The late Renaissance saw a flowering of secular vocal music, as well as the transformation of the function of music in general. The oldest surviving keyboard manuscript in the world, the Faenza Codex, contains dozens of keyboard arrangements of late 14th-century Italian and French vocal works. For this program, Blair McMillen has arranged and interspersed six Faenza examples with a wide-ranging set of works both new and very old. Every piece relates directly or indirectly to the Faenza, to the sound-world and spirit of late medieval instrumental music, and to the spirit of keyboard playing and improvising. “Faenza Codex, Here and Now” also includes two works commissioned by Blair: Jon Magnussen’s Toccare! and Fabrizio de Rossi Re’s amplified/vocal-piano piece Hurucane. This program, more than anything, pays tribute to the many-centuries-old tradition of keyboard playing, performing, arranging, and extemporizing.


Works to be performed on the “Faenza Codex, Here and Now” program include:

Faenza Codex:
Anonymous, Constantia
Francesco Landini, Che pena questa (“How it Pains my Heart”)
Guillaume de Machaut, De tout flors (“Among the Flowers”)
Ottorino Respighi, Three Preludes on Gregorian Melodies
Girolamo Frescobaldi, Toccata No. 1, Book 2
Jon Magnussen, Toccare!
John Adams, China Gates
Faenza Codex:
Anonymous, Bel fiore danca (“Beautiful Flower Dance”)
Anonymous, (untitled)
Jacopo da Bologna, Aquila Altera (“Proud Eagle”)
Fabrizio De Rossi Re, Hurucane (“Demon-Spirit of the Wind”)
Giacinto Scelsi, Five Incantations

Faenza selections arranged by Blair McMillen