|Saturday 22 April 2023|
Glebe Music Festival
In conjunction with The Glebe Society Inc
Saturday 22 April 2023 3pm
Josie and The Emeralds
But first a little terminology.
Philip van Wilder (c.1500 - 1553), was one of Henry VIII’s most favoured musicians, rising to the post of ‘Master of the King’s Musick’. In 1520, he is described as Flemish but by 1522, he is a well paid “Frensshman” and three years later, he appears in the royal account books as ‘mynstrell’ with an exceptionally large monthly salary. The king also granted him a licence to import 800 tons of Toulouse ‘woad’ and Gascon wine - attesting to his canny business skills. By 1529 he had the highest salary of any court musician becoming an influential Gentleman of the Privy Chamber in 1540. In 1550 Edward VI conferred freeholds on his properties, granting him a coat of arms and a crest. In the 16th century, he is the only early Tudor composer whose music appears on the Continent.
For both Mary Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I, cultivating French music at their courts was a cultural and political necessity. Mary was educated at the Valois court, where she was praised as a singer and a performer on lute, virginal and harp. At the age of 16 she married Francis, Dauphin of France, becoming queen consort of France from his accession in 1559 until his death in December 1560. Thereafter Mary returned to the Scottish court, bolstering the choir of the Chapel Royal and employing various instrumentalists, including viol players.
It was one thing for a king such as Henry VIII to favour foreign musicians, and another for a queen. Mary was constantly criticised by Scottish protestants, notably John Knox, for her ‘outlandish’ behaviour, and particularly for her close relationship with the Italian singer David Rizzio, who later became her Secretary for French Affairs. Tragically, Rizzio was murdered in front of Mary, at the instigation of her second husband Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and later, he was also murdered. In 1567 Mary was forced to abdicate and she escaped to England, seeking protection from her cousin Elizabeth I. But in 1558, she had claimed the English throne and until 1560 used the English royal arms. In the 1570s and 1580s, Mary continued to be the focus of several Catholic plots to replace Elizabeth.
Mary’s parents James V and Mary of Guise had already created a court with strong French influences, including that of the French chanson. One of its most well-known examples, Mille Regretz could be seen to have resonances with Mary’s turbulent life. Perhaps she sang or played it in some way, in court or in one of the castles where she was sequestered by Elizabeth for eighteen and half years before her execution.
For years before this, the rivalry between the two queens was intense. Part of Elizabeth’s strategy was to be seen as more culturally accomplished, both personally, as a musician and dancer, and with her creation of a court that artistically shone throughout Europe. Elizabeth played spinet, virginals and lute, she sang and she danced, although her apparent staging of these performances gives the impression she regarded them primarily as a means to an end, for diplomatic and political purposes.
Tant que vivray was first published in 1527, one of about 175 chansons by Claudin de Sermisy (c.1490 - 1562), another eminently successful French composer, who was employed at the French courts. In 1520 he travelled to England to sing at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, a summit meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I of France. I can imagine Elizabeth saw herself as la belle au gent corps who should ever be served as in this chanson.
Eustache du Caurroy (1549 – 1609) probably entered royal service from the age of 20, and achieved much success throughout his life as a court composer, writing secular and sacred music and accumulating wealth and honours through church benefices. A collection of 42 contrapuntal fantasies for three to six instruments was published posthumously in 1610 including several based on the French folksong Une Jeune Fillette.
Étienne Moulinié (1599 – 1676) was born in Languedoc and as a child sang at the Narbonne Cathedral, becoming director of music for Gaston d’Orléans, younger brother of Louis XIII. For this post he wrote much sacred and secular music, including at least three books of airs de cour. These were so popular they were translated into German and Dutch, with one publication in Konigsberg, 1648.
By the early 17th century French, although still spoken in English courts, was not as well understood as in previous eras. In 1629, the enterprising Edward Filmer decided to “English” the French texts of some popular airs de cour and publish them as French Court Airs with their Ditties Englished. Dedicated to the French born Queen Henrietta, this collection was also intended for wider English use, as he writes in the preface:
The Intent of this book being more to please the Judicious Hearer of the Tunes, than the Critical Reader of the Lines..my moderate desires are, that my Home-hearted unaffectating Countrie-men, Favourers and Practizers of Music, would courteously entertain this Recopilation as a Worke naturaliz’d chiefly for their sakes.
Pierre Guédron (c.1570 - c.1620) was a French singer and composer, celebrated for the elegance and sophistication of his Airs de cour. From about the age of 30, he took up a series of musical posts at the court of Henry IV.He was one of the most significant composers of airs de cour and ballets de cour of his era, some of which were included in a number of the ballets he wrote for the court. Few biographical details are known about the composer and viol player Monsieur de Sainte- Colombe (c.1640 - c.1700). He is credited with adding the seventh string to the bass viol, and performed publicly in Parisian Salons, often in consort with his two daughters, and students, including two women known only as Mlle Rougeville and Mlle Vignon. He is probably the most prolific French viol composer before Marin Marais.
Marin Marais (1656-1728) studied composition with Jean-Baptiste Lully and viol with Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe and became one of the leading players and and most successful French baroque composers for the viol. From 1676 - 1725 he worked as a musician in the royal court of Versailles, publishing five books of Piéces de viole.
After its 1735 premiere, Rameau’s Les Indes Galantes was performed hundreds of times, as an
opera-ballet and in arrangements for other musical ensembles. Its enormous success could be partly attributed to its sophisticated, catchy melodies but also to the public’s fascination with its themes of‘savages’ and slavery.
A generation earlier, the English feminist writer Aphra Behn also achieved much success with her
novel and play about an African slave leader: Oroonoko or The Royal Slave. Behn was criticised in
her time but later celebrated for writing about sexuality from a woman’s point of view, such as in
her poem The Dream. Today we are performing my setting for her imaginary court, in celebration
of this abolitionist and humanitarian pioneer. Purcell fans might notice how I have also been
inspired by his famous aria from King Arthur: What Power Art Thou (The Cold Song).
Empress Ki, known as the Last Mongolian Empress was Grand Empress Dowager of the Yuan
Dynasty in the 14th century, ruling for 29 years. During Covid lockdown 2020, I became quite
addicted to the TV series Empress Ki which traces her rise to power amidst the tension between her
home country of Guan trying to assert its independence from the powerful Yuan dynasty of China.
Part of her success was due to being a brilliant warrior so when the melodies wrap around each
other I was thinking of a sense of struggle as she battles it out with her opponents. I’ve put in some
of her deadly flying arrows as pizzicato while the more lyrical sections portray her happily horse
riding over the hills. Afterwards I read how as one of the most powerful women of the Yuan
Dynasty she did her best to help those affected by famine and disease. We perform this work as a
tribute to these efforts. Brooke Green
Josie and the Emeralds is the critically acclaimed chamber group performing music from
medieval to modern, including compositions by Artistic Director Brooke Green. Fundamentally a
soprano and viol consort with soprano Josie Ryan, the group includes some of Australia’s finest viol
players and regularly works with leading international viol players. Their recordings have been
broadcast on ABC Classic and they have released two CDs on Tall Poppies: The Emerald Leopard
and The Emerald Phoenix. www.josieandtheemeralds.com
Josie Ryan holds a Masters degree in Early Vocal Music and Historical Performance Practice from
the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and is currently undertaking PhD studies at Sydney
Conservatorium of Music. Previously an ensemble singer with numerous European groups, Josie is
now a featured soloist with Australian ensembles including Salut! Baroque, The Marais Project, The
Sydney Consort, Sydney Chamber Choir, and the choirs of St James’ King Street and St Mary’s
Cathedral. She has been a frequent performer with both Cantillation and Pinchgut Opera since the
founding of each. Josie has been the soprano of Josie and the Emeralds since its inception in 2011. She has also toured with the Australian Brandenburg Ensemble and Orchestra, and featured with
them in the Sydney Festival season of Rembrandt Live, a theatre piece directed by John Bell, at the
Art Gallery of NSW. She also featured as a soloist in the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s 2020
online content, and with the Song Company in performances and recordings including the roles of
Victory, Knowledge of God, Discretion and Patience in Hildegard of Bingen’s Ordo Virtutum. Josie
also enjoys working as a conductor and vocal coach with singers of all ages and experiences.
Joshua Keller (USA), is an avid performer and teacher of viol, lirone, and cello. After studying
viola da gamba with Wendy Gillespie and Hille Perl, Josh embarked on an international
performance career. He has performed in the early music festivals of Bruges, Bremen,
Bloomington, Regensburg, Thüringen, and in the opening ceremonies of the Utrecht Early Music
Festival. Early and modern orchestras alike continue to invite him to play the viol solos of Bach’s
Passions. He has worked with Opera Theater St. Louis, Opera Studio Netherlands, Opera NEO San
Diego, and Scherzi Musicali (BE) playing lirone. He maintains a private teaching studio, teaches
viol at the University of Memphis, and cello at the Memphis Music Academy. Joshua also maintains
an active local music life playing in chamber ensembles, and recording at local studios. He has
recorded with Josh Lee, Masaaki Suzuki, and Musica Ficta. Beyond music, Josh loves rollerskating,
practicing Pilates and his two boxers, Margot and Hiram.
Reidun Turner completed her studies in viola da gamba at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen, Germany, in 2016 under the tutelage of Hille Perl. Before her studies in Germany, she also completed a Bachelor of Music at the University of Melbourne. As well as Hille Perl, Reidun has been fortunate enough to count Frauke Hess, Miriam Morris and Ruth Wilkinson among her teachers as well as participating in numerous masterclasses and summer schools with the likes of Jordi Savall, Paulo Pandolfo, Wieland Kuijken and Vittorio Ghielmi. Reidun founded the Saltbush Ensemble along with recorder player Ryan Williams and performs with Australia’s preeminent Viola da Gamba Consort, Consortium. She is also regularly engaged by Baroque ensembles and travels to teach and tutor around Australia. She has played major local and international festivals including the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Castlemaine Arts Festival and Musicadia. She has performed in live broadcasts for ABC Classics FM and 3MBS and was recorded in 2009 as part of the ABCs ‘Rising Stars’ program. In addition to Viola da Gamba, Reidun extends her passion for music working as a consultant for a leading Audio Visual company.
Brooke Green has been studying and performing Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music for
many years and this is the springboard for much of her music. As artistic director of Josie and the
Emeralds, she usually composes for their programs, writing specifically for these players but she
also arranges her works for diverse instrumental ensembles. Brooke is the recipient of the 2019
Jonathan Blakeman National Composition Prize and a winner of the Viola da Gamba Society of
America’s Traynor Competition for New Viol Music, 2013. Brooke was commissioned by The Art
Gallery of NSW while curating and performing in the concert series Music in this Stillness. In 2019,
Brooke collaborated with musicians from The Night Watch to give a concert of her music in
Wellington, New Zealand. The Spirit of Daphne for solo bass viol was commissioned by Laura
Vaughan. In 2022, Brooke was Guest Artistic Director, performer and composer with the Arafura
Music Collective, Darwin. Published by PRB Music, Brooke is an associate composer with the
Australian Music Centre. Brooke is a graduate of the University of Sydney Music Department
where she was awarded the Donald Peart Prize. With a Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Scholarship,
she studied baroque violin at Royal Conservatory, The Hague and in London with Michaela
Comberti. For several years Brooke played baroque and classical violin with London-based
ensembles such as The Hanover Band and The Brandenburg Consort while researching and
performing music by early women composers such as Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre. In
2010, after studying viol and vielle with Wendy Gillespie, Brooke graduated with a Masters in Early
Music Performance from the Historical Performance Institute, Bloomington, Indiana University
where she also was a performer of contemporary music on historical instruments.
Pippa Macmillan is a renowned specialist of historical bass instruments, and she has held the position of principal double bass with Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto since 2019. She holds degrees in Historical Performance from the Royal Academy of Music (London), and The Juilliard School (NYC). Following her studies, she was appointed Professor of Baroque Double Bass at the Royal College of Music (London) in 2015, a position she held until she moved to Toronto. Pippa has recently moved to Australia, where she works with ensembles including Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Australian Baroque, Australian Haydn Ensemble and Pinchgut Opera. Back in her native UK, Pippa has performed with English Concert, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, English Baroque Soloists, Academy of Ancient Music, and Florilegium. She has appeared as guest principal double bass with the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston, and with Montreal-based viol consort Les Voix Humaines on tenor viol. In 2015 she appeared in London's West End, in the Globe Theatre's production of Farinelli and the King, and subsequently on Broadway when the play transferred there in 2017. Pippa is a trained Suzuki teacher on double bass, cello and piano, and has taught and accompanied at a number of Suzuki courses in the UK. Her students are regularly members of the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.