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Felix Kadlinský: The Nightingale-In-Despite (Zdoroslavíček) 
Ritornello Fraucimor, Michael Pospíšil

F1 0140  [8595017414022]
TT- 66:10, released 5/2005

The famous set of songs known as the TRUTZ-NACHTIGAL by the Jesuit Fridrich Spee von Langenfeld, completed in 1634, was to be reprinted many times in German. It was beautifully translated into Czech by the Jesuit FELIX KADLINSKY and published under the title of ZDORO-SLAVICEK, first in 1665. It contains 52 texts of songs to 25 melodies. Some melodies can fit different texts and vice versa, a practice we still sometimes follow today. The individual songs soon spread to “normal“ hymnbooks as well, where they survived at the least into the 19th century. Paradoxically, a music typically intimate in style, delicate, designed for private prayer and contemplation, became so popular that it found itself arranged in crowd chorales…

  1. When Day appears.   4:27
  2. Soon as the Day.   6:12 
  3. I sat (not long ago).   7:26 
  4. He that a Masterpiece.   5:31 
  5. Now that the Sky clears once again.   4:39
  6. When on a morn not long ago.   4:52
  7. Oh Melancholy of the heart.   5:31
  8. Oh how manifest the pleasure.   3:19
  9. Open oh faithful soul.   5:15
  10. It was full Moon.   5:07
  11. Not long ago the Shepherd was pasturing his sheep.   5:08
  12. After the beautiful days of Easter.   4:22
  13. Awake oh Birds most kind. & Song rare and sweet.   4:57

RITORNELLO FRAUCIMOR, directed by Michael Pospíšil
Hana Blažíková - vocal, harp, drum
Kateřina Doležalová - vocal, harp
Hana Fleková - viola di gamba
Simona Holubcová - theorba
Jana Lewitová - vocal, harp, viola
Lenka Mitášová - lutes, harp, Baroque guitar
Tereza Pavelková - recorder, organ positive, vocal
Blažena Pecháčková - vocal, violin, pochette, harp
Michael Pospíšil - vocal, whistle-pipe, cornett, chalumeaux, organ positive


If each era has seen the World from the perspective of “its” discoveries, and so today we give them such retrospective titles as “The Stone Age“, “The Bronze Age“, and “The Iron Age“, what will our grandchildren (if there are any) make of our present era? “The Plastic Age“, maybe. Or perhaps “The Polythene Age“? Be honest now, and admit that our civilisation is distinctive for its attempts at isolation, its typical queasiness fastidiousness. Dirt is to be constantly separated from dirt, dust from dust. Not that cleanliness is a new invention, but advertising on all sides keeps trying to convince us that it is in fact new, and that we desperately need to “protect” ourselves. Hence the modern proliferation of protective wrappings, films, “foil” (as if from the Spanish for folly, “Follia”) interposed between people. And not just condoms either, but all the other “means of communication“ like telephones and computers. The modern media divide us, increase the distance between us, and all the while present themselves as the kindest of mediators. We are buying our own viruses “wrapped up“ in anti-viruses (computer, bodily and moral). This is a World from which Man seeks an escape route. We may laugh, but 300 years from now future archaeologists may well start researching the rubber surfaces of old chewing gum spat out at bus stops, and (rightly) attributing a cult purpose to them.

Baroque man, in his intense physicality, had a brilliant feeling for illusion. Fiction is expressed for example by the imitation of the natural structure of wood, or wood painted to look like stone or stone like wood. Or a wig with tresses. Panting, sweatiness, discomfort, physical waste. That is also the Baroque. And its “Safety Valve” was the Bucolic, i.e. natural and pastoral motifs in art, a kind of equivalent to our ecology. Perhaps we all, fortunately, carry within ourselves a secret taste to put on another Body and, having learned from our failures, defeats, mistakes and stupidities, the desire to live a pure, good life. Today the notion of dressing oneself in another Person, what one might call a “partial reincarnation” still survives at least in the experience of love...But does it provide lessons for our descendants? Well, most of them seem unfruitful and in fact incommunicable. The Baroque Bucolic deserves more space and attention than is possible on the pages of a “Booklet,“ since for a long time the Bucolic was precisely the “Medicina Vitae“ of its age, the enjoyment of partial reincarnation. Panting Baroque man would put off his wig, dress up in light, stylised and beribboned “pastoral“ clothes and set out into Nature, to the Forest Glade, under the Cliff or just to the Garden. Essential equipment included a musical instrument, a demijohn of good wine and a haunch of meat. Incidentally, not many people know what the ribbons actually symbolised. The word fábory meaning “streamers” in Czech comes from the Italian favore = favour, and the context here was “amatory trophies“, ribbons from women’s undergarments, that accompanied and commemorated gallantry, “flirtation”, adventures in love!

What kind of people were they? Judge for yourself. During the campaign of cruel and irration “with trials” Fridrich Spee (1591 – 1635 Trier), Jesuit, priest, poet and missionary, was not afraid to “seize“ a hundred accused women, flee with them into a church and refuse to allow the inquisition to get at them. He saved them from burning... And Felix Kadlinsky (*18. X. 1613 Tyn nad Vltavou – + 15. XI. 1675 Uherske Hradiste), Jesuit, priest, poet, translator into Czech from various languages, economist and missionary was cut from the same cloth:, in 1643 when the Swedish forces invaded the Czech town of Jičín he had a slight “tussle“ with the mercenaries and so saved his fellow Jesuit, “pater regent“ from being shot. This impudence earned him a furious sword blow on the head from another soldier and he was left in a pool of blood. Kadlinsky survived and recovered but suffered the effects of the wound for the rest of his life. In a later incident just before Christmas the rapacious Swedes demanded a “firing fee” (i.e. a bribe for not burning down the Jičín College, and clearly the whole town with it). Kadlinsky wrote a letter to their officer Balli in which he explained why it was good to celebrate the festival, begged to be excused from paying a huge sum beyond the college’s resources, and appended a holy picture ...The appeal had a sobering effect on the jaded warrior; Balli not only excused the college from payment, but even returned 16 stolen horses...

In his ORBIS SENSUALIUM PICTUS (No XX.) the great Czech man of letters Comenius writes that “Luscinia (philoméla) cantat suavissime omnium“ – “The Nightingale sings the most sweetlly of all“. The nightingale has different names with different derivations in different languages: Luscinia, Philomela, Nachtigall, Rosignol, Usignuol... In Czech it is called “slavík” or “slaviček“ in the diminutive version. Czech literature has made abundant use of the etymological kinship and related sound of the “slavík“, nightingale, with “slavit“ [“to glorify“], ”slovo“ [“word“], and “slava“ [“Glory“ ] and has developed a vivid “nightingale metaphorics“... Our poetry is swarming with nightingales, and so are the titles of our books. Why by the way do people consider the song of the nightingale the most beautiful of birdsongs? Perhaps one reason is that it is slower and deeper than the voices of other birds, and so generally easier for human beings to identity and reproduce, relatively “tonal“ and “comprehensible“. The famous set of songs known as the TRUTZ-NACHTIGAL by the Jesuit Fridrich Spee von Langenfeld (+1637), completed in 1634 but only published posthumously in 1649, was to be reprinted many times in German. It was beautifully translated into Czech by the Jesuit Felix Kadlinsky and published under the title of ZDORO-SLAVÍČEK, first in 1665, and in a second edition (dedicated to the Jicin choral brotherhood) in 1726. It contains 52 texts of songs to 25 melodies with general bass accompaniment taken from the German original. Some melodies can fit different texts and vice versa, a practice we still sometimes follow today. The individual songs soon spread to “normal“ hymnbooks as well, where they survived at the least into the 19th century. Paradoxically, a music typically intimate in style, delicate, designed for private prayer and contemplation, became so popular that it found itself arranged in crowd chorales. The “Enlightened“ nineteenth century already found the poetic images of the songs uncomfortable and altered the (perhaps obscurantist“?) name of Jesus, replacing it with “Melis“... And what shall we call Him? Who is the Nightingale-in-Despite? It seems appropriate to answer that question as we might properly answer all questions of metaphors of the divine, not seeking to give them too fixed a shape, responding to the commandment not to represent god or give him palpable form, not to make any “graven images” (statues, pictures) that might weaken, or diffuse the faith of Man, replace the Reason for All Things with a mask. The commandment seeks to prevent opportunities for the “abuse” and “manipulation“ of the true God. This is why Bridel for example in his “Meditation on the Heavens“ (see our CD “MISSA SUPER...“) regards the visible “heaven“ (= Sky) as a mere covering for the true Heaven (as State and Place). It hides but also signifies; it signifies but also hides. And so, across the gulf of 350 years, all I shall to is “prompt“. Who then IS Zdoro-Slavicek, the Nightingale-in-Despite: He IS (most probably) Christ, who sits in the Tree of Life (= on the Cross) and despite (“zdoro“ ) everything he sings to other Nightingales; he sings not only Glorious praises to the Father, but also to us, Mankind. And who are the other nightingales? As in a mirror, we are all supposed to be the nightingales!

As we interpret and perform them, words shod in music usually walk twice as slow as words simply read. Slowed down, but in rhythm, in a fixed order rather than free and unbounded, the flow of the text is easier to perceive, can be comprehended in a way more profound (and certainly not just as sound). It is a question of understanding one’s own Body through Singing. And understanding the Soul through the Body. The same is true for example of rhythm in the exercises of St Ignatius Loyola. The literary historians of our time often opine that the “Nightingale-in-Despite“ was probably read out rather than sung and the melodies were just “added extras“ (just for show). Frankly, this would be rather an impractical and expensive joke on the part of the Jesuits Fridrich Spee and Felix Kadlinsky! Alas, the view is yet another testimony to the decline of universal musicality; apparently out modern readers, even the relatively well-educated ones, just can’t get through to the heart of a poem through the ears or the lips. This is a painful and short-sighted approach, since the research of “specialists“ on the words and “specialists” on the music have (often irreversibly) divided the two elements of the same song. Might this be a sign that in our modern era music-noise so occupies the Ears that the real meaning of a poem cannot get through to the Soul? That what we have lost is precisely that typically “Baroque” principle of “litany“ based on the simple, “mechanical“ repetition of a number of (musical) formulae, ostinata, „loops“, verses – that leads to a deeper submersion not in the words but in their significance, meaning and direction. People previously sang to themselves a great deal more, because no one was forcing them to listen to “perfect“ re-reproduction from some form of media. Many people had their own little songs, learned them more quickly, remembered them longer, and would happily sing fifty verses of the same. After all, they sang for the pleasure of singing, and not to stop again immediately! Ah! Ah!

“Aperitif“ to the Book of the Poet and our feeble game of copying “Mother Nature“
Ars Amandi Christian – Love.making at Dawn is the most certain...it changes Dream into Day
“Muteta Echologicka“=Moteto echoing with sighs - Ach – directed into Eternity...
Passacaglia Bells and Little Bells sound from the outside, a call to wonder: “O Man ponder on it...“
“Spite”: In the midst of the village of the World of Sweetness the Nightingale willingly sings even to the death...
Vanitas – To Wilt in the evanescent Breeze of Time is a Divine Idea of genius and even folly...
Duetto Of Sighs with Mary Magdalene – The Penitent Dove: Hassler->Spee->Bach->?
Paradisus -Eden, Nectar and the Honey of Little Bees in Jesus’s Hair (like the beard of Dumbledore)
Memento of the Archangel Michael with his Flaming Sword (1-3.verses) in the Soul of Man (4-6.verses)
Luna as a Shepherd, Stars as a Flock – even Darkness is only part of the Light of Lights, Good is the greatest
“Via Crucis” = Bucolic Calvary – just another “Shepherd“ and “Sheep”“ metaphor...
“Pastorella”, or Easter Cowboy whooping..Our silly Beasts...“
“Epilogus” of the Poet, tearful, wonder-struck, put together by us from two texts and two melodies.

At a time when Gentlemen and Ladies sat separately in the church, each with his or her own, what befitted whom was generally accepted. And so if a lady wore trousers and a gentleman a skirt, they had some very good reason to do it... FRAUCIMOR means the world of women in general. Derived from the German “Frauen-Zimmer“ or “Womens‘ Chamber“ it meant doors through which men did not enter... It was not just about gossip, embroidery and carpet making, but also about a specific atmosphere that today – alas – is disappearing. Today we know that Michna’s THE CZECH LUTE and its German model by the Jesuit Johann Khuen were typical examples of “Women’s Music“ of this kind. Women are superb. And most beautiful just as they are, just as they “were made“ Advertising tries to convince us of the opposite, and women then build up various layers of „isolation“ between the World, where they belong so perfectly, and their Souls. It is one symptom of the “Plastic Age“ that sweet, replete womanhood hides behind chewing gum and a mask of make-up. Don’t buy it! This advertising-driven foolery leads to a certain fashionable arrogance, something repulsively hard and...unwomanly. It’s a pity. Perhaps it is up to us, men, to recognise, praise, urge and permit woman (and ourselves) to step out of the Vicious Circle of “customerhood” and meretricious care for one’s image, and to appreciate ourselves for being just as we were truly made....


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