um Wonnemonat Mai there are already countless songs in the Renaissance. Love poems and joyful texts with a seasonal reference, such as the famous Im Mayen hört man die Hahnen krayen, are also set to music by Orlando di Lasso. In the program, these pieces are performed by a mixed vocal quartet that accompanies itself on instruments, sometimes adding elaborate vocal embellishments to the sung lines. The special sound of the lute duo, already heard in the September 2020 concert, makes a comeback with younger repertoire from the later decades of the 16th century. But also interested choir singers are invited to prepare music together with the vocal quartet and thus be actively involved in the concert. You can get to know Lasso’s famous ensemble music from a new perspective using the original notation.
Ivo Haun – voice, lute; direction | Jessica Jans – voice | Giovanna Baviera – voice, viola da gamba | Rui Stähelin – voice, lute | Elizabeth Rumsey – production
From “In Mayen” – Lasso to sing along 29.05.2022
Barfüsserkirche, Historical Museum Basel
Concert clip with project choir from concert “Im Mayen”, May 2022
Susana D’orlando – Diminutions by Francesco Rognoni (c1570-c1626)
From “In Mayen” – Lasso to sing along May 2022
Jessica Jans – soprano and voice coachThomas Christ (TC): Dear Jessica, of course I’m pleased to interview a well-known Basel woman in our interview series, to my knowledge only for the second time – what language do you speak in the music scene in Basel? Does that make you feel like a foreigner or part of a world music family?Jessica Jans (JJ): The joy is all mine, dear Thomas!In any case, I feel part of a world music family. There is a great diversity of languages – and that is exactly what I appreciate. Mostly everyone tries to find a common level, and so many colors of the different languages and countries of origin mix. In the end, the music unites all participants without words. In fact, it happens more often that I am the exotic one in ensembles and projects as a Basel native.
TC: Am I right in thinking that you and your sisters were born into music? When was it clear to you that your life would be almost unimaginable without singing?JJ: My parents taught us a lot of music in a very natural way, without ever forcing us. That seems to have made a big difference, because my sisters and I have decided on a career path with music. However, we still “tried out” alternatives first. Maybe that was important for us to make the decision for the music freely and from our own pieces. For me it was and is clear that my life will always contain a lot of singing, but the form can change constantly. I really realized that I wanted to make singing my profession one year after graduating from high school and I don’t regret the decision for a second.TC: You have made a name for yourself especially in your performances with renowned baroque ensembles. As a singer, how would you describe the main differences between Baroque vocal music and that of the Renaissance?JJ: For me, Baroque vocal music is often more extroverted, more splendid, and yet also more austere than Renaissance vocal music. There are many Renaissance secular songs that are cheeky, witty, and obviously intended for a knowledgeable and educated audience. But equally, there is vocal baroque music that can be very intimate and free. The strong reference to rhetoric and the connection to language as the basis for music are essential features in both genres, but I usually find them even closer together in Renaissance vocal music.TC: Primarily young performers of early music show a great interest in so-called crossover projects, i.e. collaborations or improvisations with jazz musicians or experiments with formations from folklore. What do you think about it?JJ: I find collaborations of this kind very exciting and meaningful. I think it is very valuable to be open and not to dogmatically follow one direction, but to mutually benefit from each other and to be inspired again and again.TC: Finally, I’d like to ask you my crucial question about the development of early music. Baroque music has left its insider niche for at least 30 years and enjoys a large presence both on the radio and in opera. Does the great treasure of Renaissance music have a similar chance or is it limited by its intimate touch?JJ: Certainly the effect and affect of Renaissance music are different from those of Baroque music. So they will probably never achieve the same presence on the same stages. But that is not necessary. The ReRen concerts show very nicely that Renaissance music can indeed already look out of the door of its niche. The great success of the new series in Basel gives reason to hope for a “rebirth” of this great music in the normal concert scene.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve always found songs more fascinating than church music (since I’m not a believer), but it seems to me that Lassus is the classic case of a composer whose secular output marks him out as an extraordinary genius with an incomparable gift for invention. He wrote Italian songs that are more Italian than those of the Italians: just think of the Villanelle. He wrote French songs that seem to me to be better and more idiomatic than those of any of his French contemporaries, or even than any of the French composers of the century, except perhaps Janequin. He wrote German songs that are surpassed in richness of ideas only by Senfl; and here, too, it is not only the language but the entire musical material of the German song repertoire that is simply more exciting and varied in him than in his contemporaries.
Just imagine what music history would look like if he had written some songs in English. It’s a bit like Mozart, who had already written operas to librettos in German, Italian and Latin by the age of twelve. But it’s not just that Lassus has done all these things wonderfully, that he’s expanded the spectrum of ideas in all these languages, but also that he’s composed so many songs in all these genres. In the scant hour we have, we can do no more than scratch the surface of this repertoire; but we can be sure of an hour of fantastic and inventive music filled to the brim. Of course, if you have the time to sing along with some of the pieces, it’s worth more than twice as much. I’m in.
(Translation: Marc Lewon)
Program booklet May 20221. Im Mayen hört man die Hanen kreenAus: “Newe Teutsche Liedlein mit fünff stimmen”, Munich: Adam Berg, 1569, fol. 11rChoir, vocal quartet, viola da gamba2. Wol kumpt der MayFrom: “Neue teutsche Lieder, geistlich und weltlich mit 4 Stimmen”, Munich: Adam Berg 1583, No. 12Lute3. Soyons joieux sur la plaisant’ verdureFrom: “Les Meslanges d’Orlande de Lassus”, Paris: Adrian le Roy & Robert Ballard, 1576, fol. 8vTwovoices, lute, viola da gamba4. Las! voulez vous qu’une personne chanteFrom: “Newe Teutsche Liedlein mit fünff stimmen”, fol. 3r-4vTwovoices, lute, viola da gamba5. Vrai Dieu, disoit une filletteFrom: “Mellange d’Orlande de Lassus”, Paris: Adrian le Roy & Robert Ballard, 1570, fol. 14rTwovoices, lute, viola da gamba6. Susana D’orlando – Diminutions by Francesco Rognoni (c1570-c1626): Modo Facile di Passeggiar per la Viola Bastarda ò Altro Instromento, from: “Selva di varii pasaggi parte seconda,” Milan: Filippo Lomazzo, 1620, pp. 63-65 and “Les Meslanges d’Orlande de Lassus,” fol. 39vGambe, two lutes7. Susanne un jour – Cantus diminutions by Giovanni Bassano(c1561-1617) From: “Motetti, madrigali et canzone francese di diversi eccellenti autori”, Venice: Giacomo Vincenti, 1591Soprano, two lutes, viola da gamba8. Ein meydlein zu dem brunnen gingEinmeydlein – Das Meydlein tregt Pantoffel anFrom: “Teutsche Lieder mit fünff Stimmen”, Munich: Adam Berg, 1573, No. 11Voice, Lute9. Ich waiß mir ein meidlein hübsch und feinAus: “Neue teutsche Lieder, geistlich und weltlich mit 4 stimmen”, Nr. 8Stimme, Laute10. Ola, o che bon ecchoAus: “Libro de villanelle, moresche et altre canzoni”, Anvers: Pietro Phalesio & Giovanni Bellero, 1582, fol. 23v-24rChoirand vocal quartet11. Sto core mioFrom: “Le quatoirsiesme livre a 4 parties”, Anvers: Tilman Susato,1555, fol. 12rVoice, viola da gamba12. O occhi manza miaFrom: “Libro de villanelle, moresche et altre canzoni”, fol. 11rTwolutes13. Io ti voria contarFrom: “Libro de villanelle, moresche et altre canzoni”, fol. 6vFourvoices14. Lucia, celuFrom: “Libro de villanelle, moresche et altre canzoni”, fol. 9v-10vTwolutes15. Tutto lo diAus: “Libro de villanelle, moresche et altre canzoni,” fol. 3vFourvoices16. For good reasonFrom: “Sex Cantiones latinae quatuor, adiuncto Dialogo octo vocum. Six Teutsche Lieder mit vier, sampt einen Dialogo mit 8. voices. Six Chansons françoises nouvelles a quatre voix, avec un Dialogue a huict. Sei Madrigali nuovi a quatro, con un Dialogo a otto voci.”, Munich: Adam Berg, 1573, no. 9Loud17. La nuict froide et sombreFrom: “Les Meslanges d’Orlande de Lassus”, fol. 11v, Diminutions by Ivo Haun after Giovanni Battista Bovicelli, 1594voice, lute18. Toutes les nuitzFrom: “Les Meslanges d’Orlande de Lassus”, fol. 54vTwovoices, lute19. Matona mia caraFrom: “Libro de villanelle, moresche et altre canzoni”, fol. 8v-9rChoirand vocal quartet
Historical Museum Basel
Historical Museum Basel
Historical Museum Basel
Schmiedenhof; Rümelinsplatz, Basel
St. Martin's Church
Historical Museum Basel
Barfüsserkirche Historical Museum Basel