Sunday, October 20, 2019

Johannes Caioni - Codex Caioni

Dracula's Castle
We don't have music from the era of Vlad Dracul, at least not from Transylvania where he spent his life fighting the Turks.  We really don't have music from the Turks from that era, although interestingly we do have a fair amount of music from Roman Constantinople before its fall.  All of that was going on at the same time in the Balkans, in a big mix of cultural clashing and mixing.

However, we do have music from Transylvania only a couple of centuries later, written by a Transylvania.  Well, a Wallachian, from the area on the north bank of the Danube where it flows into the Black Sea.  We think of Dracula has inhabiting a castle in the Carpathian mountains; those were the northern border of Walachia.  Vlad was the Prince of Walachia before he became the Prince of Darkness.

Johannes Caioni grew up in this area in the 17th century, 200 years after Vlad impaled his enemies.  A monk, he was educated by the Jesuits and became a composer.  His work survives because he set up a printing press to publish educational and religious books for the nearby villages and towns.  He also published his music, and some works went through multiple editions.

What is interesting about his music is that he used many themes from the folk music of the time.  And so while this isn't the music of Vlad Dracul, it might have the flavor of the music he would have recognized.


libertyman said...

A real obscure one that guy, thanks for shining some light towards him!

I see this piece has received 260 views, and that there are 259 subscribers. Your piece should add to that.

As always insights into music that I would get from no other source, please keep doing this even if class attendance is low!

It reminds of music from old England -- I kept thinking of the Monty Python lyric "Brave, brave Sir Robin" as I was listening. Not sure what instruments are played, must be vintage instruments or replicas.

Anyway, happy Sunday morning.

Beans said...

Thanks for the heads up on the 'new' composer. Good stuff, to be added to my list of people to download.

As to Vlad, well, he should be celebrated in all places that Western Civilization touches. Instead we remember him as the protagonist in lots of bad movies.

But, still, Best Halloween Yard Decorator ever!!!!

Borepatch said...

libertyman, it's a shame that more people haven't listened to this.

Beans, Castle Borepatch doesn't quite look like the picture here. Yet. ;-)

LSP said...


Check out, if you can find it, all Balkan late Medieval/Baroque -- I think Musica Antiqua used to publish it...

I had a tremendous collection of^^^ on vinyl back in the day in a flat in central London, which was "lost." grrrr.

Whatever, love this.