Who’s the fool, now?

Thomas Ravenscroft (c1582 - c1633): Martin said to his man, partsong a 4 voci (da Deuteromelia, 1609, n. 16). Pro Cantione Antiqua.
Quando la musica è puro spasso: un partsong fra i meglio riusciti di Ravenscroft magistralmente interpretato dal complesso vocale diretto da Mark Brown. Alcuni allegri ubriaconi, fra un boccale e l’altro, si divertono a spararle sempre più grosse, fino a quando uno non eccede; da ammirarsi l’arte con cui gli interpreti variano continuamente l’intonazione del testo. L’ultima fanfaronata è totalmente inverosimile: il suo autore lo sa benissimo, perciò è un po’ imbarazzato e parla/canta sottovoce: segue un attimo di silenzio che ben rappresenta lo sconcerto generale, poi l’allegra e rapida conclusione. Bravissimi tutti.

1. Martin said to his man
(fie, man, fie!),
Martin said to his man
(who’s the foole, now?),
Martin said to his man:
Fill thou the cup and I the can.
Thou hast well drunken, man!
Who’s the foole, now?

2. I see a sheep shearing corn
And a couckold blow his horn.

3. I see a man in the Moone,
Clowting of Saint Peters shoone.

4. I see a hare chase a hound,
Twenty mile aboue the ground.

5. I see a goose ring a hog.
And a snayle that did bite a dog.

6. I see a mouse catch the cat,
And the cheese to eate the rat.

With never a penny of mony

Thomas Ravenscroft (c1582 - c1633): We be souldiers three, partsong a 3 voci (pubblicato nella raccolta Deuteromelia, 1609). Deller Consort, dir. Alfred Deller.

We be souldiers three,
Pardona moy ie vous an pree,
Lately come forth of the low country,
 With never a penny of mony.

Here, Good fellow, I’ll drinke to thee,
To all good Fellowes where ever they be.

And he that will not pledge me this
Payes for the shot what ever it is.

Charge it againe boy, charge it againe,
As long as there is [you have] any incke in thy [your] pen.

We be

3 folksongs reinterpretati da Ravenscroft

Tre brani di Thomas Ravenscroft (c1582 - c1633) eseguiti dall’ensemble Pro Cantione Antiqua.
(NB: la scritta «Arr. Brown» leggibile nei video è erronea e fuorviante: Pro Cantione Antiqua ha dato una pregevole interpretazione delle composizioni di Ravenscroft senza «arrangiarle» affatto.)

Hey hoe, to the greene wood, round (canone) a 3 voci (da Pammelia, 1609).

Ravenscroft - Hey hoe

Tomorrow the fox will come to town, partsong a 4 voci (da Deuteromelia, 1609).

Tomorrow the fox will come to town.
  Keep, keep, keep, keep, keep.
 Tomorrow the fox will come to town
  To keep you all well there.
   I must desire you neighbours all,
   To holler the fox above them all,
   And cry as loud as you can call,
   Whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop, whoop.
   O keep you all well there.

He’ll steal the cock out from the flock.

He’ll steal the hen out of the pen.

He’ll steal the duck out of the brook.

He’ll steal the lamb ev’n from his dam.

Yonder comes a courteous knight, partsong a 4 (da Deuteromelia). Notevoli il testo, che presenta alla fine una «morale» davvero curiosa 🙂 , e l’armonizzazione: Ravenscroft era assai stimato dai suoi colleghi di inizio Seicento, e se ne capisce il perché.

Yonder comes a courteous knight,
Lustely raking over the lay;
He was well ware of a bonny lasse,
As she came wand’ring over the way.
  Then she sang downe a downe, hey downe derry.

Jove you speed, fayre ladye, he said,
Among the leaves that be so greene;
If I were a king, and wore a crowne,
Full soone, fair lady, shouldst thou be a queen.

Also Jove save you, faire lady,
Among the roses that be so red;
If I have not my will of you,
Full soone, faire lady, shall I be dead.

[Then he lookt east, then hee lookt west,
He lookt north, so did he south;
He could not finde a privy place,
For all lay in the divel’s mouth.

If you will carry me, gentle sir,
A mayde unto my father’s hall,
Then shall you have your will of me,
Under purple and under paule.

[He set her up upon a steed,
And him selfe upon another,
And all the day he rode her by,
As though they had been sister and brother.

When she came to her father’s hall,
It was well walled round about;
She rode in at the wicket-gate,
And shut the foure-ear’d foole without.

You had me, quoth she, abroad in the field,
Among the corne, amidst the hay,
Where you might had your will of mee,
For, in good faith, sir, I never said nay.

[Ye had me also amid the field,
Among the rushes that were so browne,
Where you might had your will of me,
But you had not the face to lay me downe.

He pulled out his nut-browne sword,
And wipt the rust off with his sleeve,
And said: Jove’s curse come to his heart,
That any woman would beleeve!

When you have your owne true-love
A mile or twaine out of the towne,
Spare not for her gay clothing,
But lay her body flat on the ground.



Thomas Ravenscroft (c1582 - c1633): Remember, O Thou Man, dai Melismata (1611). The Sixteen, dir. Harry Christophers.
Un Ravenscroft serio, questa volta.

Remember, O thou man,
O thou man, O thou man,
Remember, O thou man,
Thy time is spent,
Remember, O thou man,
How thou art dead and gone
And I did what I can,
Therefore repent.

Remember God’s goodness,
O thou man, O thou man,
Remember God’s goodness
And his promise made.
Remember God’s goodness,
How he sent his Son doubtless
Our sins for to redress,
Be not afraid.

The angels all did sing,
O thou man, O thou man,
The angels all did sing
Upon the shepherds’ hill,
The angels all did sing
Praises to our heav’nly king,
And peace to man living
With a good will.

To Bethlem did they go,
O thou man, O thou man,
To Bethlem did they go,
The shepherds three,
To Bethlem did they go,
To see where it were so or no,
Whether Christ were born or no
To set man free.

In Bethlem he was born,
O thou man, O thou man,
In Bethlem he was born,
For mankind sake,
In Bethlem he was born
For us that were forlorn,
And therefore took no scorn,
Our flesh to take.

Give thanks to God alway,
O thou man, O thou man,
Give thanks to God alway,
Most joyfully.
Give thanks to God alway,
For this our happy day,
Let all men sing and say,
Holy, holy.

I cannot come every day to woo

Thomas Ravenscroft (c1582 - c1633): A wooing song of a yeoman of Kent’s son, partsong a 1-4 voci (da Melismata, 1611, n. 22). Pro Cantione Antiqua.

I have house and land in Kent,
And if you’ll love me, love me now;
Twopence-halfpenny is my rent,
I cannot come every day to woo.
  Twopence-halfpenny is his rent,
  And he cannot come every day to woo.

Ich am my vather’s eldest zonne,
My mother eke doth love me well,
For ich can bravely clout my shoone,
And ich full well can ring a bell.
  For he can bravely clout his shoone,
  And he full well can ring a bell.

My vather he gave me a hog,
My mouther she gave me a zow;
I have a God-vather dwels thereby,
And he on me bestowed a plow.
  He has a God-vather dwells thereby,
  And he on him bestowed a plough.

One time I gave thee a paper of pins,
Another time a tawdry-lace;
And if thou wilt not grant me love,
In truth ich die bevore thy face.
  And if thou wilt not grant his love,
  In truth he’ll die bevore thy vace.

Ich have been twice our Whitson-lord,
Ich have had ladies many vair,
And eke thou hast my heart in hold
And in my mind zeems passing rare.
  And eke thou hast his heart in hold
  And in his mind seems passing rare.

Ich will put on my best white slops
And ich will wear my yellow hose,
And on my head a good grey hat,
And in’t ich stick a lovely rose.
  And on his head a good grey hat,
  And in’t he’ll stick a lovely rose.

Wherefore cease off, make no delay,
And if you’ll love me, love me now;
Or else ich zeek zome oderwhere,
For I cannot come every day to woo.
  Or else he’ll zeek zome oderwhere,
  For he cannot come every day to woo.

Tre in una

Thomas Ravenscroft (c1582 - c1633): A round of three country dances in one, da Pammelia (1609), eseguito da Donna Stewart e i suoi Doppelgänger 🙂
Ecco un esempio significativo della maestria di Ravenscroft, che costruisce un round (canone) innestando sopra un ground di sua invenzione, con questo testo:

Sing after fellows as you hear me,
A toy that seldom is seen-a:
Three country dances in one to be,
A pretty conceit as I ween-a.

tre diverse country dances, e cioè Robin Hood, The Cramp e Tom boy Tom:

1. Robin Hood, Robin Hood, said Little John,
Come dance before the Queen-a
In a red petticoat and a green jacket,
a white hose and a green-a.

2. The cramp is in my purse full sore,
No money will bide therein-a,
And if I had some salve therefore,
O lightly then would I sing-a.
Hey, ho, the cramp-a.

3. Now foot it as I do Tom boy Tom,
Now foot it as I do Swithen-a,
And Hick, thou must trick it all alone,
Till Robin come leaping in between-a.

Bravissima anche Donna Stewart, ça va sans dire.

Folksongs: The Three Ravens

Thomas Ravenscroft (c1582 - c1635): The three ravens. Alfred Deller, controtenore; Desmond Dupré, liuto.
Non si hanno molte notizie su Ravenscroft, che però fu molto ammirato e stimato dai musicisti suoi contemporanei. Più che per le sue composizioni originali, è noto per un cospicuo numero di raffinati arrangiamenti di melodie tradizionali, qual è appunto The three ravens, che Ravenscroft pubblicò in tre diverse raccolte: Pammelia (1609), Deuteromelia: or The Second part of Musicks melodie (1609) e Melismata (1611).
Il nome di Ravenscroft, superfluo dire, comparirà spesso in questo blog 😉

There were three ravens sat on a tree,
  down-a-down, hay down, hay down,
They were as black as black could be,
  with a down,
And one of them said to his mate:
Where shall we our breakfast take?
  with a-down, derry, derry, derry, down, down.

Down, down in yonder green field,
There lies a knight slain with his shield.
His hounds they lie down at his feet,
So well they their master keep.

His hawks they fly so eagerly,
There’s no fowl dare him come nie.
Down there comes a fallow doe,
As great with young as she might go.

She lift up his bloody head,
And kissed his wounds that were so red.
She got him up upon her back,
And carried him to earthen lake.

She buried him before the prime.
She was dead herself ere even-song time.
God send every gentleman
Such hawks, such hounds, and such a leman.