Friday, July 8, 2011

A note about the Distant Cousin theme song

The Distant Cousin theme song is probably not the sort of music readers of the series might expect. What can we say? Ana Darcy likes it.

It's not new music, not that that matters to a woman who's only recently come to Earth--all our music was new to her when she arrived. The composer is Johann Kapsburger (1580-1651), from the early baroque period. Ana likes it because it's polyphonic (with several voices) and because it's calm, sweet, and beautiful. Though less than two minutes long, it amounts to a theme and variations, another form Ana loves.

This performance was just for Ana. A professional musician, Scott Pauley, was honored to play it for her alone, but she gladly permitted us to share it with you, with her best wishes. You will hear it nowhere else. She hopes you enjoy it.

The instrument is a theorbo, a bass lute, in effect. With 18 strings, and over six feet long, it has a huge tonal range, low to high, and is wonderfully resonant and stringy (and difficult to master). Ana says the people of Thomo have several similar, large stringed instruments, but they don't have the same richness as the theorbo. (There's more information about it at Wikepedia.)

Here is the recording of the performance of the Distant Cousin theme song for Ana.  (If you right click it and open it in another window, you won't lose your place.)

YouTube does have other versions. Here are three examples:

With an ensemble and two dancers:

For solo lute in an intimate setting:

And here's a gorgeous, elaborated duet for theorbo and baroque guitar by the Lute Duo:

A "canario" is a lively dance form popular in Europe during the 16th century, the baroque period. It came from the Canary Islands, not unlike the "chaconne," which came from northern Latin America about the same time. Here's a different canario, given wild treatment, by Gaspar Sanz and played by a Basque quartet. Crazy!

More musical items related to Ana Darcy:

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