet and double flute, and hails back at least to the double aulos of the Greeks ... Obviously, the double not performance of certain variations is left here to the taste of the personal player.
Duration: 2'21" direct link to YouTube
|Opening of Les Folies d'Espagne (1749)*|
| * In the original publication
of the sheet music the fingering is indicated
to emphasize that the piece was written as an exercise for pupils
In my 'La Folia' I continue an ongoing pursuit: to write
music about music. This is an idea that came to me from Mahler by way of
Henze. This work is not a standard set of variations on the Folia theme.
Here, the theme itself haunts the margins of the piece, not so much in an
integrated, nicely-tied-together sort of way, but rather such that this
ancient idea seems to be trying to force its way into the present, into
my present. This approach to composing has always made sense to me, since
what I do – write orchestral and chamber music – has always seemed to me
an odd, anachronistic thing, belonging more to the past than the present,
and as such, a little mad.
In 1982 Gregorio Paniagua produced an album called 'La Folia', a set of variations on the theme which seem to emphasize the insanity aspect: the orchestration includes viols, crumhorns, sitar, a klezmer band, and the sound of a car engine starting. It is a stunning, hilarious compilation. In his very impressionistic notes for the album, Paniagua made the following observation, which sums up perfectly my own feelings about 'La Folia', and about writing music in general: 'All the composers in the world who write their own Folia don't keep a close account of what they are doing. They mature patiently like the tree that does not haste his sap; They soak up everything and remain confident in the torments of spring, without anxiety that they might not know another spring. And spring comes and a quiet weariness overcomes them, even if they are patient, carefree and calm, as if all eternity lay before them. They can then love their Folia and their solitude; they endure the pain it causes them and succeed in investing the sound of their complaint with beauty.'
Duration: 1'32", 363 kB. (32kB/s, 32KHz)
I have long had a fascination with the original theme, after I studied the Corelli variations as a freshman violin major in undergrad years ago. As I recall, I had recently completed making an arrangement of the Salieri variations for violin & piano (which are published by Wolfhead Music) and decided to write a series of variations of my own. Some of these had been juggling around in my head for many years. The variations I wrote are in neo-classical style, thereby giving homage to the great works of Corelli and Salieri, but the variations are all original.The work was premiered by Ljubomir Velickovic (violin) and Dmitry Cogan (piano) in Sacrameto, California, US, in January 2010.
Fragment of the premiere (live performance) by the 2006 MacPhail Suzuki Guitar Quartet
I freely composed over the bass progression commonly used by previous composers, but aside from that, my piece is not modeled after any other composer's treatment of la folia. I've always felt that the progression was beautiful and moving, so when the time came for me to compose a set of guitar quartets, it seemed natural to turn my efforts to this traditional form. Structurally, my piece (a set of continuous variations) has a two-measure introduction and a brief coda, and some of the variations have elisions between the end of one section and the beginning of the next.
As you listen to my piece, I think you will find that, while remaining largely consonant, it employs a modern harmonic language.
|Duration: 1'33", 06 kB.
A transcription for midi of one of the 'variations'
Sequenced by the composer 1997, © David Denniston
This particular variation uses an oboe and several sounds which are approximately like a piano, so it works acceptably in midi format. I have tried several of the others but not with much success. Most of the variations use sounds which are nothing at all like the QuickTime instruments.
My version is an entirely electronic composition (so there is no printed score) and is more-or-less a theme and variations, except that the variations move progressively farther from the original tune, eventually reaching a sound-universe unimaginable to a 17th-century musician, and containing melodic and harmonic fragments only distantly derived from the original. The whole piece is about 15 minutes long. Eventually there will be a choreographed version. It has been heard on several concerts on the West Coast of the U.S. and will appear on my CD next year sometime.
This is extremely reminiscent of the Ponce set, but many shades easier. As it was explained to me by Duarte himself some years ago, the word "simple" was added to the title at the insistence of the editor for marketing reasons. Duarte denied any concept of the piece being a "homage to Ponce" in any way, but in complete truth there's no chance that anyone who has played this set and who has heard the Ponce cycle cannot help but draw the conclusion that Ponce was a strong subliminal influence here, and the composer's protestations to the contrary be damned. The Duarte set runs about 5 minutes in length and is really worthy of concert performance.
|Duration: 1'15", 02 kB.
Theme as indicated below in the sheet music and the first variation
|Theme of 'Simple Variations on Las Folias'||Columbia Music, 1964|
|First variation of 'Simple Variations on Las Folias'||Columbia Music, 1964|
Rachmaninov was on vacation in France in 1931 when he
wrote the only original piano work of his years in exile: the Variations
on a Theme of Corelli.
It is doubtful whether the seventeenth-century violinist Arcangelo Corelli really inspired Rachmaninov's variations. True, Rachmaninov used the same theme Corelli had in one of his violin sonatas. But Corelli was not its inventor: the simple repeating bass known as La Folia had served as material for generations of composers. Some scholars speculate that Rachmaninov came to know it from Liszt's Spanish Rhapsody, which was part of Rachmaninov's piano repertoire.
In any case, this ancient theme opened the springs of Rachmaninov's creativity again. The piano writing here shows a new economy of means and sparseness of texture, and the twenty variations are organized into a sonata-like scheme, with opening movement, scherzo, slow movement and finale - even a cadenza and coda. Rachmaninov had only sporadic success with the piece in his recitals, but it pointed the way to one of his greatest works, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for piano and orchestra, which followed three years later.
This is the world premiere recording of the orchestral arrangement by the Rumanian conductor Corneliu Dumbraveanu.
[...]. I wish I could be just as positive about Corneliu Dumbraveanu's arrangement of the Corelli Variations, however, this work doesn't strike me as quite so effective in recreating Rachmaninoff's orchestral medium. Indeed, it often sounds more Romanian than Russian, which is not surprising since Dumbraveanu is Romanian himself. Consider, for example, the Intermezzo or Variation 17. And I found myself at times conscious of the length of the piece, even though few of the individual variations last longer than one minute (Rachmaninoff himself occasionally left out a few of them when playing the piano score in concert). However, Dumbraveanu may be forgiven because of the beautiful oboe solo he has created in Variation 15, here played in melting fashion by the Detroit Symphony's first chair Don Baker. A luscious performance of Rachmaninoff's own arrangement of the well-loved Vocalise is appended to end the disc on a welcome note of repose.
These Variatons on La Folia are part of a group of about
twenty pieces which I call Style Exercises (Exercises de Style). At present
they have been published in various regroupings of which Five French Homages
(Cinq hommages français) and Like a Tango (Comme un Tango) by Éditions
Doberman-Yppan and Differences on Greensleeves (Différences sur Greensleeves)
by Éditions Van de Velde.
Concert pieces as well as exercises, they explore various past styles and forms in the light of the present-day guitar. Just like that of the interpreter, the task of the composer consists, among other things, in questioning the past. One way of evading those untimely yet dear influences is using a more contemporary language. Which is, in most of the cases, the occasion of transfiguring the original matter.
These exercises neither parody nor paraphrase, neither replace, nor copy the original: they just fill in a gap.
Actually, in the age of Ravel, Debussy or Ravel, in the times of Greensleeves or the Folia, the guitar waited in vain for a composition of its own, making use of everything within the present reach.
An equally important aim I have set myself is that of evading stylistic automatisms of the guitar in order to open up a more universal musical realm. These pieces could appear to be the fruits of the pleasure of visiting "abroad", meant to be imported into the far too enclosed field of the guitar. Emerged from imaginary or faraway memories, they are like the 'account of a journey', in space as well as in time, but departing from and returning to ours.
The Variations on the Folia rely on the regular scheme of the Folia, One does not have to choose between the sweet sentiment, or the gnashing folly evoked by the double meaning of the title and by the music. The theme has an accent on the second beat. Yet each variation contains its own dynamics, in accordance with its own style.
I have tried to give every variation its own distinguised character, colour and style. In the first variation the attention is drawn to the bassnote pattern, which takes the shape of a chromatic scale in the second variation. The third variation is almost like a march, starting free and easy but ending in remorseful bitterness. In variation 4 the admosphere is cleared by the elastic scope of the notes with much suppleness like a never ending phrase by Mahler, bringing in elements of hesitation and passion. Three bars in one breath In variation 5 the technique of a lyrical tremolo is introduced while the melody progresses in the bassline. Variation 6 was inspired by Rachmaninoff, who composed some monumental variations upon the Folia-theme in the early thirties. The tension and centre of gravity in variation 7 and 8 are created by the sustained and repeated B-note in the upper register. In variation 9 an harmonic ambiguity is shown, while in variation 10 the abundantly use of left hand 'pull-offs' (mordents) is responsible for the increasing tension. Variation 11 plays with accused and blocked rythms, which free themselves in Variation 12, alla flamenca.
The reprise of Variations 4, 5 and 6 brings the work to its fulfilment. In fact, these three variations are the only ones that do not follow the traditional pattern of the Folia: they are no more than a transfigured memory.
|Duration: 1'33", 03 kB.
Theme and first variation as indicated below and two more variations
|Theme and first variation
of Variations sur La Folie
|Reproduced with permission
of Arnaud Dumond
Joseba Berrocal wrote about this Folía:
This is one of the most well-known books of cello studies and there are a countless number of editions. In fact, near all cellists play them. You will find the original 1806 music in the later edition available at IMSLP. Even if the André edition translated and revised the first part of the method, he used the original Janet et Cotelle plates for the exercices (Plates Number 296)
I came to write it because I like the Folia theme so much,
and I thought I would like to have a version that I could play and that
went on, at a fairly fast speed, for several minutes. Since the only instrument
I play (and the only one I compose for) is the recorder, I made this five-part
version for the recorder consort of which I am a member, The Reluctant Consort.
After the statement of the theme in the plainest five-part version possible, eleven variations follow, the main interest moving from one voice to another. To conclude, two of the variations are repeated. I mostly omitted bar 16 so that the music would continue driving along relentlessly. That's the way I like La Folia to sound.
Although it has had a number of public performances, it has never been published or recorded. Anyone who would like more information can contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duration: 4'13", 27 kB.
I'm not sure what to do about midi orchestration. I think that, no matter what instruments you select, it won't really sound like a recorder quintet. However, selection of the correct octave may be important. On the score, the parts are in the correct relation to one another (with the 8 showing that the altos and tenor are an octave lower). However, a recorder consort really sounds an octave higher than written, so that what you hear, is actually an octave higher than what you read in the score.
Duration: 1'21", 1.2 MB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
|Theme of Variations on La Folía||© Eccles, reproduced with permission|
Duration: 1'26", 1353
kB. (128kbs, 44100 Hz)
Die neue Konzert- und Kongresshalle in der alten schwedischen Universitätsstadt Uppsala ist ein eigenwilliges Gebäude. Das im September 2007 eröffnete Kulturzentrum liegt mitten in der Stadt und lädt mit drei unterschiedlich großen Konzertsälen, mit Konferenzräumen und einer großen Ausstellungsflächen zu vielfältiger Nutzung ein. Der große Konzertsaal, aus dem dieses Euroradio-Konzert live übertragen wird, fasst etwa 1.150 Zuschauer und ist nach neuesten Erkenntnissen im Bereich der Akustik gebaut. Hier finden nicht nur klassische Konzerte statt, sondern er ist auch für Pop-. Jazz und Folkkonzerte geeignet. So erklingt heute skandinavische Folk- und Tanzmusik gespielt von sieben der bekanntesten schwedischen Musiker in diesem Genre. hr2-kultur überträgt das Konzert im Rahmen des Euroradio-Schwerpunkts „Klassik trifft Volksmusik“.
Text in French
Text in English
On vit sortir d'une grotte profonde
From a deep cave were seen to appear
La Tentation de Saint Antoine, a concert work for contralto and string quartet written in 1945 (and adapted for contralto, quartet and string orchestra in 1952), stands therefore rather apart from his main output in its genre, though not in its ironic tone. According to its title-page, the piece is 'based on airs and verses of the 18th century, so that the demons besetting the saint wear curiously charming masks out of ancient régime pastoral, and the apocalyptic uproar mentioned in the first song is rendered by the musical means of a classical cantata. There is room, though, for Egk's playful music personality to exert itself, rather in the manner of Stravinsky's in Pulcinella. The vocal lines seem to have been kept pretty much intact, if rhythmically altered, but the strings almost always used to provide homogeneous textures, are in a spikier harmonic world, and Egk evidently revelled in the inappropriateness of his chosen airs, which often have a nursery-rhyme simplicity, to the expression of spiritual crisis. In doing so, however, he was contributing to the strong tradition of comedy in the Saint Anthony story, a tradition which deals with the Last Things not as the dire threat Everyman felt himself to face, but as so much absurdity.
Duration: 3'05", 2900
kB. (128kbs, 44100 Hz)
| The complete Ma Follia, 15 pages in pdf-format, 1.1
© Victor Eijkhout 2006, used with permission
I had come across La Follia as the name of an early music ensemble in Austin,
TX, where I live. When I looked up the history of that name I started thinking
about writing my own variations. The direct reason for doing so was the monthly
competition on the kvraudio.com web site. Ma Follia, or rather the recording
of it, was my entry for October 2006. The limit on competition entries is 2
minutes, so every variation was really only the first half of the theme, with
the exception of the last variation which returns to the tonic.
Since then, I've extended it to about 3 minutes, by supplying the second half to some variations. Since I find simple repetition a bit boring, the second halves bring in new material. I do this by using double-choral effects between A1,A2,T1 and A3,A4,T2. In the first variation the second choir simply thickens up the harmony, but in the second they play polyrhythmically 4-over-3, and in the third variation there is a little hocket passage between the two choirs. After two half variations with soprano and alto solo parts, there is a full variation with a swinging tenor solo, over which in the second half the higher voices quote a jazz tune.
True to tradition, this set has a variation in the major key, but instead of simply converting the chords to major, I wrote a brief passages of somewhat wild variations. Ma Follia ends with a dense texture of very traditional harmonies, played by the full ensemble, with sopranino and gar klein joining in on the second half.
World Premiere performance by Ensemble Parthenia, October 22, 2011 at Picture Ray Studio in Manhattan
Variations on La Follia began, appropriately enough, as a kind of a joke.
I first heard Parthenia when they performed at my friend Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek’s wedding. I spent most of that lovely afternoon sitting as close as possible, listening to them play Lawes and Purcell and Jenkins, completely enthralled. Later, Jacqui suggested that I might want to write a piece for her to sing with Parthenia. I immediately agreed. I had worked with viols before, on the Voices of Light project (which Jacqui, a member of Anonymous 4, had sung countless times). I loved the sound of viols.
During the first part of 2010, I set several poems by an Irish poet (Jacqui hails from the Emerald Isle) but try as hard as I could, the music kept coming out as modern string quartet music, not viol music. Violins, viola, and cello seem related and similar to viols but are actually entirely different. What is idiomatic and simple for the violin is not necessarily so for the treble viola, for example, and the sound of the ensemble is very different: a consort of viols has a haunting, mysterious sound, an evocative wistfulness that is deeply appealing to me.
In short, I had misjudged how very unique viols were and so, I put aside some 30 minutes of music and undertook a deep immersion in viol technique and repertory. I listened to hours of recordings and studied dozens of scores, often note by note to understand the technique and fingerings.
One day, on a lark, I started to play around with La Follia, that ancient tune that attracted so many composers including Marais, Vivaldi, and CPE Bach. In my spare time, I’d write a variation or two.< They sounded like they’d be fun to play so I wrote to Lisa Terry and suggested she hear all the new music I’d been working on, the LaFo - as we called it - as well as a some short etudes. We spent a very long afternoon going through it all and we both laughingly agreed that it that it was high time
someone wrote a new set of “La Follias.”
And so, what began as a diversion became a major compositional focus for a while. All the same, my piece was never intended to be serious competition to the La Follia masterpieces of the Baroque and Renaissance. Rather, it’s a collection of “follies,” with (hopefully) at least a tiny bit of humor. For example, there’s a variation in which one of the bass viols begins some elaborate passagework, accompanied by the other three players. Then it gets a little too florid and deliberately goes on too long until it becomes obnoxious. In exasperation, the other players finally shut up the by-now nearly manically out of control bass viol.
William Faulkner wrote “the past is never dead, it's not even past.” While viols have a long tradition, and an awesomely beautiful repertory,there always will be more music to write. The challenges composers have today are the eternal problems, the same ones that Sainte-Colombe and Marais and Purcell and Jenkins and Lawes all grappled with: how to compose for these gorgeous, evocative instruments and how to honor and (hopefully) extend a great repertory with new music that aspires to speak, with some fluency and eloquence, the language of viols.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Lisa Terry and the rest of Parthenia for their enthusiasm and dedication to viol music. It has been a great pleasure to work with them and I hope to write much more music for these instruments.
Well, I had a German girlfriend (professional singer) who was crazy about baroque music and because she died very young (28 years old)
I decided to dedicate one of my compositions to her memory and picked for that the very baroque-like Folia theme.
I knew this theme well because I played several sets of variations
by C.P.E.Bach, another Bach son and A. Scarlatti myself and was familiar with versions of Pasquini, Vivaldi, Corelli and Rachmaninoff.
I checked at the internet and found your web-site. I noticed that there was not yet a set of variations made for Concert band. Then I got this commission from Larry Harper in Wisconsin and voila.....I waited till I finished the whole piece to inform you that a new set of variations was born. The composition is a theme with 8 variations plus a finale (a big fugue mixed in rondo form) and the entire lenght is 15 minutes.
Duration: 7'05", 8.6 MB. (128kbs, 44100Hz)
I had thought to submit my folia, but didn't think my work
really merited inclusion. Besides, there is always one more variation that
could be tacked on, so I fear it may never be "finished."
I would agree with the assessment that it's a very convential approach; I'm a very conventional person, and I have only a beginning/student level of composition competence, so it only stands to reason. I'm gratified to hear that you found it listenable, and I'll gladly submit whatever information you need to include it in the Folia museum.
I think of my folia as a continual work in progress, so fixing the date may be difficult. I wrote the first variations sometime in 2000, perhaps; at any rate, it was not long after I discovered the Folia Home Page for the first time. I had already heard of the folia in college, where I took one year of basic music theory, and I've always admired it: Simple and elegant, yet robust and flexible, with a certain ancient flavor. One day a friend heard me playing a simple variation on the church piano after services and asked me what I was playing. I couldn't remember the name of the theme, but I remembered that Corelli and Salieri both produced variations. In looking for the answer to my friend's question, I stumbled upon the Folia Home Page and I spent an evening reading it all. After reading the history of the folia and looking at some of the examples of the early and late folias, I decided that writing my own (modest) set of variations would be an interesting problem to tackle.
I generally write music not for the passion of the creative or artistic process, but as a sort of relaxing mind game.
Why write a folia? I write variations on the folia for the same reason that I write programs to automatically generate music from words and text: It's an interesting problem, and that's the sort of thing that makes me happy. The folia represents to me a sense of order. My approach to the folia is conventional, because I see it as a convention: It's so pervasive and flexible that it's like a musical institution, almost a fact of nature. It's simple, instantly recognizable, harmonious, and balanced, but can be employed in all sorts of novel ways. Because of this, the folia has a calming, reassuring effect on me -- as if it reminds me that there can be order to the universe after all, even when it doesn't seem like it. So whenever I feel particularly chaotic, I can always ease my troubled mind through the exercise of applying a new figuration or formula to the pattern folia to see what new orders and sub-orders are produced by the combination.
I hope that doesn't seem overly pretentious. In fact, it's quite simple: Some people have a brandy and a cigar to relax, or curl up with a good book, or sit down to add some more rigging to their scale model of a Spanish galleon. I write music. It's nice, clean hobby.
A live performance 2008 by the ensemble Voices of Music Capriccio Stravagante,
"Our version is a reconstruction that supplies what we consider to be a missing part in the harmony."
Duration: 4'18", 17 kB.
|First variation of Folías by Falconieri||Hudson, Richard Vol I, p. 34|
|Opening of the original score dated back to 1650|
Andrea Falconieri, an Italian lutenist from the court of Parma, Modena, then Naples, dedicated his Folia to a great lady at the Court of Spain. It is an excerpt from his collection 'il primo libro de canzione, Napoli, 1650' (First Book of Songs) One can feel the obsessive omnipresence of the same harmonic structure and rhythm upon which unfold a series of variations, some quick, some slow. A more languorous central passage 'muy despacio' introduces the final variations.
Falconiero often employed a descriptive style in them, as in the 'battle', the virtual character of which he allegorically located in the court of Satan, alongside the typical imitative techniques of instrumental chamber music of the first half of the seventeenth century, as in the canzona dedicated to the Serenissimo Don Juan, while in the folís dedicated to 'Doña Tarolilla de Carallenos' he applied the form with the variations that constitutes one of the most significant Iberian contributions to Baroque music.
Hesperion XXI plays Falconieri
Folías by l'Arpeggiata
Für die Variation des frühen 17.Jahrhunderts sind das Weiterführen der spanisch-portugiesisch-italianischen Variationsmodelle und die Verbindung mit der Monodie und dem neuen Generalbass-Stil charakteristisch. Aufgrund des neuen Stils werden älteren Tanzbassgerüstvariationen (Folia, Passamezzo) nun durch neue, jetzt aber ausgesprochene Ostinatobass-Variationen bereichert: Ciacona, Passacaglia.
Falconieri was prolific as a composer of vocal music, but he is best known for his instrumental works, which have come down to us in two collections, one of which was published, the other remaining in manuscript form. Most of his pieces, bearing titles such as canzona, sinfonia, capriccio or L'eroica, are in two, three or four sections. But two of his most famous works are much longer: he composed a passacaglia with no fewer than thirty-two variations, and a folia comprising sixteen.
|Theme of 'Variations Opus 51 on a folia theme'||© M. Farago, used with permission|
The sheet music of The Division Violin
Duration: 5'12", 09 kB.
|Theme of Faronell's Division on a Ground||by Hudson Vol I, p. 102|
Today, professional violinists play composed music for
the most part, unlike the 17th century when the ability to improvise
extensive figuration was as important to 'classically trained' musicians
as it is to jazz players today. Indeed, collections such as 'The Division
Violin' can be thought of as models for teaching improvisation as much
as sources of performance repertory.
Working within this context, David Douglas has varied the order and selection of variations in some cases and actually added his own to those found in Playford for two of the tunes, 'Paul's Steeple' and 'Faronell's Division'. The ground for this piece is well-known as a launching pad for divisions: it is the 'Folia' tune, familiar in settings by Corelli, Vivaldi, and others. Michel Farinel is one of the few non-English names we have in 'The Division Violin'; he was a french musician who studied in Rome and worked in Spain and France
This same combination of upper melody and harmonic bass circulated widely all over Europe and became a favourite object for variations, first in France itself, where it was employed by Lully and Marais, then in Germany, the Netherlands and England, where the publisher John Playford (1623-1687/88) included a set of Folia variations for the violin in his instrumental collection The Division Viol (London, 1685), under the title "Faronell's Division", which seems to have been traditionally associated with the Folia in that country. At the same time, the most commercially successful French and Italian dance treatises of the period, such as those by Feuillet (1700) and by Lambranzi (1716), spread the tune and the basic steps of this "Folie d'Espagne" through all the European market. With the development of the virtuosic repertoire for the violin at the turn of the century it was only natural that the Folia should be included in it.
This recording takes the listener on an imaginary promenade of around an hour or so through one of these gardens, calling in at various places and listening to different types of music along the way. [...] Finally as we make our way towards the gate again, ready to go home, we hear another set of variations for violin, harpsichord and cello. La Folia was one of the eighteenth century's most popular melodies and known to everyone. Another Playford arrangement gives a fine flow to the melody (reputedly sung first by a madman in an Italian asylum) and the violinist becomes more ambitious and daring until the final flourish (with just a hint of madness, perhaps?) brings our music and garden walk to a close.
A pupil of Carissimi in Rome, Michel Farinel (1649-1726) travelled widely outside his home country of France, paying visits also to Portugal and England (1675-1679). In 1679 he went as part of a group of performers to Madrid and became superintendent of music and ballets to the Spanish queen. On his return some nine years later he bought a position as violinist at the court of Louis XIV, only to retire a year later to his home town of Grenoble to become maitre de chapelle at the convent at Montfleury.
His personal reputation as a violinist stood high, but he survives in history as the arranger of Les Folies d'Espagne, known as Farinel's Ground. His set of variations on the folia has many similarities with Corelli's variations at the end of op.5, although Farinel's composition was printed by Playford some fifteen years earlier! Folias: "Originally a noisy dance accompanied by tambourines, and performed by men dressed as women, who behaved so wildly that they appeared to be out of their senses, whence the name Folia". .
A live performance 2008 by Le Poème Harmonique
If the Folia Lirica seems to be a throwback to earlier historic periods, my intention was clearly to tap the rich resources of a long-time tradition, and by doing so to search for ways to make it part of a viable personal expression. In short, the old gives rise to the new. The very opening is a broad defining statement of the principal idea combined with free flowing rhapsodic passages setting the mood of the Introduction. This is continued with a few more statements and passage work, after which the stage is set for the Exposition of the principal theme. This is then followed by a set of free variations and a development, making use of contrasting registers and moods. There is a moment of pause by means of a reflective interlude at the end of the development. After a restatement of the Exposition which contains additional development, the work ends with the theme in the bass register. This then is followed by a soft, steady ascent into the highest reaches of the instrument where the music disappears into the open.
With the succession to the Spanish throne being an ever-present political concern, Iberian dances were in vogue throughout Louis’ reign. Musicians and dancers alike composed or improvised variations on les Folies d’Espagne Feuillet’s and Pécour’s contributions were published in the recueils, as were Pécour’s choreographies for Campra’s entrées espagnoles.
I presume that it is obvious that I was attracted by this theme by my surname. My 'Folia' was originally composed to celebrate the Arraymusic ensemble's 25th anniversary and was originally scored for a septet of instruments. Since that time I revised the work for violin, bass clarinet and piano and incorporated in another work, 'Hommage to Henri Rousseau', where it appears as the third (of four) movements under the title 'Un soir de carnaval'. The duration of the piece (both versions are identical) is three minutes, twenty seconds. Arraymusic has announced their intention to record all 25 miniatures although the release date is still rather uncertain. However, the 'Rousseau' version of the piece was recorded recently by the Riverdale Ensemble.The oeuvre and biography of Daniel Charles Foley can be found at http://www.pathcom.com/~fandoley/
Duration: 3'20", 14 kB.
|Opening of 'La Folia'
for violin, bass clarinet and piano
|© D.C. Foley (SOCAN)
reproduced with permission
Daniel Charles Foley's La Folia had room for several clever new passes at an old theme, and even for a cameo by the ghost of Johann Strauss.
I thought you might like to know that I have recently completed Folly for solo piano, based on La Folia. It is an extremely virtuosic work which will have its first performance in Hobart, Tasmania, by Michael Kieran Harvey on 5th October 2007.
'Farinelli's Folly' is a sequel to Edmonton composer Malcolm Forsyth's popular brass quintet piece 'The Golyarde's Grounde,' and uses as its theme the renaissance melody "La Folia" (The Folly). This was a favourite of the celebrated and impossibly gifted castrato singer Farinelli (1705-1782), who used it as the basis for some increasingly complex and occasionally outrageous variations.Two short remarks to avoid misunderstandings: firstly it is not the Renaissance melody (early Folia) that is the subject of this music but the Baroque theme as used by Lully, Vivaldi and Corelli amongst others (later Folia).
This work must have been composed towards the end of 1825 and the beginning of 1826. This is evident from the fact that the second variation of this set, is included in the French and Spanish editions of Aguado's Escuela of 1826, but is not included in the first edition of the Escuela of 1825.
|Theme of Fossa's Folies d'Espagne||© Edition Orphée used with permission|
One of the grounds that took root in the seventeenth
century was known as 'Las Folias', a name reflecting the abandoned character
of the triple-time dance with which it was associated. It originated
in Portugal, passed to Spain, and then to Italy from whence it was 'exported'
by baroque guitarists to France. During these travels it became more
stately, and acquired the musical characteristics by which it is now
best known - that on which De Fossa's variations are based.
How the composer [De Fossa] of such an attractive, resourceful and idiomatic work as the Variations on 'Las Folias', his opus 12 (1829), could remain in obscurity, unmentioned in all major works of reference until his 'rediscovery' in 1981 by the American musicologist Matanya Ophee, remains a mystery.
The theme of Les Folies d'Espagne needs no introduction. As a dance form, and a particular chord sequence, it followed the evolution of the guitar from its earliest times. At the latter half of the 18th century, the theme was used in many guitar tutors as a vehicle for teaching right-hand arpeggios, appearing with a large number of variations, each in a different r.h. formula. The practice continued well into the 19th century and one can find it in the works of Baillon, B.C.D., Doisy, Carulli and many other. The variations on the theme by Sor and Giuliani are very well-known today as examples of concert level compositions, not specifically intended for didactical purposes. The present work of de Fossa's gives us a fresh insight into the technical possibilities of the guitar, far ahead of its time.
This work must have been composed towards the end of 1825 and the beginning of 1826. The theme of Les Follies d´Espagne needs no introduction. As a dance form, and a particular chord sequence, it followed the evolution of the guitar from its earliest times. The variations on the theme by Sor and Giuliani are very well-known today as examples of concert level compositions. The present work of de Fossa's gives us a fresh insight into the technical possibilities of the guitar, far ahead of its time.
[...] I wrote about this in 1981, this is the very reason I go into de Fossa research, and thus into guitar history research, and to see this being repeated as a Tarrega piece is just plain infuriating.Jean-Marc Zvellenreuther (translation into english by by Atez Eloiv) wrote for the slipcase:
the Folia theme is treated with arpeggios with 'campanellas', that is to say the use of open strings to imitate the sound of little bells, in an atmosphere that is very sort and intimate dear to the composer.
.”La Folia” is an old basic musical form, presumably of folkloristic origin, who found its way to the classical music during the 17th century. There is a fixed chord sequence, upon which you can create numerous melodies or improvisations – in fact you could call it the blues pattern of the baroque. It is therefore a bit of a challenge to compose a modern Folia in a musical language not entirely tonal. In ”Folia Folle” (a Foolish Folia …!) I have used partly the metric structure of the classical Folia, partly references to one of the best known Folia themes in the literature. Even the very first figure in the guitar hits the core notes of the Folia in a quick tempo. And in this way detached basic material and wreckage from the long and motley history of the Folia emerge occasionnally and disappear again.
Duration: 0'43",651 kB. (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
Duration: 4'00", 3.2 Mb. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
Domenico Gallo was a Venetian composer from the Italian late baroque and pre-galant period, very closely to the modern school of Galuppi (at Venice) and Pergolesi (at Naples) school. There is an important collection of sonatas by Gallo - for a long time attributed to Pergolesi - well-known as a decisive step on galant style consolidation.
Among the few details we know of Gallo's biography we know that there was an important family named Gallo on Naples although Domenico is born in Venice, where he worked as composer and violinist; we could immediately hear it in his virtuoso variations for the violins!
Dissonances (2nds) of the violins on the little 'intro' previous of the appearance of the main theme on ostinato and the walking quarters movement of the bass on the same intro reminds me powerfully of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater and other pieces of music of the middle XVIII century (walking quarters and 4ths progressions means lamento and we don't must forget ostinato in minor key has been always (from Monteverdi Lamento della Ninfa to Bachs Chaconne) a symbol for lamento, sadness, etc... (we have other examples of German and also Italian (French of course) music for the ostinato like lamento allusion).
It is curious Gallo chose g minor as key. Of course, there is little more dark affetto but, as a violinist, I think Gallo explored that in the key of g minor there are much more possibilities to do chords on some variations than in the usual d minor-setting. By the way, it is also obvious that Gallo knew Vivaldi's Follia, similarities on sonata 12 by Vivaldi and these follia are sometimes almost textual copies (variation 4).
Finally, the variation for the viola (close to the end) is amazing! I think they are not, a part of Geminiani concerto grosso, a variation for the viola solo!
We see in Gallo's Follia the confrontation between traditional forms regular treatment of the basso continuo, deep dialog between voices and Gallo's attending to ostinato; and Napolitain incipient ideas as the Stabat Mater like 'introduction' or some striking stravagant variations much more close to the Spanish Fandangos-like flavor of Scarlatti, Soler and Boccherini than to Vivaldi Corellian Sonata.
Duration: 0'53", 843 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
Duration: 5'38", 13 kB.
|Opening of Gallot's Folies d'Espagne for lute||by Hudson Vol I, p. 91|
An innovative aspect of Gallot's Folies d'Espagne is the implementation of idioms native tot the baroque guitar - this feature undoubtedly intends to bring out the 'Spanish' in the Folies and also bring the Frenche lute 'up to date' with the 'guitar royal' made invincible by Francesco Corbetta.
Final work of the 'Pièces de Luth consists of nine couplets of the famous theme of Follies d'Espagne. In Gallot's composition the register is frequently changed; the theme, the first three couplets and the superius (the high voice) is raised an octave. The variations, mostly affecting the superius, are mainly melodic (ornaments, fragments of descending scales, arpeggio's) and sometimes rhythmical (movements of quavers, introduction of syncopes and semiquavers). Gallot wrote in the vocabulary of the French musicians of his age, but especially the knowledge of Lully's music echoes in his work, as shown his grave, sometimes solemn writing constantly expressive melodic intervals (especially the diminished fourth) and his use of chromaticism. Gallot's works were still found in manuscripts of the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century throughout Europe.
Les Folies d'Espagne in A minor
The folia is a dance originating in Portugal. Linking different variations to the same melody, it is related to the chaconne and the passacaglia. Having its roots in the 15th century (Cancioneira do Palacio), without doubt, it gave us the most popular chaconne theme for all Western Music: Les Folies d'Espagne
In 1682, Robert de Visée also refused to deal with the hackneyed subject of the 'folies d'Espagne' (in England known as 'Farinelli's Ground'): 'There are so many going the rounds, every concert resounds with them, that I could but say the same thing as others in their folies'. Yet we know how popular the theme was, even up to Rachmaninov and beyond! The famous harmonic progression to the rhythm of a sarabande inspired Gallot to write a set of ten variations which, in their bariolages reminiscent of the theorbo, the luxuriance of their ornamentation, the battery in imitation of the guitar, and their contrasting registers seem to use all the lute's resources
I believe that the Folia-tune originated from Portugal (my home country) in the Middle Ages. My interpretation has a theme and 7 variations. In each variation i try to emphasize a different aspect of the flute technique. For instance variation 4 is made in multiphonics and variation 6 uses harmonics.
|The opening of Folia||© Joaquim Pedro Galvão, used with permission|
A live performance
by Chamber Orchestra Chaarts
The Concerto grosso in D minor is the twelfth in a set
of such works which Geminiani published in 1726 as arrangements of Corelli's
Opus 5 sonatas for violin and basso continuo. One of Geminiani's chief
contributions to the concerto grosso form was the inclusion of an independent
viola part in the continuo group, thus making it a four-part rather
than the customary three-part texture. This feature alone gives Geminiani's
concerti grossi an individuality both of artistic and historical importance;
but they are also important as examples of this composer's taste for
and ability at arranging an original idea into something more elaborate
and sometimes more complex than its model. [...]
Geminiani's arrangement of Corelli's Variations in D minor, "La Follia" (Op. 5, No. 12), retains his master's thematical material and harmonic structure whilst extending the imaginative character of the music both by means of richer textures and by employment of newly developed string technique. It has been said that the immense popularity of the 'variation' form in the seventeenth century reflected the limited understanding of tonality and modulation at that time. Necertheless, in the present instance, we have a fine example of the flexibility of the form and the way in which it lent itself to the development of diverse instrumental idioms. Apart from this, Geminiani and other pupils of Corelli such as Veracini, Locatelli, and Somis (the teacher of Leclair), inherited from their teacher a clarity of form and an expressive technique which had a long lasting and far reaching effect on the chamber music of many European countries. The arrival of Italian and German violinists in England, moreover, was largely responsible for bringing to the attention of English musicians the true potential of the violin
[...] I made a point of working on the so-called sonate da camera tht make up the second part of op. V. Their apparent simplicity does not prevent ech movement from being a perfect little tableau: several styles of composition, a variety of dances (sarabande, gigue courante, gavotte) alternating with contrapuntal movements, never a moment too long, a subtle texture in which the bass takes on a concertante role and abandons its continuo function. The da camera half of opus V concludes with that incredible Follia which has come down over centuries, a brave piece intended to show off the technical prowess of every virtuoso. And here I was discovering it anew, amazed to find I was being asked to perform a 'folly' restored to its initial simplicity and purity. Here, Corelli goes right to the heart of things: not a note too many, not a note too few.And Dottore Enrico wrote for the slipcase:
In selecting Corelli's op. V Geminiani must have taken account, not only of its being one of the most important works to emerge from the Roman school, but also of the fact that the final sonata in the set - the Follia - was one of the best-known compositions of the early eighteenth century, and in itself a guarantee of success. A success that - if Hawkins (John Hawkins, the music historian who is quoted in the slipcase for finishing work of Corelli by Geminiani) is to be believed - initially proved elusive, but which has finally been confirmed in the past few decades, thanks to the recent rediscovery of the works of Corelli's pupil and transcriber Geminiani
La Follia, both in its original version for violin and continuo (published in Rome in 1700) and in Geminiani's concerto version, is now among the most frequently performed of all instrumental works of the early eighteenth century. It consists of an adagio melody of the greatest simplicity and twenty-three extraordinary variations that provided a point of reference for violinists and composers alike throughout the eighteenth century and beyond.
This extraordinary youth orchestra performs with period instruments and for this concert has tripled its usual size, boasting 60 players. They are directed from the violin by Chiara Banchini, one of baroque music's most admired interpreters.
Here they perform a programme of music by contemporaries Corelli, Muffat, Geminiani and Handel who met in Rome in the late 1600s and early 1700s. Muffat's music is immediate and powerful, Corelli's coolly elegant, while Geminiani's La Follia, a reworking of Corelli's set of virtuoso variations, highlights his talent as one of the greatest violinists of his time.
Geminiani's arrangements of his teacher's violin sonatas are both sensitive and technically skilled. Throughout the set he retains Corelli's thematic material and basic harmonic structure while extending the imaginative character of the music by means of richer textures and the employment of newly developed string techniques. Here, as in all his subsequent concertos, we find a "concertino" group of quartet as opposed to trio texture, while the ripieno consists of violins in two parts, cello and bass. Corelli's formal clarity, however, and his simply expressive idiom are carefully preserved.
What, in fact, is far more original, is Geminiani's inclusion
of an independent viola part in the concertino group, as opposed to
the customary three-part texture of two violins and a cello. These were
not Geminiani's only compositions based on those of other composers
and, whilst it does, perhaps, seem curious that he spent so much energy
in adaptations of this kind, we can admire him both for knowing his
market and for the valuable impact he made on eighteenth-century English
The Op. 5 Concertos retain Corelli's thematic material and harmonic structure whilst extending the character of the music by means of richer textures and newly developed string technique. The great respect and understanding which Geminiani shows towards the basic material of his former teacher is, in a sense, a touching act of homage, for we are never allowed to forget that this is Corelli speaking through his pupil rather than the pupil improving upon his master.
Geminiani's orchestration of his teacher Corelli's famous Violin Sonata 'La Follia' deserves to be more widely known. The arrangement is both sensitive and technically accomplished. Corelli's thematic material and basic harmonic structure remain in place, but Geminiani extends the imaginative character of the music by means of richer textures and a more advanced string technique. The concerto falls into a single movement, consisting of the 'Follia' theme, introduced at the outset, followed by 25 variations on it. Geminiani assures essential textural contrasts by juxtaposing his smaller concertino group with that of the full band. In this warm tribute to his master, Geminiani offers us a piece full of brilliant gestures and string virtuosity, yet retaining the essence of a work which Corelli himself is said to have regarded highly.
The Purcell Quartet plays all variations by Francesco Geminiani
Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), an unsurpassed violin master, composed 12 concerti for strings, including the famous Christmas Concerto; 48 trio sonatas (opus 1 to 4); and 12 sonatas for violin and basso continuo (opus 5), published in 1700. The latter collection ends with a sonata in a single movement based on a ground-bass motif known as the folia (follia, or folie(s) d’Espagne). Variations on this ground-bass were written throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, and, later, not only by Franz Liszt (Rhapsodie espagnole) but also by Sergei Rachmaninoff (Variations on a theme by Corelli). The harmonic progression of the folia inspired Corelli to write some of the most brilliant violin music of his time. The sonata that ends his opus 5 is in a single movement, and comprises the theme followed by 23 variations in various tempi. Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762), one of the master’s students, transcribed this folia for string orchestra and, in 1726 and in 1729, refashioned all of Corelli’s opus 5 as concerti grossiArcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), an unsurpassed violin master, composed 12 concerti for strings, including the famous Christmas Concerto; 48 trio sonatas (opus 1 to 4); and 12 sonatas for violin and basso continuo (opus 5), published in 1700. The latter collection ends with a sonata in a single movement based on a ground-bass motif known as the folia (follia, or folie(s) d’Espagne). Variations on this ground-bass were written throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, and, later, not only by Franz Liszt (Rhapsodie espagnole) but also by Sergei Rachmaninoff (Variations on a theme by Corelli). The harmonic progression of the folia inspired Corelli to write some of the most brilliant violin music of his time. The sonata that ends his opus 5 is in a single movement, and comprises the theme followed by 23 variations in various tempi. Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762), one of the master’s students, transcribed this folia for string orchestra and, in 1726 and in 1729, refashioned all of Corelli’s opus 5 as concerti grossi
The finale, 'Folia' refers to the popular Spanish dance of that title (actually it seems of medieval Portuguese origin) and its associated tune 'Folies d'Espagne', used by Corelli in his 'La Folia' variations, by Liszt in his 'Rhapsodie Espagnole and by countless other composers besides. In portuguese 'Folia' means both a fool's dance and jollification. in Catalan it connotes madness, lunacy, in a non-literal, figurative sense. Gehrard has reffered to the lighter side of this title in the 'Follia' movement of his cantata 'l'alta naixença del rei en Jaume (Auvidis / Montaigne MO 782106). In the Concerto he evokes the darker associations in a finale of hectic, slippery moto perpetuo figuration, invaded ever and anon by severe quotations of 'La Folia' which Gerhard described as 'menacing' (and marked, in the score, 'minaccioso'). On one level these episodes are perhaps like the Brethen of the Deadly Sin in his opera 'The Duenna', exhorting us to repent, as we hurry heedless towards death. On another, they may represent the inescapability of the past. At all events, they suggest that a reckoning will eventually have to be paid for folly in Spain.
Gerhard's Piano Concerto, first performed by Noel Mewton-Wood at the 1951 Aldeburgh Festival, with the Festival Orchestra conducted by Norman Del Mar, was the first of Gerhard's works composed with serial techniques. Each movement is headed with a title that refers to Renaissance Spanish keyboard music. Tiento refers to the name used by sixteenth-century Spanish organists for toccata and the movement has a whirlwind energy in which the soloist barely pauses for breath. Diferencias is the Spanish equivalent of the English divisions or variations and Gerhard suggested that the "theme and diferencias here may be taken as seven different visions of the same face". Based on a Catalan religious song, the movement is among Gerhard's most powerful utterances, a dark lament for his country under the yoke of dictatorship into which the Dies irae is also woven. Folias was a fantasy-like form on ground bass line. It was associated with a popular seventeenthcentury melody which was widely used in keyboard and string music. Gerhard makes prominent use of the first three notes of the Folia tune in his finale which he described as having "a frenzied carnival-folly atmosphere" reminiscent of Goya's Burial of the Sardine.
Gerhard's use of the term 'Folia' for the last movement carries an association of meanings. It refers to a chord sequence with a corresponding melodic pattern which originated in Spain in the late Middle Ages. 'Folia' in Portuguese means a 'fools dance' but in Catalan it is a euphemism for the sexual climax. Gerhard first used this term ironically in the third movement of his cantata 'L'alta naixença del rei en jaume' (1932), which also refers to the 'Goig del roser'. Rather mysteriously, in his own programme note to the concerto, he speaks of the menancing references to the 'Folia', which, as the listener will recognize, is also the first three notes of 'God save the King'. For the republican exile, writing in the Festival of Britain year, these ponderous allusions within a fleeting lightfooted moto perpetuo appear deeply subversive. Such musical satire would have been impossible in his own country, still in the grip of fascism.
From the viewpoint of a composer, the variation that makes a direct use of the theme, with only some sort of ornamental treatment of either the melody or the harmony or both, is considered nowadays more a school exercise than a true creative work. The true variation is more elaborated, taking the theme as a background reference, and creating entirely new structures after it. In my "Variazioni sulla Follía", for instance, I have created completely new musical paths that have almost nothing to see with the themes, except that, from time to time, they pass through memories of the themes, and then they live them again....
Duration: 1'10", 02 kB.
|The opening of Variazioni sulla Follía||Reproduced by permission of Edizioni Musicali Bèrben|
Angelo Gilardino's work rides Follía through hallucination. It is only through hallucination that the world can be revealed in its true sense. Without giving up the traditional way of composing with its counterpoint, its interrupted and repeated themes, and its opposite dynamics, Gilardino works out Follía again, and dives into it, as an ancient alchemist, to develop diverse and unknown sounds. This process transforms Follía into something that does not belong to the author, into something that can be, at the same time, both alienated and alienator. It is impossible to accomplish completely such a kind of alchemistic process, and this is the reason why it ends up with the quotation of Sor, another great guitarist who has chosen to render and preserve the deepness and the torture of his thoughts by means of a specific sound.
Published in the public domain
9 pages in pdf-format with fingersetting of theme and
first variation, 700 kB
Duration: 4'02", 16 kB.
|Opening of Giuliani's Variazioni sul tema della Follia di Spagna|
The six 'Variations sur les Folies d'Espagne' op 45, published by Artaria in Vienna in 1814 represent the umpteenth attempt of a great musician on a theme which has been considered as a difficult field of competition since the Rennaissance. Once the theme has been announced, in the first variation Giuliani still lingers to elicit the cantability of the melody spreading it with a sort of echo effect between the upper tones and the bass. It is with the three subsequent variations that some of the most effective virtuoso solutions that the classical technique has developed are detected. In the fifth variation, 'un poco più adagio' is in major tonality, and has two functions: it is the arrival point for what precedes it, but above all it is the starting point for the sixth variation in a Spanish mood, that concludes the cycle and is a synthesis of style and technique united to a deep rhythmical dramaticity similar to 'flamenco'.
The theme of the 'Spanish follies' (actually a bass ostinato in minor mode with the progression I-V-I-VIIb-III-VIIb-I-V, sometimes slightly modified at the conclusion) is encountered in the instrumental repertory as early as the sixteenth century. The first version for guitar was written by Alonso Mudarra, in a Pavana that appeared in 1546. From that time on, variations on this theme were very common, as is evident from the uninterrupted stream of works by numerous composers up to the present day. The long list of guitar variations on this theme includes works by such composers as Corbetta, Carulli, Sor, Ponce and R. Malipiero.
The folies d'Espagne or folias was not so much a theme as a chord progression, probably of Iberian origin, and dating at least to the sixteenth century. It became a standard in the repertory of the Baroque guitarists and lutenists and found its way into the music of the masters such as Handel, Corelli, Vivaldi, and Boccherini. Guitarists from the seventeenth century onwards seem to have favoured the chord progression to teach arpeggio patterns and as the basis for improvisations, and so the "theme" became firmly rooted in guitar culture. While easy variations on the Folias were well known throughout Europe, Giuliani's Six Variations sur les Folies d'Espagne, Op. 45, (Vienna: Artaria, 1814) was perhaps the most ambitious and virtuosic elaboration for the guitar to that date (Fernando Sor's famous variations, Op. 15, date to the early 1820s).
Duration: 0'37", 02 kB, just the fragment
Duration: 0'42", 670 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
Duration: 1'02", 963 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
Duration: 0'54", 858 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
Duration: 1'47", 1682 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
Variations on "Folias de España" were
sketched on Pieve di Teco (Italy) and finished in Milan in the fall
of 1990. Written on commission from the "Accademia di Studi Superiori
L'Ottocento" (Italy), the work develops from the "Folias"
theme (slightly altered), through a series of variations which not only
expand the thematic material, but also the formal structure of the original.
From that standpoint, this work is a true synthesis of styles: while still retaining the inherent Renaissance theme, the variations progress in 19th-Century fashion, but using contemporary harmonic and rhythmic elements.
THEME AND VARIATIONS ON THE FOLIAS D'ESPANA, Op. 15 (for solo guitar)
A BRIEF HISTORICAL, SOCIAL, PHILOSOPHICAL AND RELIGIOUS VIEW OF THE FOLIA
ORIGIN OF MY THEME AND VARIATIONS ON THE FOLIA
The story of my variations on the Folia is rather bizarre.
For the last 18 years, I have periodically taught at the 'Accademia degli Studi Ottocento' (Academy for the Study of 19th-Century Music) which is based in Vigevano, Italy (outside of Milan), directed by the 19th-Century expert, Maestro Carlo Barone. During an Academy tour in 1990 (just prior to my winning First Prize at the International Toscanini Competition), most of the faculty was performing one or more of the many variation sets on the Folia theme (esp. those for guitar by 19th-Century guitarists / composers, Mauro Giuliani [Op. 45] and by Fernando Sor [Op. 15]).
In the midst of that tour, the entire academy was in residence at a monastery in Pieve de Teco, Italy - a beautiful site in the Ligurian mountains that once housed over 200 monks - which, in the last 500 years, has been reduced to 2 brothers.
In Pieve di Teco (when we weren't having parties with the 2 monks... and trust me, monks KNOW how to party...) I secretly composed my Folias Variations surrounded by glorious olive and almond groves, the scorpions that shared our toilet space and the single, ice-cold "shower" (a garden hose on a balcony) which was a true legacy to Musolini's Fascist regime.
I composed my Variations on Folias d'Espagna in 6 days at that monastery (the final version, written in Milan)
The next to last stop on the tour was a large concert at the famed church, Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome and, being somewhat of an anarchist, I wanted to do a surprise piece, decidedly NOT 19th-Century... As I had planned, at that concert I announced a change in my concert program and simply said I was going to play 'The Variations on Folias de Espana...'
Following the sighs of '...bloody hell, not again!' the audience and faculty were shocked, amused and ultimately thrilled to hear a different set of variations on the Folia that was FAR from the ubiquitous versions from the 19th-Century.
THE FOLIA AS A THEME FOR VARIATIONS - A COMPOSER'S VIEW
In my opinion, the Folia represents a near-perfect harmonic progression for writing variations in a quasi-conservative yet virtuostic format. The original theme is fairly simple, but because of the phrase structure, it is possible for a composer to explore harmonic and melodic variants as well as the rhythmic structure of the original ground.
This also brings up an interesting concept that I personally hold as a composer (echoed by the brilliant writer, Milan Kundera, in his novel, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting):
As a composer, I consider the normal compositional process to be one of EXPANSION. A composer takes a theme, expands it, pulls it and develops it into something new. However, composing variations is backwards.
In composing variations, we take a theme and go INSIDE. We go smaller and smaller and try to find a 'thin red thread' which will connect the different variations with the theme. 'Mois est plus!'
In short, traditional western composition addresses the Macrocosm: 'GO BIG!'
Writing variations is an eastern approach which demands that the composer examine the Microcosm: 'GO SMALL!'
For that very reason, writing variations, I believe, forces a composer (and performer) to examine the subjective interior. On a more eclectic level, it is a reflection of our religious Archetyptical Past (if the reader will excuse my gentle reference to Plato's brilliant dialogue, 'Ion'), rather than our Future as I'll discuss briefly in the following section.
VARIATIONS AS A REFLECTION OF RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT IN OUR GENETIC MEMORY
RELIGION IN THE MODERN 'WEST' - A VERTICAL PERCEPTION
In the view of most modern western and near eastern religions, individual believers have a more direct and personal access to God through, Jesus, Mohammed and a few other primary intermediary sources. Per that assumption, a relationship to God is 'one-on-one' which is 'vertical' (from the earth-bound believer to heaven). Especially in the west, this belief was further propagated by the European 'Age of Enlightenment' which assumed such a heightened sense of self.
In the west, the INDIVIDUAL became increasingly important per that personal link to God but it required that the individual take responsibility for initiation of that relationship. In effect, the western search for truth goes OUTWARDS (or 'upwards') from the single individual directly to God in the same way that western composers traditionally develop 'outwards' (and 'upwards' with regards to VERTICAL harmonic structure) from the thematic material. A brief look at the 19th-Century sonata-allegro form will confirm this attitude of expansion from a compositional standpoint.
In fact, from the beginning of the 20th-Century, the individual has become so ultra-important to a such a Narcissistic level, that even one single death is cause for war (consider Prince Rudolph's assassination at the hands of a Serbian dissident and the resultant World War I).
This attitudinal difference between the east and west could be further supported if we consider the shift of the Papacy from Constantinople (eastern) to Avignon (western) then finally to Rome (as a compromise between the two), but that is subject better left to theologians...
RELIGION IN THE ANCIENT EAST (Our original 'Roots') - A LINEAR PERCEPTION
In the view of most eastern religions, individual believers have an indirect and less personal access to God through Moses, Buddha and a few other primary intermediary sources.
If we consider earlier religious maxims, an attitude of individual spiritual exclusivity is foreign and in many cases, non-existent. In virtually all historical eastern religions (including many contemporary eastern religions) the individual is ostensibly irrelevant; an attitude which certainly helps explain the current trend of suicide bombings in the middle east.
The ultimate concern is for the 'whole' whether it be the country, region or the village community. It is a concern that goes from one individual to the next within the community in a linear fashion, then - and only then - to God.
The musical parallel, of course, is that in the West, one individually extends upwards to God (which implies an harmonic, vertical structure) while in the East, one extends outwards (which implies a linear structure).
Additionally, in nearly all eastern religions (which we MUST remember is the source of Christianity), one goes INWARD to discover 'truth'. This profound search and arrival has been called 'Satori, 'The Still Point,'Enlightenment,' 'Kether,' etc. while western goes OUTWARDS.
As I said above, as opposed to the western 'vertical' concept, eastern attitudes assume a search that is 'linear'. Additionally, in the east, the individual is infinitely less critical (per no direct access to God as in the west) and in that same manner, composers traditionally develop INWARDS when writing variations on a theme. *
For all these reasons, I sincerely consider writing variations a profound, eastern-oriented, subjective venture into the composer's soul... and even into our genetic / spiritual memory. It is a compositional medium that demands MUCH more self-awareness, a command of the thematic material and an approach that requires a compositional maturity of which few composers can boast.
This opinion is evidenced in the careers of many cherished western composers in their more mature works, in particular, Beethoven, who in his latter years was obsessively committed to working in the variation form.
I would strongly urge composers, as they mature, to seriously consider the theme and variation form as a profound medium to express their more serious concepts and the Folia, as a theme, is one of the most accessible and adaptable motives imaginable for experimenting with this severe journey to the soul.
While I know of no one else who has dared address this subject, in my opinion, I consider it hardly coincidence that historical dance (like music) has exhibited a similar regression with regards to the social interests of the 'communal' vs. the 'individual'.
When we look at primary sources of early dance manuals, the earliest (including manuscripts and incunabula through Arbeau [ca. 1588]) all give dance choreographies which are highly 'communal'. I.e. the entire village dances together, indiscriminate of age, social standing, etc.
This documented attitude, in my opinion, further verifies an historical concern with propagation (thus survival) of the village populace - supported by the fact that early dances were INFINITELY more seductive and erotic - than later historical dances. The goal (conscious or otherwise) of this eroticism, I believe, was to excite the senses (or at least the loins) to insure future generations of the local inhabitants.
I.e. 'Dance... get excited... go breed for the survival of the village'.
By the 17th-Century (particularly as documented in the dance manuals of the two leading Renaissance Dancing Masters, Caroso  and Negri ) dances were more oriented to smaller groups and exhibit less concern over small-scale ('village') communal survival via indiscriminate propagation.
This more conservative attitude is especially prominent in the Renaissance Italian courts where prodigious procreation was, in fact, a terrifying disadvantage which led to the murderous hobbies of the Borgia, et al. in order to 'thin out the competition' for noble title.
Following the Renaissance, we find a majority of dances through and beyond the Baroque focusing on couple or solo dances such as those choreographed by Rameau and, to take one fascinating historical 'step' (no dancing-pun intended) further to the modern disco / dance clubs of today, one simply 'dances' (with or without a partner) and we can only assume that the dancer is even aware that anyone else is on the dance floor!
This self-absorbed 'progress' in the history of dance, presents a strong parallel to musical and social situations and documents a logical progression (regression?) toward a total lack of consideration for anything but the individual.
This set of six variations was commissioned by the Newbury Spring Festival, and first performed by
Christopher Herrick in May 1984. The Portuguese dance on which the variations are based must rank
among the most popular subjects for variation treatment, second only perhaps to Paganini's famous
Caprice; and, like that tune, 'La Folia' derives its attraction to composers from its basic simplicity.
After a straightforward version of the theme and a re-inforcement of its distinctive chord sequence in the first variation, a twelve-note-row appears, firstly in the bass and, in the subsequent section, as the melody. After 'scherzo' and 'cantilena' movements, the note-row appears with a vengeance to confront the folia theme, bringing the work to a thunderous close.
Duration: 5'32" direct link to YouTube
This is a jazz improvisation upon the 'Folies d'Espagne' harmonic pattern.
Before, I have never recorded this theme but played it in different concerts.
Why I choose to do a jazz version? Because the method of improvising in the 17th century was basically the same as in most styles of jazz: variations upon a harmonic scheme. So the use of this theme as well as of some other 16th and 17th-century 'standards' (see my other recordings on Youtube) seems rather organic in jazz 'clothes' (see 'Greensleeves' by Coltrane). Of course this is no more 'baroque' music but modern music upon an old theme.
Duration: 3'32", 17 kB.
'L' amant jaloux has a sombre, impetuous character: there
is nothing comparable in its successor. L'amant jaloux is set in Spain,
the characters had to take a Romantic tint inspired by the customs, nocturnal
amours and the novels of that nation.
Character in nationality determined the French menuet for Florival in scene 10. More calculated still was the use of the 'Folia'-bass in 'Le mariage est une envie', though Grétry claimed that 'the reference was appreciated immediately'. Lopez is given a text in which he inveighs against mariage. To set this 'musical dictum' as he called it, the composer had recourse to a kind of a pun that depended on local colour: the formula known as 'Les folies d'Espagne'. This bass-line, known at the time everywhere for its fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Iberian associations, was associated by Grétry with Corelli, i.e. the violin sonata Op. 5 no. 12. But its use as the basis of song had occurred earlier in eighteenth-century Parisian opéra-comique.
The second thing I found (don't know if it can be of any interest) is that the piece of Grieg "In Rosenlund etc..", taken from Norway Melodies, sounds really close (but really a bit too close) to the Swedish song "Sinclairs Visan"; so probably is meant to be the same theme. On the other hand I wouldn't be surprised if a Swedish melody could be taken for a Norwegian melody, or vice versa...
A live performance during the Festival in Morelia
The piece ”A Devil Behind the Mask”, dedicated to Anders Borbye, was written for electric guitar, and exploits extensively this instruments ability to change character. At the same time, the concept of Anders' CD, collecting pieces that refer to the old ”La Folia” theme, is well suited to work with the tension in holding on to something while it is changing. In my piece the Folia-theme is the little devil that roams underneath, hiding in different pleasant disguises, that are only step by step revealed by Anders. At last we actually reach the core, and the theme appears to us in a way we could never have imagined this old theme would sound! When we find our own ”core” I hope it is in the same way crude, fascinating and frightening. But it probably isn't. If it is there.
Duration: 1'01", 951 kB. (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
Duration: 0'59", 02 kB.
|First of Doze diferencias de Folías||by Hudson Vol I, p. 118|
The Folia is a danza of Portuguese origin with an extensive history in Spain - there being references to it as far back as the fifteenth century. During the course of the seventeenth century the harmonic pattern known as the folías de España became widely used (the three that we include here follow that pattern). [...] From Guerau there are twelve diferencias on folías of a poised beauty, profuse with ornaments and with melodic ideas cleverly interwoven between all te voices.
The entire suite: I. Hachas (anonymous) II. Folias (Guerau)
III. El Villano (anonymous) IV. Matachin (Guerau)
The word folias is Portuguese in origin meaning mad or empty headed. References in relation to music and dancing go back as far as the fifteenth century. The term describes two forms; an early and later variant which became known under the French name 'La folia' or 'Folie d'Espagne', whose emphasis on the second beat is closely related to the French Sarabande. The folia was also sung as well as danced with an example of a text again given by Brinçeño. Guerau's twelve variations generally stick to the older form but with some rhythmic elements of the new. He gives no hint of the madness implied by the title and instead offers us a serene interplay among the parts, greatly enhanced by his preferred use of octave stringing.
Published in the public domain
Published in the IMSLP under restrictions
Duration: 0'59", 932 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
Among Swedish piano players there are few with such rich experience of improvisational playing as Bengt Hallberg. Although no person with normal general knowledge can have failed to hear him in some of the different constellations in which he has taken part during almost 40 years, it is not every day that he is giving a piano recital of his own, although of course only on his own special terms ....
Duration: 1'26", 1300 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
Las Folias was written and performed as part of the composition program at National Music Camp 2007, run
by the Australian Youth Orchestra. The program centred around writing Variations on a Theme, and the themes provided for the young composers
were taken from classical works that were also Variations on a Theme.
Las Folias is inspired by Geminiani’s Folia variations, in turn based on the variations by Corelli. In contrast to the Baroque ornamentation of these earlier works, Las Folias veers freely into the realms of neo-Classicism and neo-Romanticism. It is scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, piano, violin, viola, cello, and double bass.
Duration: 1'55", 9 kB.
It's funny how this theme and harmony gets into one's head; it got into mine and started to generate variations before I even knew its name.
I must have heard it somewhere because I asked a friend who knows about early music if she knew La Follia and she gave me some sheet music that
matched the tune in my head. The well-defined harmonic structure made it possible for me to write variations with only a very basic knowledge of harmony.
I was also inspired by Benjamin Britten's 'Noye's Fludde', which builds up rich musical textures from very simple elements so that everyone can join in.
A light-hearted and very amateur group of friends played my variations for descant recorder, flute, cello and piano at our Arts Festival in Derby (England) in May 2004. I have also arranged it for a slightly larger ensemble to play in August 2008, and it is intended to be adaptable for any smallish group.
On behalf of the Follia I can give you the following informations:
It is an arrangement of mine. I used some parts of the
"Folias de Espagna" for Salterio which is
described at your website (Manuscript Barcelona, 1764).
The Edition of Karl-Heinz Schickhaus was used as "basic source" for my arrangement
and I added about 10 "new" Variations of my own invention in the style of Sanz/Corelli
and named it La Follia.
It was arranged for my Ensemble LA VOLTA for two concertizing soprano-instruments: Baroque Mandolin ( 6-course mandoline) and Charango (sic!), a small guitar (played in some Lateinamerican countries) My tuning is the same G.Sanz demands in his Instructions. As instruments for the Basso Continuo I used a bass-cittern (Pandora) and a small cittern. The bass-part is executed by a mexican Guitarron, an acoustic 6 string "double-bass-guitar", tuned on octave lower than the normal guitar. So my arrangement demands 5 musicians.
Duration: 1'08", 1109 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
A live performance of La Volta including a poem by Heine
I recorded another Folia for baroque guitar solo for the Label Open Windows. I simply forgot that I recorded it for this production. This Folia is a result of my "improvising exercises" on the subject. Finally I wrote it down in tabulatur; but changed it constantly, when I performed it in concerts. I did'nt want to use my name as "composer", so I atributed it to the "famous" Anonymous. A slightly different version I recorded for the Leonarda-Label in New York, Title "La Musica" which is already listed on your website.
Duration: 1'10", 1126 kB. (128kB/s, 44100 Hz)
La Folia is an anonymous seventeenth-century piece for Spanish guitar from a private Italian manuscript.
Ballet suite 'Das Zauberschloss'
Unlike Sappho, this work was not published in any form and even less is known about it. There is no mention of a performance, although since it too was written for Viganò, it seems likely that it received at least one.
[...] A final, longer try still fails, but after a short return to the rustic style, the music changes to a slow, stately rendering of the then well-known tune 'La Follia'(or 'Folies d'espagnol') which, already centuries old and featuring in countless variation-sets during that time, is here subjected to Hummel's varying.
It appears first on strings alone, then on oboe accompanied by a countermelody on violins, with all the strings playingquite a tricky pizzicato. A bassoon joins the oboe and the section comes to a decisive end.
The music of La Follia is the soundtrack of my life.
We have used several different sources of inspiration for our "anonymous" follia: Nicholas Chedeville's Follia for two hurdy-gurdies, the anonymous Faronel's Ground, an anonymous Italian Follia, as well as inspirations from the usual gang: Corelli, Marais, Vivaldi, etc.
You are right in that the arrangement is ours: in fact, this recorded version of my wife Anicet and I on Hurdy-Gurdies and our son Julien, on violin, is an improvisation (based on the works mentioned) and as such, is a bit different whenever we play it together. In fact, I've been working hard since we made that recording and have in my Follia bag of tricks many other couplets, esp. from the Chedeville.
La Follia, also known as Les Follies d'Espagne and Faronel's Ground, is a proud and anguished melody that is played above a pulsing bass line, and is then followed by sets of variations, or couplets. More than three hundred composers have created their own interpretation of La Follia, a tradition that began four hundred years ago and continues to this day.
The last track is a Follia and gives the CD its name:
La Follia Itinerante: the itinerant madness, der Fahrende Wahnsinn. It is that moment in time and place when the soul catches a slow motion glimpse of itself traveling willy-nilly through the maelstrom of the great vortex. At once noble and base, it is coloured in a chromatic blue melancholy and dry red pathos. There too is the peace that comes with acceptance of one’s fate…and the anguished impossibility of not struggling against this same fate…la Follia Itinerante holds up a mirror that we may see our selves as we really are: beggars naked before God. And makes us laugh at our own pitiful and ludicrous condition. A true Follia is unique at each playing. It exists for a moment and then vanishes. This one was caught on a warm and sunny afternoon in a garden house on the southern slopes of the Schwarzwald. It takes as inspiration the Follias of Nicholas Chédeville, Corelli, Vivaldi, Marais and the many other composers, known and unknown, who have added
"Folías de España is an old and new work, full of vigour and virtuosity. Izarra uses the Marin Marais version of the Folia theme and confronts it with an introduction of her own creation. The variations are full of rhythmic displacements, shifting odd meters and harmonic tension based on the use of semitones and Venezuelan rhythms. This confrontation produces an inner tension between the highly virtuosic and expressive variations, embedding baroque elements reflecting the originsof the theme.
The texture of the work is generally monodic, with changes in register that create dynamics and contrasts.
After taking us through several recreations of the theme of the Folia it is only at the end we hear the original form of the theme by Marais, which imposes itself over the use of semitones, which characterizes the work from its introduction."
Particularly memorable is the relatively brief Luvina, in which Toro creates a particularly spooky sounscape...the delicate imagery of the former ('Desde una ventanta con Loros' for solo guitar) and the virtuosity of Folías de España provide ample rewards to those who allow them a second innings. A significant contemporary release.
Duration: 2'06", 493 kB.( 24kB/s, 11KHz)
Impressive set of Variations on a familiar theme...The work as a whole is a demanding schedule both technically and musically, but there is nothing here which can´t be made to work well. A demanding yet by no means unapproachable work by a time served composer with a natural feel for the guitar.
Duration: 6'17" direct link to YouTube
I wroteVariations sur "La Folia" only as a challenge and of course inspired by the great master Marin Marais Folies d'Espagne. On the video at YouTube I only played an excerpt of the 17 variations. The music is not yet publisshed and in fact I am looking for a publisher yet. I will record the omposition on the Fidelio label coming May. Although I was born in .Bordeaux, France, nowadays I live close to Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Let's mention that the March 8th, two days ago, there was a concert of contemporary music on the La Folia theme. Three musicians asked 11 composers to write on La Folia. The trio name "Les Folles Alliees" : Cléo Palacio-Quintin, hyper-flûte et électronique, Elin Söderström, viole de gambe Artiste invitée : Katelyn Clark, clavecin.
Elin Söderström who asked me to write a piece for solo gamba. The tiltle : "La Violia" The other composers are :
Martin Arnold ,Marie-Pierre Brasset, Stacey Brown, Eric Clark, Emily Doolittle, Grégoire Jeay, Chantale Laplante, Analía Llugdar, Tawnie Olson, Cléo Palacio-Quintin et Marie-Claire Saindon.
Detail of the program March 5, 2005
If I recall correctly, the marimba started fairly simply, and as the piece progressed
(it was quite long) slowly got more aggressive and the Sinfonia played less; the last couple of variations were
It's hard to judge the piece alone, though. The concert started and ended with ensemble pieces (Brandenburg 3, and a Vivaldi Concerto for 4 violins) by the Northern Sinfonia, a fairly small ensemble who were absolutely excellent -- played with real drama and feeling for the period, absolutely together, and with virtuoso skill and lots of enthusiasm. We enjoyed those immensely, and so the works in between -- concertos featuring Evelyn Glennie and/or cellist Julian Lloyd Webber -- seemed a bit flat by comparison.
And although Glennie is a superb player, I didn't feel that her instruments really suited any of the music. She played an ottavino concerto on vibraphone, which sustained far too much, and her marimba also took the part of a cello in a Vivaldi double cello concerto, which didn't really balance properly against either cello or strings. My other nit-pic was that both soloists seemed to play as if they were in romantic works -- a bit too much rubato and change of mood and dynamic for baroque works; and the Sinfonia had to play too quietly to give them the necessary space. An interesting experiment, and well worth hearing, but not as enjoyable as the Sinfonia alone.
Still, the Folia in particular was amazing to watch. She used four mallets at once (two in each hand), flourishing great chords and rolls and semiquaver runs in a very impressive manner. So in short, yes, it was worth hearing; a little odd, but very well played.
The marimba gives the tune a melancholic and 'native' quality.And Mrs Resida wrote about the same concert (March 5, 2005):
The strings were playing in a low register probably to meet the timbre of the marimba and
that is why the opening of the piece sounded a bit 'Unheimisch' and dramatical compared to the version of
Corelli for violin and b.c.
Fortunately there were some virtuoso soloparts for the marimba because the string section was too massive for a nice balance with the marimba. The full sound of the marimba simply drowned into all that bowing. Rather striking, because in the other pieces by Vivaldi the quality of the individual percussion instruments (marimba and vibes) stood out well.
La Folia (The Leaf, 2004) for marimba and strings, was commissioned by IMG Artists for, and premiered by, Dame Evelyn Glennie. It is based on a violin sonata by Arcangelo Corelli and is in one movement.
Detail of ticket March 5, 2005
Duration: 0'58", 933 kB. (128kB/s, 44100Hz)
Alex Stroud plays the entire piece in a live performance
La Folia Folio was commissioned by Canadian guitarist Harold Micay. He wanted a work that he could splash around in. The result is a set of variations based on the chord progression from the famous theme La Folia d'Espagna. That work has a rich and long history of attracting composers. There are sets of varations by A. Scarlatti, C.P.E. Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli, Liszt, Nielsen and Rachmaninoff, not to mention dozens of sets by guitar guys like Sanz, Corbetta, Sor and Giuliani. I have tried to stress the dance nature of the theme by using only the harmonic progression, omitting the melody altogether, though there is a weird paraphrase of it about halfway through. The work is a blast to play and I enjoy splashing in it as often as I can.David Tanenbaum played 'La Folia Folio' as part of his concert tour in the USA, Canada and Germany, January-April 1998 (source: Tom Welsh, New Albion Records)
Bryan Johanson is a native of Portland, Oregon, and is a Professor of Music and founder of the
guitar studies program at Portland State University. His catalogue of over eighty compositions reflects
a wide variety of interests that extends far beyond the guitar. He has written several substantial works
for solo guitar, and in recent years has focused a major portion of his energy on writing chamber music
for the guitar.
The emphasis on the harmonic progression is most similar to the folía settings by Corbetta and Sor, where the inherently chordal and rhythmic nature of the guitar is showcased. Although La Folia Folio is clearly in a modern idiom, the faster tempo and many special effects evoke the wildness of the earliest folías.
Bryan Johanson's ten-minute exploration of Las Folias... remains a worthy vehicle for Partington's considerable technical powers...
The vinyl version of the original performance
The Variations on the Spanish La Folia by Conrad De Jong rests within a tradition of extraordinary durability. The Portugese - Spanish Renaissance dance music pattern, La Folia, was said to reflect madness of an empty head, doubtless a reflection of the dance style. The version which emerged in late seventeenth century France was an isomatric harmonic progression accompanying a melody marked by sarabande-like dotted rhythm. De Jong's contribution to the form demands soloistic virtuosity from each instrument in variations three through seven. The theme in its traditional harmonic garb first appears in its entirety only within the second variation, where it is complemented by obligato figures. Supplementing the motivic material supplied by the theme is a derived motive heard in the brief introduction, which is a permutation of the initial three pitches of the original melody. In the eighth variation, the motive initiates a gradual reversion to the Folia melody which concludes the workRobert S. Howe wrote in an oboe review:
This quintet presents an introduction, 8 variations on La Folia, and a final statement of that theme. It is in an appropriately modern idiom (being completed in 1985) and requires good players, but is always approachable for both players and audience. Each member of the quintet takes a turn as soloist, but the real star of this piece is the bassoon; variation 6 has three extended bassoon cadenzas, presenting the bassoonist as a jazz soloist a la Coltrane. Scoring is effective and the horn, often a sticky point in woodwind quintet music, is very well handled, adding weight by intelligent use of its middle register without being overbearing. The parts are of moderate difficulty, the oboe never goes above F and the bassoon, above Bb. The Variations will be best suited for established quintets that wish to expand their repertoire to include an effective and somewhat modern work.
The two performances of improvisation based upon the Folia theme which are available at the web differ completely. Not a single note is written down and I use the theme as a vehicle for the instant improvisation
My inspiration to pick the Folia theme of all music is that originally it is considered as a musical framework consisting of bass, melody, harmony and rhythm suitable to improvise upon. I try to take this practice a step further and use the theme as inspiration of my improvisations. It comes and goes whenever it is convenient or spontanuously my mindset leads that way during a concert. The version on YouTube was created at the spot and got its shape without any planning. It is quite impossible to play it once more without writing down all the notes. The Folia improvisation I recorded for Improdisiac had a similar treatment. It was recorded in one take and it is a different approach and atmosphere.
Karst de Jong improvises on the Folia theme, Vila-seca Music Festival 2011
This composition in three parts [I:1. Entrée
2. Folie d'Espagne 3. Trionfo di Bacco 4. Il Dolzor 5. Novelle Fantastiche
6. Sarabande 7. Cogi 8. Turco con tamburino, II: 9. Scaramuzza...e Donna
10. Riguadon/Rigadon 11. Galiarda 12. Galiardo 13. Disegno Furia, Satyro,
Cicona 14. Fenochio 15. Scotin/Scapin 16. Rackett- und Hexentanz 17.
Statue & Figure, III: 18. Finale] is based on Gregorio Lambranzi's
treatise Neue und curieuse theatralische Tantz-Schul, first published
1716 in Nuremberg, with engravings by Johann Georg Puschner. The Venetian
dance-master presents about 70 ballet scenes or scenarios, with commentaries
supplemented by illustrations and the relevant melody. […]
One of the most amusing aspects of Lambranzi's book is the countless errors in his musical orthography.
[…] So what did I actually do with the single-line melody? To start with, I embedded them in a harmonic context that I had to invent. This in itself gave me a good opportunity to regard the notational mistakes in the original as characteristics component of a new musical environment. Since I have no interest in sentimentalising, historicist aesthetics, but mainly quite the opposite, namely fearless confrontations between present and past, I didn't attempt to complete or continue the melodies in a stylistically correct way. […] Sometimes these melodies appear incomplete, like fragmentary recollections, and not always as the beginning of the piece, but also towards the end, like a reconstruction. And polyphony was created from transpositions of the same melody. […]
detail of engraving from Lambranzi's 'Nueva e curiosa scuolade balli theatrali' (1716)
Thanks to Dell Hollingsworth, artistic director of La Follia Austin Baroque for using the image
The European 'viola d'amore' (violin) replaced the rebab during the reign of Mahmut II, just as the ground was being laid for the the Ottoman Tanzimat (reforms) movement. With its advantages that included a stronger sound than the rebab, its wide range, and ease of playing due to its well-developed technique, the violin came into widespread use in Turkish music. The 'westernization' movement imposed by the Tanzimat influenced Turkish music as well. One of the most visible aspects of this movement was the increased interest in western instruments. As Ottoman composers began learning towards compositions with broad ranges, the old instruments began to fall from favor. Instead of being improved technically and adapted to the times, they were abandoned.
Der lächerliche Prinz Jodelet (The ridiculous Prince Jodelet) dates from Keiser's later period; it was given its first performance at the Gänsemarkt in 1726. In it the composer followed the then frequent practice of pasticcio: only the ouverture and the plot-driven sections were newly composed, then interspersed with existing musical numbers
A live performance of the première 22 February 2004 in Hamburg
Folies d'Espagne by Wouter Kellerman and Ensemble
To conclude this tribute to the virtuosity of the violin, Anastasia Khitruk presents her own variations on Corelli's 'La Follia'. After introducing the theme in its original form, the young performer offers her vision in a series of virtuoso variations, inspired by the works of Paganini, as if this 'Folia' was being transmitted through the generations.
'La folia' and its variations suit me very well - tempo and rhythm of any given piece may vary
(along with its mood) but it's always fascinating.
The video was recorded just a few days ago. I'm crazy about small chordaphone instruments - charango and mandolin, in particular - and own a rather battered looking canary island timple.
la folia dodecanese (lipsos)
sun-cast shadows, scented sheets, lavender and us, touch of skin, the day begins, sounds of being joyus
la folia voltaire
the beautiful, hypnotic la folia chord progression - Dm/A7/Dm/C/F/C/Dm/A7/Dm (in this instance) played on mandolin. there are variants as well - equally beautiful - many of which have lyrics; pithy, poignant little poems expressing love, mostly. my particular favorite is "de los alamos vengo madre" - by juan vasquez (1500-1560)
la folia for mandolin
there's a video on youtube in which a minister in gov. palin's church blesses her with protection against witchcraft - absolutely beggars belief ... prompted me to write the following:
collusion with a priest
in protection from the witch
presupposes belief that they exist
if we all give the power to palin
will we get the horror of salem?
la folia witchcraft
A live performance of the Umass Viola Ensemble, Kathryn Lockwood
|The opening of La Folia Variations||© Castle Enterprises, used with permission|
We are presented with the joyful use of variation, and free improvisation by the musicians on the most popular themes of the day. This is a freedom which, for several centuries, European musicians seemed to forgot.
Kalevi is a gifted improvisateur. I asked him about this improvisation; he says it is a 'real' improvisation, i.e. he adjusts it to the occasion (instrument, space, mood). I heard him play this 'Improvisation on La Follia' here in Lahti this summer at the Sibelius Hall, where we have a new organ, and Kalevi did certainly show the possibilities of the organ's tone colours. This improvisation he has not recorded, nor has it been written on paper. Kalevi says he chose the Follia theme since it is well-known to the public, and of course it is great 'tune' too! Kalevi has been making quite a numer of recordings in the past few years, both early music and more modern repertory. Yet no Follia, yet...
Duration: 0'55", 875 kB.( 128kB/s, 44100Hz)
I wrote a suite of music for a poetry recital about Federico Garcia-Lorca in 1998.
The String Quintet suite "Folia-Habanera-Salsa-Blues" was inspired by Romancero Gitano and Poeta en Nueva York, and also a suite for cello and double bass : "Hommage à Federico Garcia-Lorca" inspired by differents landscape of Granada. The Folia theme is an evocation of the 18th century in Jerez de la Frontera (ciudad de los gitanos)
Klenes sets the popular 'Folia' theme in a contemporary context, and he uses his ensemble effectively to reproduce the infectious interlocking rhythmic ostinatos and jazz-rock influences of Salsa.
La Follia recorded live in Illipse in the city Illingen, Germany
My version is set in the usual form of variations, but with two twists. First, the theme itself is not presented until almost halfway through the piece and-even then-it is stated in several forms. Second, the variations start out quite long and gradually become shorter ... they continue to accelerate until they move so fast that each takes only a few beats to complete. The piece concludes with a festive series of variations based on a form of the folia which was popular in the late Renaissance.Scott Tennant wrote May 8, 1996 in the newsgroup 'rec.music.classical.guitar':
I'm a good friend of Ian Krouse. He told me that he had arranged, or 'recomposed' the Folias for orchestra. However, I don't think it's recorded yet. And, yes, it has been performed in Japan.
The Helios Guitar Quartet
The compositional style of Krouse's Folias is an eclectic circle. It is described by the composer as a kind of 'time travel', beginning with improvisatory, neo-minimalist murmurings reminiscent of flamenco style. The music develops backward in time, stylistically, to a statement of the theme in Baroque style, then back further to neo-Renaissance style, and finally comes full circle back to the present. One hears the theme emerging gradually untils its full statement at the gravitational center of the piece, designated by the composer 'Follia after Corelli' [at 8'25"]. Shortly thereafter [at 10'31"] the theme is stated in minor, this time quoting the 'Folias of Sanz'. As the variations draw to a close, the score indicates that the players should, each in turn, leave the stage, in an elaborate visual, as well as aural, diminuendo.
The Miscelanea Guitar Quartet
Duration: 1'10", 03 kB.
|Opening of Lampaanpolska||© Edition Fazer, Helsinki, 1916|
Lampaanpolska in an arrangement for orchestra by Jorma Panula
Lamb polska is based on a Portuguese melody called La folia (absurdity in Portuguese). The same melody has also been used by Arcangelo Corelli and Serge Rachmaninoff in their works. Kuula´s slightly organ-like variations for the piano were written in 1915, three years before his tragic death.
Toivo Kuula (1883-1918) was an important National Romantic composer who died tragically young. His piano work The Sheep's Polska is in fact an arrangement, though as such measured an original one. The tune appears in the notebook of a Finnish folk musician Samuel Ranta-Nikkola, dated 1809; it is a Finnish version of the Folia melody which had attained wide currency in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Text of the
first verse and refrain:
Shall I pretend to be grateful for your touch
Shall I be careful and not say too much
Shall I be good and allow you to wound me
Shall I believe that your head too could bless me
And the day it was young and the sand it was milde
And my happiness sung and the feeling was wilde
But you came with your darkness and closed me inside
See my spirit was clear till you left me be guile
the Follias were a mix from Corelli, Vivaldi, Bellinzani, Martin y Coll but also a lot of improvised and adapted variations.
Dance music, however, does not survive through choreographic sources alone, but often proves to be based on well-known songs. Prior to the recording, in a period of intensive cooperation between Dorothée Wortelboer, the musicologist Dirkjan Horringa and the Lacrimae Ensemble, the dances were analyzed, played and danced in order to achieve an optimal result.On the particular piece 'Improvisations on la Folia' is said at the same page:
We have no surviving 16th-century choreography for the Folia melody, which was widely known and popular for almost three centuries. Dancers may improvise, as musicians love to do, to the haunting little strain or simply to its bass.You do not have to be a musicologist or a great analyser of 16th Century dances to recognize instantly in 'improvisations on la Folia' the later Folia-theme which was introduced (ok, i make an exception for Falconieri) by Lully in 1672. The subtitle 'flowers of the 16th Century Italian Dance Music' is absolutely incorrect. I wonder what kind of dance is picked for this Baroque music pur sang and clearly intended for a listening audience the delicate way it is played. However the Folia theme (a nice blending of the Gallot and Ruiz de Ribayaz) sounds great on the Chitaronne.
Ther seventh variation differs from the other variations as a modern evolution from the other variations.
From the outset there were 12 variations and the last variation was called 'A la manière de Max Reger' which is left out of this registration and substituted
by the opening of the introducing sarabande by Händel.
Every variation can be tracked down to the name of a composer representing a specific style
Tema – Sir Händel
Prima Variazione – Signor Corelli
Seconda Variazione – Herr Pachelbel
l Terza Variazione – Der junge Bach
Quarta Variazione – Sweelincks Tanz
Quinta Variazione – Les tierces coulées de Couperin
Sesta Variazione – Kapellmeister Buxtehude
Settima Variazione – Ligoratti in 'durezze et ligature'
Ottava Variazione - Arpeggio del Signor Scarlatti
i Nona Variazione – Le baston de Lully
Decima Variazione – Duel Rameau-Rousseau
Undicesima Variazione – Fughetta finale
Tema – Haendel’s good-bye
There is no introduction, just a page with 'Performance Directions' ('Spielanweisungen') that quickly explains what those little encircled numbers mean (all different techniques that are not completely standard for recorder players - at least those like myself who are not too familiar with contemporary music. They include things like overblowing, singing while playing, chords, vibratos produced by finger or tongue movement and flutter-tonguing).
The sheet music
Duration: 7'42", 56 kB (incl. the Jota aragonesa)
Poetry and pyrotechnics prove compatible bedfellows in Arrau’s performance of the Rhapsodie espagnole. The recording captures the pianist’s multi–dimensional timbre with remarkable fidelity for the period. Small cuts were necessary to prevent the work from spilling over to three sides.
Rhapsodie Espagnole (Folies d'Espagne et jota aragonesa, c.1863) Appropriated from Gilels, an adrenalin-racing Berman warhorse - from the early fifties to his US debut in Cleveland, 14 January 1976.
Liszt was both the first and the greatest virtuoso pianist to tour (in 1844-45) the Spanish peninsula. One work for piano that came from this period was the
Grosse Konzertfantasie uber Spanische Weisen of 1845. Couriously enough, this work was never printed during Liszt's lifetime. This work and the
Rhapsodie espagnole (Spanish Rhapsody) shared common thematic material but the Spanish Rhapsody was not composed until 1863 in Rome and
then published in 1867. Certainly the Iberian tour made impressions on Liszt although he stated in an undated letter to Felix von Lichnowsky written about September 1,
1845 that he never once heard the folies d'Espagne during the whole time he was there. See Bayreuther Blatter deutsche Zeitschrift im Geiste Richard Wagner,
XXX/1-3 (1907), 35: "As you know, (folies d'Espagne) is the title of a song perfectly familiar abroad, but one that I never heard while in Spain."
Nevertheless, the Spanish experience must have had some influence on the Spanish Rhapsody that consists of a set of free variations on two Spanish themes - -
La Folia and the Jota Aragonesa.
Opening with one of Liszt's finest cadenzas, the first part is a kind of slow passacaglia on La Folia. The second part features the Jota Aragonesa - - a brilliant contrast. The Jota is a waltz?like tune that was brought to Aragon in the 12th century by a Moor from Valencia. Accompanied by guitars, castanets, and triangles, it has remained one of the most popular dances of Northern Spain. The lyrical central section of the Jota is transformed to extraordinary effect in the final section. The separation of the stately Folies d'Espagne from the capering Jota makes the form of the Spanish Rhapsody very comprehensible even at first hearing.
The Spanish Rhapsody was composed in Rome in 1867 and recalls not only Spain's vitality and aplomb but also Liszt's glance or glitter period. So dramatically terminated twenty years earlier. The Rhapsody is a set of very free variations on the traditional Spanish melodies La Folia and the Jota Aragonesa. These are extensiveley ornamented and are framed by massive introductory flourishes and a no less grandiose conclusion
The Spanish Rhapsody has become one of Liszt's best-known compositions,
although it took some while to establish itself in the repertoire. Liszt told Lina
Ramann that he had written the piece in recollection of his Spanish tour whilst in
Rome in about 1863. The work was published in 1867 - subtitled Folies d'Espagne et
Jota aragonesa. Later it was often found published alongside the first fifteen
Hungarian Rhapsodies, which might have helped its popularity but contributes nothing
towards understanding it. The work is a great deal less rhapsodic than its Hungarian
cousins, and needs a certain elegant detachment in performance. Its nature is rather
staid and noble - even the coda is marked 'non troppo allegro' - and the opening
flourishes, however dramatic, recall the sound-world of the recently-composed Legende:
St. François d'Assise - La predication aux oiseaux.
Then the ensuing variations on La Folia form a passacaglia in C sharp minor. The last variation slips gently into D major for the delicate presentation of the jota, mostly in the upper register of the piano. One further theme, also heard as part of the jota in the Grand Fantasy provides the opportunity for a further change of key, and F major, A flat major, E major and E flat major all vie for attention before the dominant of D major finally established for a grand reprise of the jota, finally lead to the recall of La Folia, now in D major, for the conclusion.
The Spanish Rhapsody was written in 1863, based on a fantasy on Spanish Airs written by Liszt in 1845 for the occasion of his tour in Spain at the time. Liszt subtitled the Rhapsody 'Folies d'Espagna and Jota Aragonese'. The first part is a kind of Passacaglia on La Folia, familiar from Corelli and elsewhere while the brillant second half contains some of the same themes as his earlier 'Fantasy on Spanish Airs'.
The cosmopolitan vituoso that was Liszt spent his first period of apprenticeship in Vienna, appearing in public in the presence of Beethoven, among others. He went on to take an interest in folk music and folk dances from the whole of Europe, and these he used in many of his own compositions. Among these works are not only his well-known series of Hungarian Dances but also the Rhapsodie espagnole that he wrote in 1858. Here Liszt uses two very different traditional dances, a gravely solemn folia of Portuguese origins that is rhythmically related to a sarabande and a serenely animated jota. The result is a substantial piece, beginning with a broad cadenza, after which the two dances are introduced in turn. These two dances are then brought closer together by means of numerous variants and derivative motifs. In general, the work sets great store by virtuoso monumentality, a supreme example of salon music written for the piano.
When Llobet does dazzle us with the Tárrega School's arsenal of idiomatic guitar effects (tremelo, arpeggios, harmonics, left hand alone), he does it with style and elegance, as in 'Variaciones sobre un tema de Sor'. Here Llobet expands upon an old Folia melody, which he has taken from Sor's 'Folies d'Espagne', opus 15.
A favourite for centuries among European composers, the ancient theme of the folia inspired a number of works, including Fernando Sor's Variations Op. 15. Borrowing from this theme and the first two variations, Llobet adds eight more variations and a romantic 'Intermezzo' that display an ingenuity in modern harmonic technique with devices exploiting several technical aspects of the guitar, including left-hand only variation, harmonics and quick slurs.
The variations on a theme by Sor are a homage to the celebrated romantic guitarist Fernando Sor from who Llobet takes the beautiful Folia theme and two new variations, of which he adds eight new ones interrupted by an intermezzo with almost Schumann-like harmonies. This perfectly balanced work is characterized by it's virtuoso style and imagination while keeping completely in the style of it's time.