Musikalisch​-​Türckischer Eulen​-​Spiegel

by Simplicissimus Ensemble

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Georg Daniel Speer (Breslau, 2 July 1636 – Göppingen, 5 October 1709) was a German writer and composer. His collection titled Musikalisch-Türckischer Eulen-Spiegel was published in 1688 in Ulm under the pseudonym Dacianischer Simplicissimus. The first 24 songs (out of 41) form a cantata for tenor and figured bass. The protagonist of the loosely connecting episodes is Lompyn, a professional fool with a great appetite. After convincing the sultan with a joke to release him, Lompyn is in the service of a Hungarian nobleman, Gergely, who is in Turkish captivity. He tells him about his adventures, which include the Turkish Grand Vizier, the beautiful miller, the Patriarch of Moscow, as well as a Turkish-Hungarian duel, and of course his own pleasures and sorrows in love. The songs are always framed with a Central European dance for a five-part instrumental ensemble, which returns between verses – either in original double meter, or in “proportion”, in triple meter. At the end of the movement there is always an "omnia", a moralizing song played by all the musicians.
In his preface, Speer tells us that the names of the dances are not only given “pro forma”, but he personally heard them on their original spot. If his claim is correct, then what we have here are musical documents of his travels in the 1650s and 1660s in Upper Hungary and Transylvania. He describes these travels in his (doubtful) Ungarischer oder Dacianischer Simplicissimus published in 1683. As the style of the dances are close to the Central German traditions, it seems certain that the dances were not written for Central European communities but for citizens of distant Protestant lands. The additional part of the publication also includes works with genres popular in the Protestant region; sonatas for various combinations of brass instruments or for two violins and bassoon (No. 25–30, 31–32), and a nine-movement suite in c minor for a five-part string ensemble (33–41, on this disc: track 14–22).
The dances of the Musikalisch-Türkischer Eulen-Spiegel played an important role in the early history of the Simplicissimus Ensemble. In June 2012, the then nameless formation was invited to Tilos Radio's Folk Music Programme. The ensemble held a presentation about the differences between baroque and modern string instruments, as well as about the appearance of folk music in the art music of the era. It was in connection to this presentation that Zsombor Németh found the printed music of Speer, to which the folk music concordances were collected by Máté Vizeli. Speer's dances were regularly played at the ensemble's concerts at this time, so they were named Simplicissimus Ensemble in February 2013. Dances, folk music concordances, and some of the songs from Musikalisch Türckischer Eulen-Spiegel were featured at their concert in 30 January 2014 at the Óbudai Társaskör. A reduced and further polished version of the aforementioned concert was recorded in September 2015. In contrast to the earlier version, the ensemble returned to the more authentic one-per-part performance, but kept the combination of 8’ (cello) and 16’ (contrabass) which is a quite modern solution. Recorders, hurdy-gurdy, and percussions were added to some movements according to the performance practice of the era.
Only one folk music reference is played in the first half of the series; the ungaresca from the Starck Virginal Book (track 7). In the second part of the dances, a fast csárdás from Gyimes (Ghimeș) (track 24), a “pontozó” from Magyarbece (Beţa) (track 28), a “szökős” from Magyarszovát (Suatu) (track 29) can be heard, as well as the Kis kece lányom (track 31), Az a híres Szent István (track 32) and Fehér fuszulykavirág (track 34) folksongs, later as a csárdás and “szapora” from Kalotaszeg (Țara Călatei). It is a coincidence, but the melody of the famous polish cartoon Miś Uszatek, which was “folklorised” in the 20th century has a direct parallel to the No. 22. Wallachisch ballet (track 33).


released March 12, 2019

Zsombor Németh – Baroque violin, Baroque viola
Máté Vizeli – Baroque violin, Baroque & Hungarian folk viola
Noémi Kabdebó – Baroque viola
Réka Nagy – Baroque cello, viola da gamba
Tamás Király – violone, gardon
Dénes Harmath– harpsichord, organ, octave spinet
Dávid Kéringer – recorders, whistle

Eszter Farkas – Baroque viola
Kriszta Véghelyi – Baroque viola
Balázs Vizeli – Hungarian folk violin
Bálint Vizeli – Hungarian folk violin
Béla Szerényi Jr. – hurdy-gurdy
László Szlama – cobza
Lőrincz Kéringer – percussion

Recorded on:
September 8-9., 2015 (tracks 1-12, 24-35)
October 24, 2015 (tracks 13, 23)
May 18-19, 2016 (tracks 14-22)
Recorded at Rolebo Studio
Sound Engineer: Levente Bors Rossa
Cover art: Zsuzsa Szilágyi N. after the original cover of "Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch"


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Simplicissimus Ensemble Budapest, Hungary

The ensemble was formed in 2012 and has a flexible size that changes according to the style and attributes of the concerts. Their repertoire ranges from the beginning of the 17th c. to the end of the 18th c. Its objective is not only to restore the musical characteristics of the respective era and composer; but further to ensure that the pieces convey the same revelation as in their time. ... more

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