Although instruments are mentioned a little in the rubrics and the song texts, the notation is far too early to include a special part for instruments. (The notation doesn't give anything but pitch--we don't even know what rhythms they used in the original performance.) Greenberg's edition calls for instruments, and it is done in a way that accommodates modern equivalents ofthe early instruments he usedwith the NYPM. The publisher would have wanted any church or high school group to be able to use this edition.
There are no references to instruments in the stage directions (rubrics) except for "cytharistae" (cithera players) which are coming "before King Darius"and also in the same rubric for the Darius processional,"psallentes" an adjective modifying "Principes"from the verb "psallare" -- Darius's nobles are playing or singing to the cithera.Isn't it interesting that the only references are to strings!
(But perhaps not surprising--see Christopher Page's Voices and Instruments of the Middle Ages, where the only discussion about instrument usage for the accompaniment of monophonic song in Latin or French, amongst the class of literate musiciansin the cultural region centered in Paris, is of stringed instruments. )
Beyond the rubrics, there are other instruments mentioned within the conductus texts of the Play of Daniel, andthe language usage is that of the psalms, but instead of praising the Lord, the singers are praising a king: "Simul omnes gratulemur; resonent et tympana; Cytharistae tangant cordas; musicorum organa resonet ad ejus praeconia."
tympana = drums cytharistae= stringed instrument players cordas = strings musicorum organa = instruments of music
What about the trumpet?
We are not even using a trumpet. The idea of trumpets in the Play of Daniel probably came from the New York Pro Musica version, where, in Greenberg's published edition there is a trumpet. It's not in the manuscript. For a heraldric effect, we are using shawm, which can play more notes, and will be in tune with the rest of the instruments. If we were going to be echt about using a reed instrument proper to the period, we would come closest by using a bladder pipe, but the one known bladder pipe player was already busy when I started hiring. (The bladder pipe information is from Joel Robinson, who is a maker and repairer of early reed instruments--bagpipes, cornamuses, dulcians, bassoons-- here in New York, and who was a participant in my earlier production. Joel was planning to move when I spoke to him last spring, so he may no longer be in NYC.) Listening to the NYPM's trumpets on their TV version, the key was so unrelated to the pieces on either side, I felt it was jarring.
What about dancing or gesture?
We also find words for dancing, applauding, and singing.Dancing is especially interesting because we are not used to the concept of liturgical dance any more. I'm referring to the word "tripudium" which is found in the same Darius processional that uses "cytharistae, cordas, musicorum organa, and tympana." The Oxford Latin Dictionary defines the noun "tripudium":
"..in religious service, a measured stamping, leaping, jumping, dancing, exultant dance, solemn dance." It is also a verb--tripudio, tripudiare--to beat the ground with the feet, leap, jump, etc.Drew, in his staging, has added dance to the processionals. I know there are, as I write, a group of scholars in Munich who are involved in creating a gigantic reference work of Latin words relating to music. Alex Blachly gave a talk for them in Munich, in 2000, on "Tactus."
Did you base your production edition on Greenberg’s and Weakland’s?
1) Instrumental accompaniments
My "edition" is not a picture in score of the resulting performance. I.e. there are no written-out instrumental accompaniment parts. The accompaniments in my version were the result of a collaborative effort on the part of all the musicians, both in my original production and in the present one. This is the normal way that early musicians work nowadays, anyway--maybe not in the 1950's and 1960's. Just as keyboard players are expected to be able to realize a figured bass, the players of any early music instruments today are expected to make their own ornaments, countermelodies, drones, etc. I cannot take credit for the musical arrangements one will hear--the credit goes to each instrumentalist who is participating. Greenberg, on the other hand, was interested in composing and took composition lessons when still in high school. (I learned this from his biography, Pied Piper, by James Gollin). Although I don't know for certain what he provided to his musicians at their first rehearsal before the 1958 premier, I would guess that he did in fact make a score which one could call an orchestration. It was a different time, and he came to early music by a different path than the early music performers of today.
2) Rhythmic interpretation My "edition" involves making only a rhythmic interpretation of the pitches, based on the poetic meters and accents, and even, in regard to the accents, being inconsistent in the interest of having strophic pieces set to the same tune in every verse. If one wants to compare my edition to that of Greenberg, the true comparison would be between what I've done, and what Rembert Weakland did in transcribing the music from original notation.When I compared my version to Weakland's, I found that I was basically in agreement with Weakland. It was other editors whose work I found to be impossible for the place and time of the play. Weakland, in fact, was superb, and the essay he wrote about the music provides the perfect introduction to the various genres one finds in the play. It's amazing, but not at all surprising, to see a well-educated Catholic priest, with an undoubtedly Jesuit early education, followed by graduate school in musicology, come up with such a well-organized and logically argued exposition of the various types of music in the anthology that constitutes the Play of Daniel. It's like the logic of the play itself.
Weakland, by the way, was a graduate student in musicology at Columbia, but did not become a professional musicologist. He subsequently worked his way up through the hierarchy of the church as a priest, eventually becoming Bishop of Milwaukee. Proper reference to him is "the Reverend Rembert Weakland, O.S.B."
I've often wondered whether he was in some way connected with Corpus Christi Church when he was at Columbia. That would be a nice tie-in with the connection between that institution and the early music scene in New York City. A little over 15 years ago, he presided over another production of the Play of Daniel at the Cathedral in Milwaukee. Charles Q. Sullivan, who is thanked in my acknowledgements, was music director at the Cathedral. Charles spoke to me at length about their production, and about working with Weakland.
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