St Bride's: Music - Musicke in the Ayre

St Bride's: Music - Lunchtime Recitals

Musicke in the Ayre

Friday, 22 March at 1:15pm - FREE ADMITTANCE - Retiring Collection

Musicke in the Ayre

Carmel Edwards – soprano
Din Ghani – lute

J-B Besard

Ma belle si ton âme                                       

T Campion

Never weatherbeaten sail

Oft have I sighed                                            

J Dowland

Flow my tears

Stay, time, awhile thy flying                      

R Johnson


Have you seen but a white lily  

E Moulinié

Enfin la beauté                                

A Boesset

N'espérez plus mes yeux                           


J'avois cru qu'en vous aymant  

M Lambert

Ma bergère

Ma belle si ton ame

Ma belle si ton ame, Se sent or allumer


De cette douce flame qui nous force d'aymer,

Allons contans, allons sur la verdure,

Allons tandis que dure nostre jeune printemps.


Avant que la journee de nostre age qui fuit

Se sent environee des ombres de la nuit,

Prenons loysir de vivre nostre vie

Et sans craindre l'envie baisons nous a plaisir.


Aymons donc a nostre aise, baisons, baisons nous fort,

Puis que plus l'on ne baise depuis que l'on est mort.

Voyons nous pas comme ja la jeunesse

Des plaisirs laronnesse fuit de nous a grand pas?

My beautiful one, if your soul now feels itself glowing

with this sweet flame which compels us to love,

let us go happily, let us go upon the greenery,

let us go while our young springtime lasts.


Before the day of our time passes,

feeling itself wrapped in the shadows of night,

let us take leisure in living our lives and,

without fear of rivalry, let us kiss at our pleasure.


So let us love at our ease, let us kiss passionately


For we can kiss no more when we are dead.

Let us not see how, already, youth

With its purloined pleasures flees from us in haste?

Enfin la beauté que j'adore

Enfin la beauté que j'adore

me fait cognoistre en son retour

qu'elle veut que je voye encore

ces yeux pour qui je meurs d'amour.

Mais puis que je revoy

la beauté qui m'enflame,

sortez, mes desplaisirs,

hostez vous de mon ame.


Le ciel voyant que son absence

m'oste tout mon contentement,

octroye à ma perseverance

la fin de mon cruel tourment.

Mais puis...


Mes maux changés vous en delices,

mon coeur arrestés vos douleurs,

Amour, bannissez mes supplices,

mes yeux, ne versez plus de pleurs:

Mais puis...

Finally, the beauty whom I adore

lets me know, upon her return,

that she is willing for me to see again

those eyes for which I die of love.

But since I again see

the beauty that inflames me,

leave, my unhappiness,

be parted from my soul.


The heavens, seeing that her absence

took away all my contentment,

acquiesced to my perseverence

by ending my cruel torment.

But since...


My wounds, change into delights,

my heart, cease your pains,

Love, banish my tortures, my eyes,

pour forth no more tears.

But since...

N'espérez plus mes yeux

N'espérez plus mes yeux,

De revoir en ces lieux la beauté que j'adore:

Le Ciel jaloux de mon bonheur

A ravy ma naissante aurore

par sa rigueur.


Les pleurs n'ont plus de lieux

Dans le coeur de ce

Dieu dont le feu me devore.

Le Ciel...


C'est en vain soupirer,

C'est en vain esperer le secours que j'implore.

Le Ciel....

Hope no more, my eyes,

To again see in these places, the beauty that I love:

Heaven, jealous of my happiness

Wrecked my rising hopes

with its harshness.


Crying no longer has an effect

In the heart of this

God whose fire has devoured me.



It is futile sighing,

It is in vain to hope for the relief I implore


J'avois crû qu'en vous aymant

J'avois crû qu'en vous aymant,

la douceur seroit extrême.

J'aurois crû qu'en vous aimant,

mon sort eût été charmant.


Mais, je me trompois, hélas!

Dois-je le dire moy-même?

Vous savez que je vous aime,

pourquoy ne m'aimez-vous pas?


Iris aime son Berger,

qu'en n'en faites vous de même?

Iris aime son Berger,

et ne veut point le changer.


Tous les jours pour vos appas,

je souffre une peine extrême.

Vous savez que je vous aime,

Pourquoy ne m'aimez-vous pas?

I had thought that, loving you

sweetness would be extreme

I would have thought that, loving you

my luck would have been charming.


But I was wrong, alas!

Do I have to say it myself?

You know that I love you,

why do you not love me?


Iris loves her shepherd,

why do you not do the same?

Iris loves her shepherd,

and does not want to change that.


Every day, for your charms,

I suffer an extreme pain

You know that I love you,

why do you not love me?

Ma bergere est tender et fidelle

Ma bergere est tender et fidelle,

Mais, helas! Son amour n'egalle pas le mien;

Elle ayme son troupeau, sa houlette et son chien,

Et je ne scaurois aymer qu'elle

My shepherdess is tender and faithful.

But alas! Her love is not the equal of mine;

She loves her flock, her crook and her dog,

And I would only be able to love her

Chantement Cordiale

Although the French air de cour and the English lute song share the magic of a solo voice wedded to the sound of a lute, they represent quite different evolutionary paths. During the last few decades of the 16th century the 'air de cour' emerged as a vocal genre (mainly polyphonic) based on courtly poetry of a light and diverting nature. The publication in 1571 of such songs arranged for solo voice and lute by Adrian le Roy showed that this was a known practice, but it was not until 1603 we again see airs de cour published with tablature for the lute. Between 1608 and 1643, the Ballard family firm published 25 books of airs in this format. The first six contained airs by

various authors set for voice and lute by Gabrielle Bataille, but composers such as Moulinié and Boesset published their own works both for voice/lute settings and for 4 to 5 voices on their own. The second half of the century saw a shift from courtly airs to various forms sung in other settings, such as fashionable salons of Paris: these included 'airs serieux', 'airs a boire', airs a danse', 'chansonettes and 'brunettes'. Over a thousand serious airs were published anonymously by the Ballard firm during that period. There was also a shift towards monody and the use of basso continuo - although the lute (or the theorbo) was still the instrument of choice for realising the accompaniment from the bass line.

16th century England would have seen similar approaches to creating voice and lute versions of vocal polyphony. John Dowland would have heard what the French were doing with airs de cour when he was in France in 1580-2. It was he who launched the English lute ayre with his First Book of Songs in 1597 - this was so popular it was reprinted four times, and over 30 similar books of lute ayres were published over the next 25 years. Dowland's ayres showed some French influence, but the highly contrapuntal madrigals and consort songs which were very popular earlier also left their mark on this new genre: the lute part was often idiomatically crafted rather than adapted from lower parts of a part-song. Although many shared the lightness of the air de cour, Dowland in particular explored the deeper reaches of melancholia.

In the few years after 1622, many of the major composers died, and little music was printed until the middle of the century; most of the music surviving from that 2nd quarter are in manuscript. Although Robert Johnson was active during the lute song publishing era, he did not publish a book of ayres: most of his work was for the theatre or court masques, with songs of a more declamatory nature. The use of tablature gave way to 'thorough-bass', which would allow professional musicians greater flexibility in instrumentation and interpretation. It is clear that the English absorbed ideas from France and Italy more readily than the French, where the shift to basso continuo did not happen until the second half of the century.

Musicke in the Ayre was formed by Din Ghani in 2011 as a vehicle for exploring and performing the vast repertoire of C16/17 works for solo voice/s accompanied by lute or similar, with a growing band of singers and other instrumentalists who share his passion for lute song. Now established as a leading performer of this repertoire, they, with contributions from over 20 singers both amateur and professional, have given over 115 recitals across the country and abroad, including seven at the National Portrait Gallery, seven at the Foundling Museum and eight at the Holburne Museum in Bath.

Carmel Edwards has been singing since the age of five, and sings as a soloist or with choral groups in and around the East Midlands. In Nottingham she sang with Farnaby & Co, a small musical ensemble specialising in madrigals. She studies with Nick Clapton in Oxford, and has taken part in masterclasses with Dame Emma Kirkby and Evelyn Tubb. She enjoys singing a range of music, but particularly loves early music.  As well as being now on her sixth outing as part of Musicke in the Ayre, Carmel collaborates with lutenist Nick Gravestock to present concerts in Tudor houses in period costume, as Ayres and Graces. She has written and performed in her own show 'Cissie's Songbook', based on the music of Ivor Novello.

Din Ghani began playing the lute in 1975, and in the last decade took up luthery: he has made a number of lutes and other early plucked string instruments, mostly for his own use, though for this concert he is using an 8-course lute made by Stephen Barber and Sandi Harris.  Since 2007 he has participated regularly as an accompanist in lutesong masterclasses given by Dame Emma Kirkby and Evelyn Tubb. The coaching received from David Miller and Michael Fields at these events helped hone his accompaniment skills, together with occasional lessons from other top lutenists, Liz Kenny in particular.
Twitter:  @musicke_in_ayre

Musicke in the Ayre was formed by lutenist/luthier Din Ghani in 2011 to explore the vast repertoire of C16/17 songs with lute or continuo. Now established as a leading performer of this genre, they have given over 115 recitals across the country and abroad, with contributions from over 20 singers. This is the sixth appearance for Derbyshire-based soprano Carmel Edwards who now focusses on early music, after exploring a wide range of repertoire. She studies with Nicholas Clapton and has participated in masterclasses given by Dame Emma Kirkby and Evelyn Tubb. Din brings over 40 years of lute experience to the task of song accompaniment, a skill he has honed over the last 15 years.