I’m working on this piece to play at the
Dan Laurin Masterclass. There are a couple of ways in which existing
editions of van Eyck don’t completely meet the needs of performing
- The pieces are theme and variations on popular tunes of the day,
which van Eyck and his audience undoubtedly thought of with the
words. The good editions include the words in endnotes, but don’t
underlay them for the performer.
- Several famous recorder players have told me that the way to
practice the fancy variations is in conjunction with the simpler
ones. That is, you play a phrase of the original tune, then the same
phrase in the variation you’re working on. This is easy with the
first phrase, but I end up with all kinds of markings on my music for
finding the beginnings of the subsequent phrases easily in the
- Less important and maybe not important at all: printed music from the
seventeenth century did not beam the notes. This makes the van Eyck
facsimile all but impossible to play from, as telling the eight notes
from the sixteenth notes is really difficult at playing speed. It
isn’t clear that it’s really that inauthentic to play from editions
with beamed notes — hand-written music from that era did beam notes,
so it was probably the printing technology that made it necessary to
not beam anything. However, in eighteenth century facsimiles, where
there are beamed notes, the beaming is much less regular than in more
modern printing, and is used as an editorial grouping, not a
completely regular indication of the beats. So it isn’t clear that
the beams in a modern edition necessarily would be the ones that van
Eyck or one of his scribes would have written.
So as a music publisher, I am experimenting with whether there are
better ways to present the music for a performer to work on. I have
three versions of this piece on the web:
290, which is unbeamed but has the tune underlaid with the words.
291, which is unbeamed, with the words underlaid, and the 4
versions arranged as a “score”, so that it’s clear what notes in the
variations correspond with what place in the tune and with each
other. This one unfortunately went to three pages,
so you might want to look at
the beginnings of the book
292, which is like 291, but with the notes beamed.
So if you’re a recorder player who enjoys van Eyck, try these, and let
me know what you think.
The words to this one presented an editorial challenge. The Amadeus
edition that I play from has the French words in the back, and a
translation into German, but notes that the tune van Eyck used is
different from the French tune that goes with those words.
van Eyck’s Der fluyten lust-hof: (1644-c1655) (Muziekhistorische
monografieÃ«n) by Ruth van Baak Griffioen, has a facsimile of the
tune van Eyck used with the Dutch words, but doesn’t translate them.
The French words work pretty well for the B section, but have far
too many syllables for the A section.
If I manage to get a copy and even vaguely sensible translation of
the Dutch words, and find that they’re significantly different from
the French ones, I may decide to use them instead. For now, I have
abbreviated the French A section, and have underlaid it.
Update, March 26: One surprising thing you see when you print the
variations out in score format is that the last one ends with a
flourish that makes it a measure longer than the others. This means I
had to tell lilypond that the barlines were a property of the staff rather
than the score. This meant that in the first scores I published, the
barlines disappeared, since you have to use a different command to get
a staff barline than a score barline. Since I usually publish barless
music, I didn’t even notice until someone called it to my attention.
It’s fixed now.