[f_minor] John Sankey's MIDI treasury of Byrd's compositions

Houpt, Fred fred.houpt at rbc.com
Thu Aug 19 11:37:51 EDT 2010

Hi Brad and all, 

I have stayed out of this discussion because I have been busy, but I
just wanted to throw a few words in here.  What I find interesting is
that European music took that long to find a composer who could invent,
as Brad says, solo keyboard music.  In India, for a pertinent example,
solo instrument music has been around for at least 2000 years or more.
How odd that their music evolved in a very complex and elaborate way and
it took Europeans a very long time to realize the musical potentials of
solo instrument writing....which led eventually to
construction/invention of bigger, stronger and more acoustically robust
instruments.  We went from simple hammered dulcimers, harps,
harpsichords all the way up to monster concert Grand Bossendorfers!  How
odd again that Indian musical instruments have remained, by and large,
mostly unchanged....

Kind regards,

Fred Houpt


-----Original Message-----
From: f_minor-bounces at glenngould.org
[mailto:f_minor-bounces at glenngould.org] On Behalf Of Brad Lehman
Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2010 11:08 AM
To: Discussion of the Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.
Subject: Re: [f_minor] John Sankey's MIDI treasury of Byrd's

Heh, heh!  My opinion: better to lay out $18 or $20 as a start, and get
top-of-the-line performances on a good instrument (and the type of
instrument the composer expected), than to invest $0 and get
non-performances on an instrument (computer+MIDI) the composer never
heard of.

Byrd's music is at the top of the repertoire, in musical quality and
importance.  The man basically *invented* solo keyboard music as a
serious genre, by arranging his C minor viol-consort pavan as a keyboard
solo, giving it suitable figuration idiomatic to the keyboard.  He
brought the instrument out of being a tool only for accompaniment or for
improvisation, and gave it its own stage.  He's certainly among the "top
5" harpsichord composers before Bach's lifetime.

So, his music deserves the best possible treatment that experts can give
it, the real thing(*), not just a cheap or free trek through the mere

I suppose that hearing the MIDI version is somehow arguably better than
hearing nothing.  Maybe.  In the same way, a digitized photo of a
hippopotamus gives at least some very vague impression about what a real
hippo is like, before meeting one.

(*)Gratuitous Coca-Cola reference....

Brad Lehman

On 8/19/2010 10:45 AM, Robert Merkin wrote:
> Be gentle with me, Brad!
> In your world, Byrd and his compositions, and live and recorded 
> performers banging them out on ancient pre-piano keyboards, are as 
> common as Coca-Cola and store-brand aspirin.
> On my planet, Elizabethan composers more resemble unicorns and hens'
> teeth. I've just never heard any of these delightful pavans and 
> galliards before.  (...)


This e-mail may be privileged and/or confidential, and the sender does not waive
any related rights and obligations. Any distribution, use or copying of this e-mail or the information
it contains by other than an intended recipient is unauthorized.
If you received this e-mail in error, please advise me (by return e-mail or otherwise) immediately.

Ce courriel peut contenir des renseignements protégés et confidentiels.
L’expéditeur ne renonce pas aux droits et obligations qui s’y rapportent.
Toute diffusion, utilisation ou copie de ce courriel ou des renseignements qu’il contient
par une personne autre que le destinataire désigné est interdite.
Si vous recevez ce courriel par erreur, veuillez m’en aviser immédiatement, 
par retour de courriel ou par un autre moyen.

More information about the f_minor mailing list