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The Night Watch : There Comes A Ship A-Sailing

The Night Watch : There Comes A Ship A-Sailing

'There comes a ship a sailing' is a traditional German nativity carol which accumulated verses through the late mediaeval, renaissance and early baroque periods. The first two verses are from a ms. dated 1470-80, now in the Royal Library, Berlin; the remaining verses are from Jan Suderman, 'Gesange' ('Song'), 1626; and the melody is that given for it in 'Andernach Gesangbuch' ('Andernach Hymns'), Köln, 1608. Ian of The Night Watch has made his own attempt to put the original German words into modern English.

Played on psaltery and gittern from The Night Watch's show, 'Drive the Cold Winter Away', Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), 7 December 2012.

The Night Watch : Noël nouvelet

The Night Watch : Noël nouvelet

'Noël nouvelet' is a traditional French new year carol, originating in the early 15th century and becoming one of the most popular of the 16th century. The earliest complete source for the words is the Arsénal ms. 3653 in Paris, copied in the 1490s, a beautiful representation by a professional scribe for a high born family of the different types of noël or Christmas song in the French oral tradition. The Arsénal ms. does not give the tune, which did not appear in writing until the 17th century. The words used here are selected and translated from the 'Grande Bible des noels, tant vieux que nouveaux' ('Large Book of carols, both old and new'), published in 1721. The refrain, "Noël nouvelet, Noël chantons icy" means roughly, 'New Christmas song, Christmas song sing here!' The hymn writer John M. C. Crum made the tune more widely known by setting his hymn, 'Now The Green Blade Riseth', to it in 1928.

From The Night Watch's show, 'Drive the Cold Winter Away', Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), 7 December 2012.

The Night Watch : Holde thy peace / Three merry men

The Night Watch : Holde thy peace / Three merry men

'Holde thy peace' and 'Three merry men' are mentioned in Act 2, Scene 3 of William Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night' (c.1600-1601), a scene which is full of music and musical references.

'Holde thy peace', a catch for three voices, first appeared in print in Thomas Ravenscroft's 'Deuteromelia', 1609. 'Twelfth Night' predates 'Deuteromelia' by nearly a decade and Ravenscroft would have been only 10 or 11 years old when 'Twelfth Night' was written.

The words and music of 'Three merry men' are included in a 17th century common-place book, date unknown, in the handwriting of the same John Playford who compiled and published 'The Dancing Master'. The words of the song are also quoted in an anonymous tract of 1605 (by C.T.), 'Laugh and Lie Down', and quoted or sung in many contemporaneous plays. There is only verse and it is not a catch or a canon, but we have made it one.

From The Night Watch's show, 'Drive the Cold Winter Away', Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), 7 December 2012.

The Night Watch : Lamento di Tristano & La Rotta

The Night Watch : Lamento di Tristano & La Rotta

The Night Watch play Lamento di Tristano & La Rotta, recorded at The Woodman Folk Club. These paired anonymous dance tunes are from Italy, c.1390, in the Harley 29987 ms., now in the British Museum. It was common for dances of later eras to be paired, most notably the slow, elegant pavan and the lively, energetic galliard of the renaissance. We don't know who the Tristano of the title was, but it is possible that it relates to the tragic story of Tristan and Isolde, which inspired much music over the centuries.

The rotta is a mediaeval stringed instrument, a type of lyre which developed from the ancient Greek kithara or cithara. Examples of early rottas are found in miniatures from the 8th to the 14th century. An actual instrument was found in an Alamannic tomb in the Black Forest, dated 4th-7th century, now preserved in the Volker Museum, Berlin.

The Night Watch : a log of the Winter Warmer

The Night Watch : a log of the Winter Warmer

Extracts from Winter Winter, The Night Watch's sold-out show at The Artrix, Bromsgrove, on the theme of winter and Christmas early music.

Items in this video:

Edi Beo Thu, Hevene Quene, anon. England, late 13th century - voices, simfony, gittern
Noel Nouvelet, trad. France, 15th-17th c. - voices, gittern, shawm
Adam lay i-bowndyn (Adam lay ybounden), anonymous, England, c.1400 - voice, simfony
Never weather-beaten sail, Thomas Campion, England, 1613 - voice, treble lute
branle de l'Official, trad. France, 16th c. - recorder, cittern
Tourdion: When I'm drinking claret, trad. France, 16th c. - voices, rebec, 4 course guitar
The Night Watch, Anthony Holborne, England, 1597 - recorder, 4 course guitar
branle de la torche, trad. France, 16th c., trad. Germany, 17th c. - recorders, 4 course guitar, shawm, ankle bells
westron wynde, anon. England, 16th c. - voices, gemshorn, gittern
There comes a ship a-sailing, trad. Germany, 15th-17th c. - psaltery, gittern, voice
Remember O thou man, Thomas Ravenscroft, England, 1611 - voices, 4 course guitar, recorder

The Night Watch : When that I was and a little tiny boy (Twelfth Night)

The Night Watch : When that I was and a little tiny boy (Twelfth Night)

When that I was and a little tiny boy, sung by Feste in the epilogue to William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Performed on treble lute and bass recorder by The Night Watch, from Winter Winter, their sold-out show at The Artrix, Bromsgrove, on the theme of winter and Christmas early music.

The Night Watch : Lully, lulla, thow littell tiné child (Coventry Carol)

The Night Watch : Lully, lulla, thow littell tiné child (Coventry Carol)

Lully, lulla, thow littell tiné child, performed on treble lute and recorder by The Night Watch, from Winter Winter, their sold-out show at The Artrix, Bromsgrove, on the theme of winter and Christmas early music

Lully, lulla, thow littell tiné child is from manuscripts, c.1534 and 1591, from the Pageant of Shearmen & Tailors in the Coventry mystery play cycle, traditionally performed during the festival of Corpus Christi, late May to mid-June. The song is commonly known today as Coventry Carol.

The Night Watch : Grene growith the holy

The Night Watch : Grene growith the holy

Grene growith the holy (Green groweth the holly), attributed to Henry Tudor, Henry VIII of England, 1491-1547, reigned 1509-1547. Performed on recorder and gittern by The Night Watch, from Winter Winter, their sold-out show at The Artrix, Bromsgrove, on the theme of winter and Christmas early music.

Listeners with good ears will spot the Freudian slip in the words of the first verse. We were intending to sing that Henry VIII (if he was the author) had "ever" been true unto his lady, but an extra consonant slipped out, more representative of the man ...

The Night Watch : In the Fields in Frost and Snows

The Night Watch : In the Fields in Frost and Snows

In the Fields in Frost and Snows by Thomas D'Urfey, England. The tune appeared in the 1710, 1714, 1718, and 1728 editions of John Playford's The Dancing Master (multiple editions from 1651 to 1728). It appears to have been written by, and was first published by, Thomas D'Urfey (1653--1723) in his play, Wonders in the Sun, or, The Kingdom of the Birds (1706). The song was also printed in volume 2 of the 1719 edition of D'Urfey's more famous publication, Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy. The words of In the Fields in Frost and Snows reveal it to be the earliest known version of the song that later became Old MacDonald Had A Farm!

Performed on cittern and cornamuse by The Night Watch, from Winter Winter, their sold-out show at The Artrix, Bromsgrove, on the theme of winter and Christmas early music

The Night Watch : interview with early instruments demonstration

The Night Watch : interview with early instruments demonstration

The Night Watch demonstrate some of their instruments for listeners to
Genevieve Tudor's Sunday Folk programme on BBC Radio Shropshire, 3 April 2011: oud, cornamuse, gittern, gemshorn, with passing references to recorders and cittern.

The Night Watch : We Be Soldiers Three (castle version)

The Night Watch : We Be Soldiers Three (castle version)

'WEe be Souldiers three' was published by - and probably written by - collector and composer Thomas Ravenscroft, in his 'Deuteromelia' (1609). The French line, "pardona moy je vous an pree" (original spelling) means "pardon me, I pray you" or "pardon me, I beg you".

The Night Watch : Schools Promo (longer version, 9.44)

The Night Watch : Schools Promo (longer version, 9.44)

Promotional film (longer version*) for The Night Watch's school workshops in early music and history. The school on the day of filming requested an emphasis on Tudor music, dance, and crime and punishment.

For more information, see http://www.the-night-watch.org.uk

* See our channel for shorter version.

The Night Watch : Schools Promo (short version, 4.04)

The Night Watch : Schools Promo (short version, 4.04)

Promotional film (short version*) for The Night Watch's school workshops in early music and history. The school on the day of filming requested an emphasis on Tudor music, dance, and crime and punishment. For more information, see http://www.the-night-watch.org.uk

* See our channel for longer version.

The Night Watch : We Be Soldiers Three (launch version)

The Night Watch : We Be Soldiers Three (launch version)

'WEe be Souldiers three' was published by - and probably written by - collector and composer Thomas Ravenscroft, in his 'Deuteromelia' (1609). The French line, "pardona moy je vous an pree" (original spelling) means "pardon me, I pray you" or "pardon me, I beg you". The images in the video are from Ravenscroft's book.