Pavane I and II
The vihuela book 'Libro de Musica de Vihuela', 1536, by Luys Milán, is the earliest of the seven printed books of music which have come down to us. Milan was a well-travelled courtier and musician, perhaps a diplomat, whose music is composed of a style which he called ‘consonaces et redobles’, or chords and divisions (scale passages). This is the earliest style of vihuela music and though is does not exhibit the personal instrumental style of Narvŕez and Mudarra, his slightly younger contemporaries, it has a majesty which is breathtaking. Milán’s Pavans are in the Italian style of dance music, with two long beats representing the two slow steps taken in a processional dance. But the composer includes various devices which help the enliven the prosaic chords: repetition of motives in different registers and at different volumes, then a novel effect; and the inclusion of short passages of quicker notes which break up the rhythm and give the piece the quality of improvisation. Each of the pavanes has three short sections which are incorporated into a single piece. I play the two pieces together to highlight their different keys and textures.
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