The year 2023 starts with the publication of a music edition which I hope will raise interest in the Early Music circles:
"Textless and Instrumental Monophony 1180-1550", by Kees Boeke, Véronique Damiels, Jos Haring, Norbert Rodenkirchen in Olive Music´s series Musica sine littera Vol.4. A 344-page volume with substantially more than 200 pieces of solo music (all estampies or related pieces, basse dance tenors, monophonic fragments from tonaries or other medieval didactical sources and many more, newly transcribed from the manuscripts). Besides this up to date edition the book contains an elaborate text introduction to which I am honored to have been asked to contribute two chapters with essays about topics which mean a lot to me:
- "Echoes Of Notker- Are The Sequelae Early Minstrel Tunes" with some reflections about the very early repertoire of textless sequences (sequelae) from which the double versicle form of the Estampie generated. I was also invited to present transcription of a most popular tune in that early tradition, Adducentur.
- "Grocheio´s Neupmata", the original formulae from Johannes Grocheio´s famous treatise where they were explicetely mentioned as postludes to the Estampie, enhancable through ornamentation.
The book comes in 3 forms: as a hardback and a softcover version, but also as a spiral-bound performers' edition that will lay open flat on a music stand. All the pieces can be performed without page turns.
In 2016 I celebrated the 15th anniversary of my solo debut CD "Tibia ex tempore - Medieval Sketches " with the concept "one line, one track" which combined improvised and newly composed phrases neatlessly with original medieval tunes . And so I was very lucky and thankful that I got the chance to write a little reflection about that special concept for the Journals at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, hosted by Angela Mariani.
The text "Stante Pede" is intended to serve as an inspiration guide for musicians and music lovers, dealing with early medieval instrumental music.
Much of the development of instrumental repertoires from early to late Middle Ages is hidden due to the lack of notated sources. This has to do with the fact that most instrumental music was played and sung ex tempore and usually it was not written down. But not all is lost in the faded out echoes of improvisation and oral transmission. There are recognizable steps from the early medieval sequela to the late medieval Istampita.
Even when the ultimate aim for an instrumentalist dealing with medieval music should be a convincing personalized extempore playing style, some part of the study and some important step on this creative path is the research for historical details. It is essential to get a profound picture especially of the earlier repertoire, preceeding the first written down estampies. But it is also essential to be openminded for creative experiments in that genre where many aspects depend on the musicians improvisatory input, back then in the Middle Ages and depend still today.
Thanks and Credits:
Many thanks to all my friends and colleagues who have read and commented the sketches of this essay: especially Ute Dilger, Benjamin Bagby, Marc Lewon for their detailed advice and valuable correction remarks and to Vincent Kilbidis for his great lectorship which guided me to the final version which you find here!
Köln, September 5th 2021, Norbert Rodenkirchen
2010 entstand Candens Liliums erste CD mit den Originalgesängen aus St Cäcilien, dem Sitz des Museums Schnütgen. Hier ist mein Werkstatt-Text zur Produktion. Die CD selber ist erhältlich im Museumsshop vom Museum Schnütgen.