The garden with countless windows
Voice and recorders in a different light
The garden with countless windows was, I say, endless… (Nikos Egonopoulos, Rodia=SO2H4)
Change, an unavoidable factor in our lives and those of our predecessors, is a recurrent theme in music and poetry throughout the centuries, and also the thread behind the story told in this record. In Nikos Egonopoulos’s poem Rodia=SO2H4 the poet dreams of a ‘garden with countless windows’: an impossible, ever-changing landscape in which seemingly incompatible stories can connect and interact to form a fascinating narrative. Inspired by this image, ÆroDynamic presents a collection of poetic and musical reflections on change. Change may come in different disguises, be it as a loverʼs contemplation (Sus une fontayne), the description of a terrible disaster (FACTA) or the yearly arrival of spring (Balloons). Change may be wished for when it adds something to our lives, be it honor (Resvellies vous), completeness (Quam pulchra es) or the outmost experience of change as the generation of a new life (In the alchemy of the world’s dream). But change is also feared when it takes the shape of feebleness, death, or confronting the unknown (Sotto l’imperio). Our fragility revealed, we seek supernatural protection to avoid or confront change (Stella maris, Sub tuam protectionem).
Johannes Ciconia (c1370–1412) was born in Liège but probably left his birthplace after his formation as a choir boy and made a career in Northern Italy, mainly Pavia and Padua. Sus une fontayne en remirant  is an impressive composition dated around 1390, when the composer was just about 20 years old. This virelai (one of the French standard poetic and musical forms known as formes fixes, with the structure ABBA’A) is an homage to the complex French musical tradition of the ars subtilior and particularly to Philipoctus de Caserta, who probably was Ciconia’s master in Pavia. Ciconia quotes three poetic and musical phrases by Caserta: En remirant, En attendant souffrir and De ma dolour. Rodia=SO2H4 (2004)  describes a dream in which love, desire and the subconscious create a surreal landscape. Speech and music fuse in Greek composer’s Aspasia Nasopoulou’s (*1972) lyric approach to this poem. The relatively high setting with an alto and bass recorder evokes a sensual and delicate atmosphere. Visual artist Alexandros Kyrkos recreated the world of Egonopoulos’s dream in a film that can be found on ÆroDynamic’s website. Resvelles vous et faites chiere lye  is an early work by Guillaume Dufay (c1397–1474) written to celebrate the marriage of Carlo Malatesta and Vittoria Colonna, which took place in Rimini on July 18th, 1423. Like Ciconia, Dufay pursued a career in Italy and serving at the Malatesta’s court was his first opportunity. He had met Carlo Malatesta during the Concile of Konstanz (1414–1418) and moved to Rimini in 1420.
Stella maris illustrans omnia is a cantilena, one of the oldest English polyphonic forms: a homophonic setting of a Latin text. Many thirteenth-century English cantilenas feature Marian texts, as it is the case in Stella maris, and present a very regular structure with phrases of equal length. The polyphonic double verses were originally intended to alternate with plainchant. The love of English musicians for parallel motion and the extensive use of the third and sixth provide a characteristic sonority, a rich harmonic texture with many triads, and a clear sense of direction toward the final formula of each phrase. English medieval music retained a certain simplicity until the fifteenth century, certainly in comparison with the complexities of the ars subtilior in Italy and France. A large amount of works by fifteenth-century English composers has been preserved in continental manuscripts (mainly in Italy and Germany), being a testimony of the English influence in the creation of a new international style. John Dunstaple might have been the most distinguished of these English composers: Respected not only as a musician, but also as a mathematician and astronomer, he probably travelled through Europe at the service of the Duke of Bedford. Already highly regarded during his life, several music theorists writing up to a century after his death still praised him highly.