Joel Frederiksen – bass, lute and archlute
I. Tell me true love
English songs and ballads from the late Renaissance
In my newest solo program I focus on the Golden Age of Elizabethan Lute Song. It is here that I began my career, with the lute songs of John Dowland and Thomas Campion. Fittingly, their songs form the core of the program but I also perform pieces by Thomas Morley, William Corkine, and Robert Jones. There is a set of Shakespeare pieces and one of anonymous ballads, some of which are taken up by composers like Dowland in instrumental variations.
The opening of the program sets the tone with the rhythmically flexible and moving "Tell me true love" followed by a love song probably to Queen Elizabeth with an intricate lute part, "Time stands still". "Can she excuse" was also published by Dowland as a lute solo, "The Earl of Essex, his galliard." The Earl, who was a favorite of Elizabeth, wrote poetry and may even be the author of "Time stands still".
The songs are erotic and humorous, or at other times filled with English melancholy, but they all say something about love.
II. Orpheus, I am
Based on the solo CD, “Orpheus, I am”, which has received remarkable international critical acclaim
A fascinating excursion into the world of English, French, and Italian music from the Renaissance to the early Baroque. Songs that touch on deeply important topics of human life, then and now – from love and war to the praise of tobacco! From the opening song, „Orpheus, I am“, by Robert Johnson, which takes the bass to the fiery deeps on the word „Hell“, and delivers a warning to unwary lovers on the dangers of love, the mood is set. Virtuosic art songs by the Italian Giulio Caccini contrast with moving ballads such as „Fortune, my foe“. Early French chanson contain fine rhythmic nuances, and are sometimes deeply touching as in „Triste fortune“ and sometimes hilarious, as in the over-the-top drinking song „Qui veut chasser une migraine“. „Tobacco“ compares two potentially addictive habits,
Love and Tobacco, and „Soldier‘s song“ of Tobias Hume is a melancholy romance about the soldiers’ life which literally rings with battle sounds. Thomas Campion contributes a song in praise of the girl who never says „No“ and Alfonson Ferrabosco a moving miniature on a text from Ben Jonson, „So beautie on the water stood“. Since the release of the CD in 2003 this program has been presented throughout Europe.
Also available as a trio (see programs, EPM).
Joel Frederiksen, bass voice, Renaissance lute, archlute; Sven Schwannberger, lute, flute; Domen Marincic, viola da gamba
III. Fire - Passion in English Lute Song
Fire of love and desire, fire of hate and anger….English lute songs and continuo songs on the theme of fire
This program begins in Elizabethan England with compositions born at a pinnacle in the culture of song: a period of poetic excellence and musical inventiveness that rivals any of the ages to come. John Dowland, one of the greatest lute virtuosos and composers active around 1600, created masterworks at this time such as „Flow my teares“ (or the Lachrimae) and poet/composers of the stature of Thomas Campion wrote prolifically and set their own lyrics to music. One such musical and poetic gem by Campion, „Fire, fire“, was taken up by composer Nicolas Lanier and set 20 years later in the new, very flexible continuo style of the early 1600‘s. In presenting both versions of the song, first by Campion and then by Lanier, this program highlights the dynamic changes which were taking place in England between approximately 1580 and 1630. From polyphonically conceived English Lute Songs as Dowland and Thomas Morley composed them to the continuo songs of William and Henry Lawes, Lanier, and Robert Johnson is a leap which came from the influence of the Italians. The first half of the program concerns itself with the earlier songs contrasting with instrumental pieces including virtuosic conceived pieces for the lute (broken-consort repertoire) and violin (country dances). In the second half of the concert the new continuo style is presented, broken up by lively instrumental dances with exotic titles from Courtly Masques such as „The second witches dance“ or “The Apes dance at the temple”.
Strongly united around the theme of fire, this program also contrasts two very distinct but related styles from the Golden Age of Elizabethan Lute Song to the later continuo age.
Also availalble as an ensemble program (see programs).
IV. Project Martinelli
A tribute to Baroque architect Domenico Martinelli and to the art of architecture itself featuring the music of Italian master composers as well as newly commissioned pieces (live CD and book available)
The Italian Domenico Martinelli (1650-1718) was one of the most important architects of the Baroque. His name was closely tied to the Accademia di San Luca in Rome and he was engaged by the Duke of Kaunitz and the House of Lichtenstein for the building of their residences. Important structures still stand in Vienna, Lucca and in the former Hapsburg Empire, including the Czech Republic.
Music from the early Baroque master, Giulio Caccini from his collection “Le nuove musiche” begins this musical “homage” to Martinelli and architecture. Following are masterworks from composers including Stefano Landi, Andrea Falconieri and Antonio Caldara. To strengthen the connection to our time and as a tribute to creativity and “construction”, two pieces were commissioned for this program with texts which were selected and re-worked by Joel Frederiksen. The first piece, on texts published posthumously about the life of Martinelli, “Memorie della vita di Domenico Martinelli” (Lucca 1772), was composed by Willem Cuellers (Brussels). The second piece was composed by American Laurence Traiger (now living in Munich) on texts from architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Also available as a trio:
Joel Frederiksen, bass, archlute; Lucie Špičková, mezzo-soprano; Axel Wolf, theorbo