Chantez gayement

From Geneva to Basel
Sun 31.10.21

Barfüsserkirche
Historical Museum Basel

"Chantez gayement" - From Geneva to Basel

P

arodie, contrafacture, imitatio, transformation – in the Renaissance, originality was not considered an absolute quality of an artist, but rather an attempt to imitate and reuse models left by previous generations. In this spirit, ReRenaissance presents in October a selection of psalms from the Geneva Psalter that circulate from one composer to another, from one poet to the next – to the point where the singers themselves help shape the early music.

Jean-Christophe Groffe – voice; direction | Doron Schleifer, David Munderloh, Matthieu Romanens – voice | Olivier Wyrwas – table organ | Direction team ReRenaissance: Tabea Schwartz | Workshop choir ReRenaissance | The audience

Watercolored and washed pen and ink drawing; Inv. 1886.8, part 2, fol. 27

Interview

Jean-Christophe Groffe – singer and choir director

Thomas Christ (TC): How did you come to play the guitar and how does one gradually develop into a baroque singer while studying musicology?

Jean-Christophe Groffe (JCG): This is due to some coincidences…. When I was a kid, we lived in the country, and there was a guitar teacher nearby. This instrument accompanied me from my youth until I studied musicology.

During my education I also studied choral conducting. We sang a lot for each other, sort of as a “guinea pig choir.” I soon realized that singing was a central part of my life. I then studied singing in Paris… and later in Basel!

TC: Could you have imagined a career as an opera singer with a preference for early music, or would you rather have become an opera director? You are known for your enthusiasm for scenic work.

JCG: As I said, I discovered singing through polyphony. An opera career has never appealed to me, an incredibly hard job and in my opinion also thankless… I admire some singers very much, but I have no desire to take up this profession! I like to mix singing with contextual thinking, to enrich, to think about how to present music, how to make it accessible to the audience. That doesn’t make me a director, but I love the variety of tasks in my practice.

TC: Your pleasure in staged performances certainly also has to do with an interest in crossing borders, not just from the musical to the visual arts, but also from the past to the present. Can you tell us something about that bridge-building from early to contemporary music?

JCG: Here one would have to define what “early music” really means. I actually call any repertoire that I do not create myself “early music”. As a performer, I work very frequently with composers and have had the pleasure of premiering countless works over the past twenty years. But when I work with an existing repertoire, I try to ask myself the same questions over and over again. Whether it’s Josquin or Stockhausen, I try to understand the music with a new, contemporary perspective, asking myself about the practices and contexts. The combination of Renaissance repertoire and 20th century music therefore seems quite natural to me.

TC: In the early music scene, it is noticeable that baroque music has enjoyed great popularity for several decades. In comparison, the rich treasure of Renaissance works leads almost a shadowy existence. How do you explain this difference, this imbalance?

JCG: You just have to dig a little deeper to discover the Renaissance repertoire! And that musical treasure is accessible to anyone who is not afraid of the research effort. The baroque repertoire has become popular especially on the opera stage. Baroque opera may not be a mainstream event, but it has undoubtedly led to the presence of 17th century repertoire in the media. Renaissance repertoire is often more intimate, which makes it more difficult to reach a very large audience. But maybe things are changing!

TC: On the occasion of our October concert, which is preceded by a choir seminar, we are particularly interested in your credo as a choir director, all the more so since amateur singers are also to learn and sing at this concert. As a choir director, can you tell us about your experience of amateur choir singing?

JCG: The important thing is to rehearse the works – whether vocal, instrumental, or both – in a way that makes making music fun again! This is the credo and the idea that guides me and that also corresponds to the musical practice of the Renaissance! Professional musicians aside, I am always delighted and amazed to see the joy people have in singing. Sing! The world can only get better as a result!

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Column

«Ich bin dabei … » von Martin Kirnbauer zu «Chantez gayement», Okt 2021

Vor einigen Jahren stiess ich in der NZZ bei der Besprechung einer Neuausgabe der Bibelübersetzung des Hieronymus auf die schöne Überschrift: «Bis Luther kam, sprach Gott Latein.» Man könnte den Gedanken aufgreifen und fortspinnen, dass er ‘nach Luther’ nicht nur in Deutsch, sondern auch in Französisch und vielen weiteren Sprachen sang, wie das ReRenaissance-Konzert am 31. Oktober zeigt und erlebbar macht.

In fact, the change of language was associated with one of the most far-reaching and radical changes in music brought about by the Reformation. In Basel, for example, the starting point is considered to be the congregational singing of the Psalms, which was first practiced in worship on Easter Sunday 1526. This not only changed the role of the clergy, who lost their exclusive position (and with them the organists, who literally became unemployed). The service now centered on the sermon, which was framed by songs and psalms sung by the congregation – a ‘participatory model’ we would call it today.
For this purpose, a new repertoire was needed, which was partly newly created, partly adapted to the new purpose by rewording and reinterpreting well-known songs. In Basel, the first settings came from Strasbourg, and later were those of the so-called Geneva Psalter, which was sung for centuries and across all continents.
The ReRenaissance concert on October 31, 2021 offers visitors the unique opportunity to sing along with the Psalms in a ‘re-enactment’, as it were. (But don’t worry, there will be a rehearsal beforehand …)

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Program

Program Booklet October 2021

Psalm 81 – Chantez gayement

1st Psalm 81 – Samuel Mareschal (1554-1640)
Basel, University Library, Ms. F IX 49
(“Handwriting of Samuel Mareschal”)

2nd Psalm 81 – Théodore de Bèze (1519-1605)
Les Pseaumes mis en rime francoise, by Jean de Laon/Antoine Vincent, Geneva 1562

3. psalm 81 – Samuel Mareschal
Les Pseaumes mis en rime francoise, by Jean de Laon/Antoine
Der gantz Psalter, by Ludwig Koenigs, Basel 1606, 2nd ed.

 

Psalm 130 – Du fonds de ma pensée

4th Psalm 130 – Samuel Mareschal
“Handwriting of Samuel Mareschal”

Psalm 130 – Clément Marot (1496-1544)
Les Pseaumes mis en rime francoise

6. psalm 130 – Samuel Mareschal
The whole Psalter

7th fuga in d – Samuel Mareschal
“Manuscript Mareschal Ms. F IX 47/48 UB Basel”

8th Psalm 130 – Roland de Lassus (1532-1594)
Cent cinquante pseaumes de David, by Barthelemi Vincent, Lyon 1583

 

Psalm 1 – Qui au conseil

9. psalm 1 – Samuel Mareschal
“Handwriting of Samuel Mareschal”

10th Psalm 1 – Clément Marot
Les Pseaumes mis en rime francoise1

11. psalm 1 – Johannes Buxtorf (1564-1629)
Basel, University Library, A XII 16
(“Hineh lecha sheloshah mizmorim”)

12th Psalm 1 – Paschal de l’Estocart (1537/38-1587)
Cent cinquante pseaumes de David

13th Psalm 1 – Claude Le Jeune (1525/30-1600)
Premier livre, contenant cinquante pseaumes, by Pierre Ballard, Paris 1602

14. intonation Dorius – Samuel Mareschal
“Manuscript Mareschal Ms. F IX 47/48 UB Basel”

15th Psalm 1 – Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621)
Cinquante Pseaumes de David, Amsterdam 1604

 

Psaume 33 – Resveillez vous chascun fidele

16. psalm 33 – Samuel Mareschal
“Handwriting of Samuel Mareschal”

17 Psalm 33 – Clément Marot
Les Pseaumes mis en rime francoise

18. psalm 33 – Samuel Mareschal
The whole Psalter

19. psalm 33 – Claude Goudimel (1505-1572)
Les pseaumes mis en rime, by Francois Jaquy’s heirs, Geneva 1565

 

Psalm 9 – De tout mon cœur t’exalteray

20. psalm 9 – Samuel Mareschal
“Handwriting of Samuel Mareschal”

21 Psalm 9 – Clément Marot
Les Pseaumes mis en rime francoise

22. psalm 9 – Samuel Mareschal
The whole Psalter

23. fuga in d – Samuel Mareschal
“Manuscript Mareschal Ms. F IX 47/48 UB Basel”

24.psalm 9 – Claude Le Jeune
Premier livre, contenant cinquante pseaumes

25th Psalm 9 – Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Cinquante Pseaumes de David

 

Psalm 1 – Qui au conseil

26.Psalm 24 – Samuel Mareschal
“Handwriting of Samuel Mareschal”

27 Psalm 24 – Clément Marot
Les Pseaumes mis en rime francoise

28. psalm 24 – Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
Cinquante Pseaumes de David

2023

Februar

Canti C

In the labyrinth of revolution
Sun 26.02.23 Intro 17:45 Concert 18:15

Barfüsserkirche
Basel Historical Museum

März

Songs without words

The mystery of a textless chansonnier (c1465)
Sun 26.03.23 Theme 17:45 Concert 18:15

Barfüsserkirche
Historical Museum Basel

April

Dialogue of the keys II

Ammerbach with double m (and singing)
Sun 30.04.23 Theme 17:45 Concert 18:15

Mai

All in a Garden Green

Melodies to dance along ... or listen and look
Sun 28.05.23 afternoon

Place still open

Juni

The donkey crown

Animals & Creatures invite to the finissage
Sun 25.06.23 Theme 17:45 Concert 18:15

September

Biennale ReRenaissance 2023

Music and Power - Maximilian's Triumphal Procession
Fri 22.09.23 Opening Concert 19:30

Barfüsserkirche
Historical Museum Basel