[cantabile] Report on the March 29 rehearsal

Some decisions we made:

  • Clear or Cloudy isn’t ready for public performance. We will work
    harder on it next month, and I will try to get better underlay.
  • Anne’s voice works fine as an instrument in an instrumental
  • The serpent isn’t ready to play 15 minute performances in settings
    where there’s no warmup time.


Let me know if I have any of this wrong.

  1. April is in my Mistress’ Face
    • Instrumental: Bruce and Laura, T recorder, Ishmael, Fiddle,
      Bonnie, viol.
    • Vocal: Bonnie and Anne, Laura, Ishmael, Bruce
  2. The Silver Swan
    • 4-foot instrumental: Laura, Bruce, Ishmael, Anne, Bonnie
    • vocal: Anne, Laura, Ishmael, Bruce, Bonnie (viol)
    • 8-foot instrumental: Laura, Anne, Ishmael, Bruce, Bonnie
  3. Me, Me and None but Me
    • Instrumental: Bonnie, Laura, Ishmael, Bruce (trombone)
    • Vocal (2 verses): Bonnie and Anne, Laura, Ishmael, Bruce
  4. Il Bianco e Dolce Cigno (Arcadelt)
    • Big instruments: Bruce, Laura, Ishmael, Bonnie
    • Vocal: Anne and Bonnie, Laura, Ishmael, Bruce
    • Recorders: Bonnie, Laura, Ishmael, Bruce

Transcription error

We discovered an error in the Tenor line of the Eb version of “The
Silver Swan”. The words “death ap-” in the second phrase should be
eighth notes not quarter notes. I will fix this all the places I
can. I think the 2004 book isn’t fixable, so if you print it out
again, do it from the
laymusic.org site.

Report on March 15 Coaching session with John Tyson

It was good to play for an experienced pair of ears like John’s.
We worked on establishing a tuning routine for the strings, and on
having the instrumentalists as well as the singers be more sensitive
to the words, and on having everybody be more aware that they’re
telling a story.

We played:

  • Arcadelt, Il bianco e dolce cigno
  • Morley, April is in my mistress’ face
  • Dowland, Me, me and none but me
  • Dowland, Clear or cloudy

Future plans

We still haven’t completely settled the orchestration for the April
performance. If Barney can make it to the March 22 rehearsal to stand
in for Bruce (I know he doesn’t play trombone, but he sings in the same
range and can play the recorder parts), we should be able to decide
that, and then work intensely on that program on March 29.

Corrections to the music

We found two errors in the printed music.

  1. The Bassus in April is
    in my mistress’ face has an F in the wrong octave in measure 25, and
    should be either corrected by hand or
    printed from www.laymusic.org.
  2. The Cantus part in “Me, me and none but me” has two eighth notes
    in measure 20 that are a step up from where they should be. This
    should be printed from laymusic.org.

Plans for March 15th coaching session with John Tyson

We’ll be at John’s place (310 1/2 Pearl St. in Cambridge) starting at 8
PM. 310 1/2 is behind 308, down a long driveway. They don’t enforce
the permit only parking there in the evening, so there shouldn’t be a
problem parking on the street. Let me know if you need more
directions than that. His phone number is (617) 661-3353.

We’re expecting Anne (voice), Bonnie (voice, recorder, bass viol),
Laura (voice, recorder, serpent), Ishmael (voice, recorder, fiddle),
Bruce (voice, recorder, trombone), and Stuart (cello).
If this list is wrong in any respect, please let me know. Also let me
know if you need me to bring any music.

I’ve given all the part assignments top voice to bottom voice.

We’ll be working on the playlist for the April 2 gig, which is a
subset of the playlist of the May 1 gig, so people from both gigs are
coming. We will probably do only two or three pieces, and work on
them pretty intensely.

There’s a problem practicing for the April gig, because we have two
five-part pieces, and only 5 people playing, one of whom doesn’t play
an instrument, so we may decide not to do our usual instrumental then
vocal route for those pieces.

April is in my mistress’ face

April part assignments: instrumental: Bruce, Laura, Ishmael,

Vocal: Anne, Laura, Ishmael, Bonnie and Bruce.

Stuart will probably be playing bass in May, but it might make sense for him
to also learn the tenor, so maybe he should play tenor this week.

Clear or Cloudy

April part assignments: Anne, Bonnie, Ishmael, Bruce, Laura. We will
fiddle with whether there’s an instrumental that makes sense at the
March 29 meeting. Stuart should play bass, and that way we can also
do the May configuration where Bonnie and Anne will both be on the top
line, and Laura will be on Altus.

Quintus is between Altus and Tenor in this piece.

Silver Swan

Make sure you have the version in Eb (three flats in the

April part assignments: Anne, Laura, Ishmael, Bruce, Bonnie.
Again, we’ll fiddle with an April instrumental version on March 29,
Stuart will play bass so Bonnie and Anne can both sing top line.

Quintus is between Cantus and Altus in this piece.

Me, me and none but me

April part assignments: Instrumental: Bonnie, Laura, Ishmael,
Bruce. Vocal: Anne, Laura, Ishmael, Bruce. I’d like to see if this
works a capella, in which case Bonnie can sing top line with
Anne, and we can do the instrumental completely on recorders, since
it’s a recorder society gig. If not, Bonnie will play viol with Bruce
on the vocal, and probably also on the instrumental version, in which
case Bruce will play top line in the instrumental.

In any case, Stuart will play bass except when we’re experimenting
with what we can do without him.

Arcadelt, Il bianco e dolce cigno

Same assignments as Me, me and none but me.

Plan for March 8 meeting

We will be meeting tonight, Tuesday, March 8, at the usual time and


We have to decide both what we’re playing on April 2 and what we want
to work on with John Tyson next week.

I know Barney said he couldn’t make it on March 15, but he’s also
not playing April 2, so that’s OK. I’ll be having a lesson with John
on Thursday, and talking to him then about what we want to work on, so
if any of Anne, Bonnie, Bruce, Ishmael, and Stuart can’t make it on
the 15th, I’l like to know by the 10th.

I’ve been saying that it will be either drinking songs or river music,
because April 2 is too early for May music. But lately I’ve been
thinking that there are two April songs on the May music program, both
of which are based on the same Italian poem. So my current thinking
is we do those, and either two “Silver Swan”s or two “Rivers of


  • April is in my mistress’ face
  • Clear or cloudy

And either:

  • The Silver Swan
  • Arcadelt, Il blanco e doce Cigno


  • Estans Assis
  • Campian or Billings

Right now I’m leaning towards the Swans, on the grounds that it’s a
recorder society event, and the Billings isn’t really a recorder

So I want to run all of the above tonight, as well as the Vecchi
“Il bianco e dolce Cigno”.

New Music

We didn’t run the three-part Dowland I transcribed last week. It may
take more time that we have, but if not, it would be good to not leave
it on the spindle for too long.

John and I have been doing a couple of settings of “Adieu mes amours”,
and if I get around to transcribing the one from the Odhecaton, we
might do those.

If the weather leaves us with only three parts, we have a bunch more
French stuff to read through, or we can struggle through the Dowland 3
part things again. And of course run the French drinking songs.

If it’s only two parts, some of us will be getting good at Morley or
Lassus or someone.

Future directions

We have another deadline we should be considering, which is that the
Boston Early Music Festival is happening in June. The last two
festivals have been fairly fertile recruiting grounds for us, so we
should think about what direction we want the group to move in, since
that will affect how we want to advertise it.

Currently, the group is serving several functions:

  1. A place to sightread a lot of music that nobody hears or plays
    very much.
  2. A performing group.
  3. A place where people who are learning a new instrument can play it
    with others.
  4. A place for people to play and occasionally perform that doesn’t
    require a weekly commitment.

(1) has been fairly consistent over the years; (2) is more
important now than it was two or four years ago, and (3) is losing
importance, although it was uppermost in my mind when I formed the
group, and is still emphasized in the website description.

(2) and (3) are pretty incompatible; (1) is actually an asset for
(2) although of course it takes up time we don’t have in the heat of
performance preparation. (4) is also incompatible with (2).

So I think the real thing we have to decide is do we want to emphasize
the performing, in which case we would probably want to recruit only
other people who are interested in performing, and would want to
reduce the drop-in component, and the encouraging beginners on new

As you may have noticed, the rehearsal schedule for the upcoming
performances is a weekly schedule, although I’m not expecting everyone
to come every week. I’m considering reducing the drop-in component to
the group by saying that it meets every week, and possibly designating
one or two meetings a month as particularly suitable for new members
to come.

So we’ll talk about some of this tonight, and if you can’t make it
tonight but have opinions, please let me know.

[Cantabile] Report on the March 8 meeting

It was yet another “Wow, we had 4 people” meeting on a dark and stormy
night. Everybody had either walked and had ice blown into their faces
by the blizzard-force winds or driven and had to chip their cars out
of several inches of ice.

We decided that the April 2 performance would be a combination of the
April music and the Swan music. So it will be a subset of:

I will do timings, and we may decide at the last minute to do more
verses of the better-sounding ones rather than fewer verses of the
ones that don’t sound so good. Surprisingly, last night “April is in
my Mistress’ face was in the latter category, so I may ask Lisa to let
me know if anyone else is doing that one. Although the last I heard,
we may be the only group with more than 3 players.

That list is what we’ll be doing with John Tyson on March 15, so
please let me know if you aren’t able to print them all, so that I can
have enough copies.

If the weather improves enough that we start being able to work on
five-voice pieces, we may add the Vecchi “Il Bianco e Dolce Cigno” for
the May performance, but I think it’s too late to do it in April.

So here’s what we did:

  1. Bicinia, several Fantasias
  2. Bastienne, Bastienne, vous avés changé d’amis
  3. April is in my Mistress’ face
  4. Me, me and none but me
  5. Arcadelt, Il Bianco e dolce Cigno
  6. Clear or Cloudy
  7. Josquin, Adieu mes amours
  8. Mouton, Adieu mes amours, double canon
  9. Quand je bois

I think “Adieu mes amours” will work well as part of a set about
having no money, with “Quand je bois”.

Schedule for Spring performances


Here’s who I think is playing with us:

On April 2:

  • Laura
  • Anne
  • Bruce
  • Bonnie
  • Ishmael

At the Walk for Hunger on May 1:

  • Laura
  • Barney
  • Patricia
  • Anne
  • Bonnie
  • Stuart
  • Ishmael
  • Paul

If I’m missing anyone, or including anyone erroneously, let me know as
soon as possible.

Dates to save

  • March 8, only for people playing one of the gigs who can make it
  • March 15. We’ll be meeting with John Tyson and concentrating on
    the April 2 music. This meeting may take place at John’s place,
    details later.
  • March 22, only for people playing one of the gigs who can make it
  • March 29 (this will be limited to and compulsory for the
    people playing the April 2 gig.)
  • Saturday, April 2, 2-4 PM, Central Square Library. We will be
    playing for 15 minutes, either the river music or the drinking songs
  • April 5, only for people doing the Walk for Hunger who can make it
  • April 12, only for people doing the Walk for Hunger who can make it
  • April 19, with John Tyson, again. We’ll be able to discuss the
    April 2 performance, and do some of the stuff for the Walk for Hunger.
  • April 26 (limited to and compulsory for the people doing
    the Walk for Hunger.) Stuart (I think) told me he was mostly
    concerned about Roaring Jelly rehearsals before NEFFA, and didn’t mind
    missing this one.
  • Sunday, May 1, Walk for Hunger. I haven’t set the schedule, but
    it’s likely that it will be like last year, where we play the same 45
    minute program twice, with someone else playing a set in
    between ours, ending at about 3 PM. So plan on 12:30 to 3:00,
    and coming to the Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse afterwards.

If you’re on the list of people who are playing, and you can’t make
the compulsory rehearsals, please let me know.

Meeting reminder, March 1, 2005

The next meeting of the Cantabile Renaissance Band will be on March 1,
2005, at 7:45 PM, at my place.

We’re going to run a few doubtful pieces from the setlist.

Then we’ll work pretty hard on the River music set for the April 2
BRS performance.

I’ve started typesetting the next Dowland, Lasso vita mia, but I
think it might make sense to get back to new Dowlands after the Walk
for Hunger. But if there’s demand for sightreading difficult music
instead of just working on what we’re going to be performing, I will
finish it and we’ll do it. I didn’t feel that we got that much out of
the new Dowland we did last time, though.