Cluny et les chapiteaux des tons

Les chapiteaux du chœur de l'abbatiale de Cluny III ont sans doute été sculptés au début des années 1090. Deux de ces chapiteaux représentent les huit modes musicaux grégoriens et portent sur chacune de leur face une figure sculptée et une inscription.

The story of music at Cluny was told visually with compelling beauty in two sculptured capitals that survive from the apse of Hugh's great church. In the sanctuary, the architectural climax of the whole edifice, was a series of columns grouped in a semicircle around the high altar, and the capitals of these pillars constituted the apogee of late 11th-century sculptural skill. Here, capital by capital, were to be seen symbolic expressions of the highest ideals of the monk's life. One capital, for example, presented on its four faces the theological virtues; another, the cardinal virtues. On a third were pictured the cycles and labors of the monk's year in terms of the four seasons; and his hopes for the hereafter were portrayed by the four rivers and trees of Paradise. Finally, his praise for the Creator was expressed in a double quaternity with figures to symbolize the eight tones of sacred psalmody. This inclusion of music in the sacred precinct, next to the symbols of the highest human virtues and heavenly beauties, was further evidence of the high esteem in which the tonal art was held by the monks of Cluny.

Les 4 premiers tons

Le premier ton est représenté par un jeune homme jouant du luth. Son personnage, comme tous ceux du septième chapiteau, sont entourés d'une mandorle, le long de laquelle court un texte, en latin le "titulus".
Ici , le texte dit : "Hic tonus orditur modulamina musica primus - Ce premier ton ordonne les harmonies musicales."

On the first of the eight faces of these twin capitals is inscribed: "This tone is the first in the order of musical intonations," and the figure is that of a solemn-faced youth playing on a lute. Here the symbolism of the stringed instrument stems from the belief in the power of music to banish evil, as David had cast out Saul's evil spirit when he played to him.

Le deuxième ton est illustré par une femme qui danse, rythmant la musique à l'aide de petites cymbales, attachées ensemble par un cordon. Le texte dit : "Subsequor ptongus numero vel lege secundus - ensuite vient un son qui est le second en nombre ou selon la loi."

The second tone is represented by the figure of a young woman dancing and beating a small drum, the inscription reading, "There follows the tone which by number and law is second." Such percussion instruments are known to have been used to accompany medieval processions on joyful feast days in the manner described in the 68th Psalm: "The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were damsels playing with timbrels."

Le troisième ton est figuré par un homme jouant du psaltérion ou de la cithare. On peut lire, sur le pourtour de la mandorle : "Tertius impigit Christumque resurgerre pingit - le troisième met en avant et peint la résurrection du Christ" Le troisième ton rappelle donc, le troisième jour après la crucifixion, le jour de la Résurrection.

The next inscription says: "The third strikes, and represents the resurrection of Christ." The instrument here is of the lyre type with a sounding board added, which is one of the 11th- century forms of the psaltery, the legendary instrument with which David accompanied himself as he sang the psalms. This instrument with its gut strings stretched over the wooden frame roughly resembles a cross and was used as a symbolic reference to Christ stretched on the Cross for the redemption of the world.

Le quatrième ton est représenté par un jeune homme portant un tintinnabulum particulier, puisque sonnant le glas funéraire. Le texte dit : "Succedit quartus simulans in carmine planctus" - Vient ensuite le quatrième, qui par ses chants, imite les lamentations". Evocation probable de l'histoire de Lazare, qui ressuscite le quatrième jour, après de nombreuses lamentations de ses amis et de sa famille (Jean 11 : 1- 26 et 12 : 1-11).

The fourth figure is that of a young man playing a set of chime bells, and the accompanying inscription reads: "The fourth follows representing a lament in song." The Latin word planctus denotes a funeral dirge, and the practice of ringing bells at burials is pictured in the contemporary representation of the burial procession of Edward the Confessor from the Bayeux Tapestry where the figures accompanying the bier have small bells in their hands

Pathétique by L.v. Beethoven

This is the third movement of the Pathétique by Ludwig van Beethoven interpreted by Peter Carter, one of my young parishioners. Peter is 13 years old. He started to practice the piano at the age of 7. This performance was a recital played at Southern Keyboards in Atlanta, Georgia.

Magnificat for three voices

Marc-Antoine Charpentier
( 1643 -1704 )
« Je suis celui, qui né naguère, fut connu dans le siècle ; me voici, mort, nu et nul au sépulcre, poussière, cendres et nourriture pour les vers. J’ai assez vécu mais trop peu en regard de l’éternité [...]. J’étais musicien, considéré comme bon parmi les bons et ignare parmi les ignares. Et comme le nombre de ceux qui me méprisaient était beaucoup plus grand que le nombre de ceux qui me louaient, la musique me fut de peu d’honneur mais de grande charge ; et, de même qu’en naissant, je n’ai rien apporté en ce monde, en mourant, je n’ai rien emporté... ».

Ainsi se présentait Charpentier dans son étonnante pièce en latin intitulée Epitaphium Carpentarii dans laquelle il se met lui-même en scène : il imagine qu’il revient sur terre après sa mort, sous l’aspect d’une ombre, et se penche sur sa vie avec un curieux mélange d’humilité et d’amertume.
On peut dire que trois siècles plus tard, Charpentier a pris une sorte de revanche. Ainsi, aujourd’hui, il est le compositeur français de l’époque baroque le plus présent au disque. Depuis les années 1950, son œuvre monumentale qui compte plus de 550 numéros a été enregistrée pour plus de la moitié. Cette diffusion, tout à fait exceptionnelle, a permis de reconsidérer la place de Charpentier dans le paysage musical occidental. Pourtant, l’homme garde toujours son mystère et, malgré d’importantes études (notamment celles de Patricia M. Ranum), il est difficile de savoir exactement qui il était, comment il a vécu, quelle était la nature de ses relations avec ses contemporains, les musiciens et les autres. Seule, son épitaphe laisse percevoir les sentiments qui pouvaient être les siens à un moment de sa vie, probablement peu de temps avant son arrivée à la Sainte-Chapelle en 1698, c’est-à-dire après avoir réalisé l’essentiel de sa carrière et supporté maints tourments.
D'après Goldberg Magazine
I am he who, born in another time, was known during the century; here I am, dead, naked and nobody, in the tomb, dust, cinders and food for the worms. I lived enough but too little in relation to eternity [...]. I was a musician, considered good among the good and ignorant among the ignorant. And as the number of those who despised me was much larger than the number of those who praised me, music was of little honour to me but a great burden; and, as when I was born, I brought nothing into this world, in dying, I took nothing with me...
Thus does Charpentier introduce himself in his astonishing piece in Latin entitled Epitaphium Carpentarii, in which he himself appears on the stage: he imagines that he returns to earth after his death, in the guise of a shade, and looks over his life with a curious mixture of humility and bitterness.
One might say that three centuries later, Charpentier has taken a kind of revenge. Today, he is the most recorded French composer of the baroque period on disc. Since the 1950s, of his monumental output, which includes more than 550 works, more than half has been recorded. This circulation, quite exceptional, has allowed a reconsideration of Charpentier’s place within the western musical landscape. However, the man still retains his mystery and, in spite of some important studies (notably those by Patricia M. Ranum), it is difficult to know exactly who he was, how he lived, what was the nature of his relationships with his contemporaries, musicians and others. Only his epitaph allows one to perceive the feelings which could have been his at a particular time of his life, probably shortly after his arrival at the Sainte-Chapelle in 1698, that is, after having completed the greater part of his career and suffered many torments.
From the Goldberg Magazine
Live Recording of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Magnificat for 3 voices.
Jay Carter, countertenor
Daniel Mutlu, tenor
Wesley Chinn, Bass