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2008 program outline   2009   Marco Polo theme   Marco Polo CD   My performances         More photos 中文   首頁
Music from the Time of Marco Polo 1
Chinese and Italian instrumental music from 13th-15th century sources
John Thompson and FA Schola : Marco Polo 2008 China Tour2 
馬可波羅時代音樂
來自十三至十五世紀資料的中國與義大利器樂
At St. Paul's Chapel, Columbia U., New York 3      

Introduction

According to his Travels, Marco Polo (1254-1324) visited Hangzhou some time after 1276, when Mongol soldiers had captured it on behalf of Kublai Khan. Music from the Time of Marco Polo puts music then being played in Hangzhou side by side with music such as Polo could have heard back home in early 14th century Italy. John Thompson plays the former on the Chinese guqin silk string zither, mostly from tablature published in 1425 CE, but clearly copied from earlier sources. The Estonian early music group FA Schola plays the Italian music on flutes, bells and harp; the primary sources are also mainly early 15th century documents (such as London BL. add. 29987; London, British Library, Additional 29987), but also clearly containing older music. Although there is no evidence of actual musical contact at that time, this program expands on the original sources to include the fantasy of such musical exchange. Thus, FA Schola joins with the guqin for Calling out in Flight, while for La Manfredina the guqin joins FA Schola and the Western flute is replaced by a Chinese xun. How this might have happened seven centuries ago is left to the listeners' imaginations.

This program is unique in that, through historically informed performance, it provides a beautiful audio tour of two vastly different cultural areas 700 years and more in the past. What we will find from listening to these two very distinctive music genres is that their two respective musical languages show some very interesting similarities, more than what we might initially expect, and more than what we seem to find in the modern world. And yet the music sounds surprisingly new.

At the time Marco Polo described his travels to China, Europeans were just beginning to write down their instrumental music, but musical styles soon rapidly developed and expanded. Meanwhile, the Chinese guqin silk-string zither tradition was both more developed and more conservative. The guqin, although the only non-Western instrument with a detailed written tradition going back more than a few centuries, had long had such a tradition going back much earlier than what can be documented for Western music: a surviving guqin score from the 7th century already shows a high level of musical sophistication.

The key words uniting these two ancient musical worlds are modality and monodic playing style. Modal thinking (allowing melodies beyond the standard major and minor scales) forms a type of musical knowledge almost gone in present day classical Western music but still found in many oral and popular traditions. And the ensemble playing style in the early West, as in China, is a type of monody in which all instruments play versions of the same melody. Much has been done to reconstruct the monodic ensemble music tradition from medieval Europe. This tradition was also then prevalent in China, and the present reconstructions of the early solo guqin repertoire are a substantial step in efforts at a similar reconstruction of the early Chinese ensemble tradition.

 
Performers and instruments

John Thompson, guqin silk-string zither

John Thompson is the best-known musician giving historically informed performances of early Chinese music for the guqin silk-string zither. After a college degree in Western musicology (early music) and graduate studies in ethnomusicology, he began in 1974 to study the modern guqin tradition from Sun YüCh'in in Taiwan. Since 1976 he has focused on early repertoire, personally reconstructing over 150 melodies published in 15th and 16th century handbooks. In 1992 the National Union of Chinese Musicians invited him to Beijing as the focus of a seminar on reconstructing music from the earliest surviving guqin handbook, Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425 CE). While based in Hong Kong as artistic consultant to the Festival of Asian Arts he performed throughout East Asia, and published seven CDs of his musical reconstructions as well as four books of music transcription. Since moving to New York in 2001 he has continued to perform, research and lecture on the guqin. His website, www.silkqin.com, is the most comprehensive English-language source of information on this instrument.

Guqin

The qin ("stringed instrument", pronounced "chin"), today usually called guqin ("old stringed instrument", pronounced "goo chin"), has throughout its long history been the musical instrument most prized by China's literati. They categorized it as one of their "four arts", collected it as an art object, praised its beautiful music, and built around it a complex ideology. No other instrument was described and illustrated in such detail, so often depicted in paintings, or so regularly mentioned in poetry. In addition, guqin tablature dates back at least to the surviving seventh century manuscript version of the melody You Lan. It thus documents the world's oldest detailed written instrumental music tradition, allowing both historically informed performance (requiring silk strings) of the many early melodies, and practical exploration of the relationship between Chinese music theory and music practice.

 
FA Schola (Festivitas Artium Schola)

The FA Schola Centre was founded in January 2000 under the initiative of Raho Langsepp as a collaboration between Festivitas Artium (which since 1996 has organized the Tartu Early Music Festival) and the University of Tartu (the national university of Estonia). FA Schola is a natural development in early music research and study in Tartu, helping to promote both early European music and non-European music. As a center of study, FA Schola's researches compare and promote early European and Asian medieval cultures as expressed in music. The center has compiled a library with extensive video and audio archives. It has also cooperated closely with the most reknowned study and research center of early music, Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Switzerland).

As a Greek loan word in Latin, the original meaning of "schola" was "spending time in intelligent conversation". This meaning was later conflated with the familiar and more modern meanings of "teaching" and "erudition". Festivitas Artium Schola, which appreciates both the ancient and modern meanings, carries out regular studies and teaching projects. Members of the consort associated with the Center are active in teaching a variety of instruments. The Center also organizes many concert projects, for individual productions engaging additional cast as necessary.

Music from the Time of Marco Polo, a cooperative project with John Thompson (guqin, USA) draws on some of the Center's latest concert and research themes. In addition to the medieval manuscripts London Ms Add 29987 (1400) and Codex Rossi (1370), these include Codex Reina (14/15th c., Paris, Bibl. nat., nouv. acq. Fr. 6771) as well as Cantigas de Santa Maria (13th century Spain).

The FA Schola Centre's early music consort, working under the auspices of the University of Tartu, focuses primarily on European medieval music. The ensemble for the Marco Polo program consists of the three members below. Linked sound samples are from the trio's CD "The Sound of Medieval Flute". The CD webpage has the original links to these and to further sound samples (also in Estonian). See also the Marco Polo CD.

Raho Langsepp, transverse flutes, xun

Raho Langsepp, director of the Tartu Early Music Festival since 1996, has for many years studied the history of bamboo flutes in Asian as well as in medieval European music, leading him to interesting discoveries that he has put into practise as a musician. The history and usage of transverse flute in different cultures was also the theme of his thesis when he took diploma from the Viljandi Cultural Academy of the University of Tartu (2006). Having played different types of flutes before, his main teacher of bamboo flute since 2001 has been Sri Lankan master V. Hemapala Perera. Over the years he has participated in advanced classes taught by such masters as Wilbert Hazelet (baroque flute, the Netherlands), Ranjith Fernando (bamboo flute, Sri Lanka), Dan Laurin (recorder, Sweden) and many others. In addition to being an active musician and music teacher, Raho Langsepp is director of the concert agency Festivitas Artium and the FA Schola Centre for Early and Asian Music; since 2000 he has been President of the Central European Festivals of Early Music Association (CEFEMA).

Transverse flutes

Transverse flutes can be found in Western poetry and art at least as early as the 11th century. This relatively loud instrument with its large fingerholes is practically identical with flutes used in North Indian classical music. The fingering techniques of the Indian flute are also perfectly applicable to similar medieval instruments.

What kind of transverse flutes were played in medieval Europe and what they sounded like can only be intuited by piecing together a kaleidoscope of information preserved in the graphic arts, in literary and poetic works touching on the performance practice of medieval instrumental music, in folk music traditions using similar instruments and — there is no hiding that anyway! — adding a certain measure of personal imagination to the mix. No doubt the medieval transverse flute was similar in its construction to the oldest flutes, reports of which have been recorded in Asia, a part of the world where the instrument has enjoyed continued popular use from ancient times until the present. The flutes in question are more or less cylindrical in shape, with six or seven finger holes in addition to the blowing hole. As regards the material used to make flutes, it is highly probable that flutes were made chiefly of wood and bone, yet graphic arts fragments clearly point also to bamboo. In addition, magnificent-sounding transverse flutes can also be made of clay. Two clay flutes, in g and in c, were made in 2006/7 by Raho Langsepp in cooperation with ceramist Anneli Lupp. When thinking of other possible materials which could be used for making flutes in Europe, Raho Langsepp worked out special models made of clay and covered with birch bark; these can be heard in this program as well as a bass flute in C made by Raho Langsepp in 2007.

Xun

The xun is a clay flute with a spherical shape – it is thus also described as a vessel flute or globular flute, or called an ocarina, the name of a similar Western instrument. It is one of the earliest known musical instruments – the earliest xun have been found in Chinese archaeological sites as early as 5000 BCE. They are also mentioned in classical writings such as the Book of Songs. The xun is thus regarded as a national instrument of the Han Chinese people. However, although xun may have been played in various ceremonial orchestras, there was little mention of it in Chinese written sources until recent archaeological findings regenerated its popularity. Today it is widely heard, insinuating itself into movie soundtracks and popular music. The xun has a most peculiar and interesting timbre – its plaintive, deep and versatile sound can also be used for unique imitations of the human voice. Physically it is an egg-shaped hollow vessel with a blowing hole at top center and finger holes spread around the sides. Similarly to transverse flutes, the correct embouchure is the key to producing the correct tone. The number of finger holes varies from five to seven, although the modern instruments may sometimes have even more. Traditionally the xun had a range of just one octave.

Lilian Langsepp, gothic harp

Versatile musician Lilian Langsepp began her music studies with Western classical music (piano, music theory and choir conducting), and she has a Bachelor's degree in Musicology from the Estonian State Conservatory. In 1994 she began regularly working with Raho Langsepp in such early music groups as Via Sonora and FA Schola Ensemble. From 1997 to 2000 she did postgraduate studies in Switzerland at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, specializing mainly in Spanish baroque harp, Spanish organ repertoire, and improvisation in different styles. In addition, since 1996 her interest in non-Western music has led her not only to play various types of Asian music on the medieval harp, but also to take master classes in North Indian and Chinese music. In 2005 she earned her Master's Degree in Musicology from the Estonian Academy of Music; her thesis was "Mode and Tonal Structure in Diego Fernandez de Huete's Passacaglia Variations". In addition to her performances as a pre-classical harp soloist, she has appeared widely as a performer of harpsichord, organ and guzheng as well as director of a Gregorian chant group. She has made numerous recordings and has participated in recordings by various ensembles. She currently teaches in Tartu at both the University of Tartu and the Heino Eller School of Music.

Gothic harp

The world of medieval harps was amazingly rich in varying sizes, shapes and numbers of strings. The harp used to record this album is a copy (made in 2000 by the German master harp maker Eric Wilhelm Kleinmann). The original, which is kept at the Wartburg Art-Collection in Eisenach, in all likelihood used to belong to the famous Minnesinger Oswald von Wolkenstein (1377—1445). The slim, Gothic-looking harp has 26 strings (range G — d'''), tuned diatonically. Additional semitones can be played by reducing the vibrating length of the strings. In addition to its wide musical range, owing to the number of strings fitted on the instrument, the Wartburg/Wolkenstein harp is characterised by a rich timbre and lends itself easily to dynamic playing techniques. It is also noteworthy that the entire instrument is equipped with L-shaped bray pins permitting the player to create a vibrant buzzing sound characteristic of medieval harps. By varying the position of the pins, the harp can be used to play quietly yet in a highly nuanced dynamic manner.

Helena Uleksin, bell chime, medieval flute

Helena Uleksin plays harpsichord, piano, classical flute, recorder and baroque flute as well as bell sets and medieval flutes. She is a graduate of the department of Estonian philology of the University of Tartu and holds her Master's degree on the subject of early music terminology in Estonian language. Since 2001 she has taught the recorder and works as a concertmaster in Tartu II Music School. Since that year she has also been a member of the FA Schola Ensemble.

Bell chimes 4

Although not commonly used for performances of early Western music, sets of small chime bells are depicted in numerous medieval illustrations. These most commonly show them played by the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras. The set of bell chimes used here (range A—f´) consists of bells made by the Swedish family firm Morells Metallgjuteri AB, established in 1920. In founding and hand working their bells the firm employs traditional methods descended from their forefathers.

 
Music Sources

London, British Library, Additional 29987 (ca. 1400 CE) 5

Commonly called London, BL. Add. 29987, this manuscript is one of our central sources for Western medieval monodic instrumental music. This manuscript preserves a number of long and extremely interesting estampies. The estampie was a very important medieval dance and music form, shedding light on the structure, sonic texturing and ornamentation of 14th century Western instrumental music. We know today that Arabic music exerted a considerable influence on the development of European music. Indeed, a Middle Eastern flavour can surely be felt in the estampies in question. Yet they remain unmistakably European. Estampies have typically four to five verses, which are repeated twice: with an 'open' then a 'closed' ending. The next verse often incorporates a substantial portion of the previous one, so the verses gradually grow in length. The first verse usually introduces the main mood of the piece, the second verse takes the piece into a high register and the third into a low register. As a rule, the final verses have varying time signatures, often also changing the mode. All estampies in this manuscript run rather long and are replete with chromaticisms. Most of the music for the present program comes from facsimile edition of this manuscript. Occasional variations in note length and pitch result from personal preference and improvisation.

Codex Rossi (1370) 6

The Rossi codex is one of the earliest surviving sources of Ars Nova music in Italy. The music of its ballate (an Italian poetic as well as musical form) is monophonic and largely improvisational.

Codex Reina (14/15th c., Paris, Bibl. nat., nouv. acq. Fr. 6771)) 7

The Reina codex is a large source copied in either Padua or Venice from the later 14th century to the early 15th century, and containing more than 200 secular songs in Italian, French and Flemish. This program especially includes a couple of polyphonic pieces to show the excitement and fast development of Ars Nova polyphonic repertoire in comparison to the more improvisational monophonic pieces.

Codex Panciatichi (14/15th c., Florence, Bibl. nat., Panciatichi 26) 8

The Panciatichi codex is perhaps the earliest major source for 14th century music in Italy (though not all of it Italian music).

Shen Qi Mi Pu: Handbook of Spiritual and Marvelous Mysteries (1425 CE)

Several important guqin melodies survive from earlier tablature, but the Shen Qi Mi Pu is the oldest surviving printed collection of such melodies. From 1280 to 1368 China had been ruled by the Mongols, and publishing this book was part of an effort by Zhu Quan, a son of the founder of the Ming Dynasty, to recover the guqin tradition as it had existed during the Song dynasty (960 - 1280). Many of its 64 melodies (none with lyrics) are connected to a compilation of ancient hand-written tablature made in 13th century Hangzhou; other melodies are directly attributed to famous players who had lived there at that time.

 
Introduction to the guqin melodies

Song of Chu (Chu Ge)

Chu Ge relates the final defeat of the prince of Chu, Xiang Yu (232–202) at the hands of Liu Bang (247–195) in the struggle to overthrow and succeed the Qin dynasty (233–202). Before the major battle at Gaixia, Liu Bang had his soldiers sing a melody of Chu to make the Chu soldiers homesick. Throughout the guqin piece there is a motif that suggests this melody. After losing the battle Xiang Yu flees. A brief passage evokes Xiang Yu saying farewell to his concubine, Yu Ji:

My strength can lift mountains, and my spirit can encompass society;
But the times are not appropriate, and (my horse) Zhui is no longer quick.
When Zhui is no longer quick, what can I do?
Alas, Yu Ji; alas, Yu Ji; what will become of you?

After this she commits suicide. A final discordant passage then evokes Xiang Yu's own demise as he perishes on the banks of the Wu River. (Liu Bang then went on to found the Han dynasty.)

Clouds over the Xiao and Xiang Rivers (Xiao Xiang Shui Yun)

Xiao Xiang Shui Yun, attributed to the famous 13th century guqin master Guo Mian (Guo Chuwang), is one of the most popular of all guqin melodies, surviving in at least 55 handbooks from 1425 to 1946. The Jiuyi mountains of southern Hunan are the reputed burial place of the legendary Emperor Shun. Whenever Guo wanted to look at the Jiuyi mountains they were blocked by clouds above the Xiao and Xiang rivers. This reminded him that the Southern Song dynasty was no longer in control of north China, so his creation of this melody was an expression of his loyalty to his country. However, as its preface says, "this piece about water and clouds (also) has the suggestion of making one's own enjoyment; the flavor of cloud shapes reflected in sparkling water; and a desire to have wind and rain fall on the head, to wear a grass rain cape by the side of a river, and to use a boat on the Five Lakes (to hide from the world)."

Woodcutter's Song (Qiao Ge)

Qiao Ge, attributed to the famous 13th century guqin master Mao Minzhong, is another of the most popular of all guqin melodies, surviving in at least 54 handbooks from 1425 to 1946; some handbooks have two versions. Chinese culture has always put a high value on education. At the same time fishermen and woodcutters were often idealized as people who, though without formal education, have a profound understanding of the world. They also sometimes represented a life free from the cares of official work. According to its preface, "this piece was written because, when Yuan soldiers entered Lin An (Hangzhou), Mao Minzhong thought the times were not appropriate for himself. Wishing to imitate the deeds of former worthies, who went into hiding in the cliffs and valleys, he ran off into seclusion and did not accept public office. So he wrote this tune to attract like-minded people to go into seclusion with him. He himself felt no unhappiness about fleeing from society."

Calling out in Flight (Feiming Yin)

In Shen Qi Mi Pu this melody is divided into three sections, without repeats. With the Western instruments here joining the guqin, sections are repeated to highlight the different instrument sounds. Zhu Quan wrote of Calling out in Flight, "it is not known who wrote this piece, but what the piece concerns is speaking of the wild goose as an animal who, knowing that autumn (is arriving), visits the south. It cries out to the Milky Way, and flies through the clouds for 10,000 li, soaring over the four seas. How great its determination is! So (the melody) embellishes this event while describing it."

Captured Unicorn (Huo Lin)

This melody was included in the first folio of Shen Qi Mi Pu; of these melodies Zhu Quan said they were the most ancient. He could find no one who was able to play them, so he simply copied them out exactly according to the manuscript versions he found. The creator of the melody is unknown, but the inspriration came from a famous story about Confucius. Zhu Quan's original preface says, "The capture of a unicorn took place during the 14th year of the reign of Duke Ai of Lu (489 BC); during a big hunt at Daye to the west, Chu Shang, a carriage official of Lord Shu Sun, captured a unicorn. The unicorn had a broken leg, so he put it on the carriage and returned home. But Shu Sun, feeling that this was a bad omen, had it abandoned in the countryside, and then sent a man to tell Confucius, saying, "If a jun (muntjac) has horns, what is it?" Confucius went out and looked at it, then said, "It is a unicorn; why did it come here? He pulled his sleeves up to his face and cried until his vest was soaked. Shu Sun heard of this and had it brought back (into the palace). (Later) Zigong asked, "Confucius why did you cry?" Confucius answered, "The arrival of a unicorn should mean that a person of great talent has appeared, but it has come at the wrong time, and so it was injured. This made me very sad."

 
Program outline: Approximate length

 
 
 
 
Istampitta in pro (medieval flute, gothic harp, bell chime)
London, BL. Add. 29987 (1400)
8-9 min
 
 
 
Song of Chu (guqin solo)
    Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425)
5 min.
 
 
 
 
Clouds over the Xiao and Xiang Rivers (guqin solo)
    Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425)
6 min.)
 
 
 
 
 
Lamento di Tristano. La Rotta (medieval flutes, gothic harp, dizi)
    London, BL. Add. 29987 (1400)
 
 
 
Eh, vatene, segnor mio (gothic harp solo)
    Codex Reina (14/15th century)
 
 
 
La nobil scala (medieval flutes, gothic harp)
    Codex Reina (14/15th century)
4 min.
 
 
 
E con chaval (gothic harp solo)
    Codex Rossi (1370)
 
 
 
 
Quan ye voy (medieval flutes, gothic harp)
    Codex Panciatichi 26 (14/15th century)
 
 
 
 
Woodcutter's Song (guqin solo)
    Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425)
8 min.
 
 
 
 
Calling Out in Flight (guqin, gothic harp, bell chime)
    Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425)
4 min.
 
 
 
Istampitta Belicha (medieval flute, gothic harp, bell chime)
    London, BL. Add. 29987 (1400)
9-10 min.
 
 
 
Captured Unicorn (guqin solo)
    Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425)
5 min.
 
 
 
La Manfredina (medieval flute, gothic harp, bell chime, guqin;   Listen 9)
    London, BL. Add. 29987 (1400)
6 min.
  The final three melodies above are played without break;
sections of Istampitta Belicha alternate with sections of Captured Unicorn; the qin joins in for La Manfredina
 

The program may be revised again for future programs.10

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Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Recording of Music from the Time of Marco Polo
The music for this program has been recorded for a CD. Details are as follows:

Recorded in the Tartu University Teacher Training College Hall
(January and February 2008)

Recorded by Peeter Konks
Digital editing and mastering by Peeter Konks

Booklet texts: Raho Langsepp, John Thompson, Lilian Langsepp
Editor: Helena Uleksin
Chinese translation: Jin Qiuyu (金秋雨), Yu Zhigang (余志剛)
Cover and booklet design: Helmi Marie Langsepp
Cover and booklet layout: Helena Uleksin
Booklet photos: Malev Toom, Sheng Shiyi (盛識伊)
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2. Music from the time of Marco Polo: Olympic Year Performances (see also My Performances)

May 2008: China performances
          13 - 19 May 2008 in Beijing and Hangzhou
Tuesday, 13 May 19:30 中央音樂學院演奏廳 Recital Hall, Central Conservatory of Music
Thursday, 15 May 19:30 北京大學南配殿 South Flank Hall, Peking University Library Building
Saturday, 17 May 16.00
國家大劇院 National Center for Performing Arts
May 19 19:30 杭州大劇院 Hangzhou Grand Theatre

February 2008: Performances for Chinese New Year in Estonia
          (
Festivitas Artium events)
Thursday, 7 February 7 P.M. Tartu University Teacher Training College Hall
Friday,     8 February 7 P.M. Tallinn University Ceremonial Hall

December 2007: American Preview Performances
          8 - 12 December 2008, New York, Princeton, Philadelphia
Saturday 8 December 3.30 PM, St. Paul's Chapel,
Columbia University, NYC (map)
    (Followed by a pipa performance by 章紅艷 Zhang Hongyan; poster)
Monday, 10 December 7.00 PM, Christ Congregation, Princeton, NJ (map)
    (Presented by the Princeton Early Keyboard Center; poster)
Wednesday 12 December 7.30 PM, Hilles, Haverford College, PA (map, 5b)
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3. Photographs by Shiyi Sheng (more of her photos of us).
Note the loudspeaker in front of the qin table. St. Paul's Chapel is very resonant, but small sounds can get lost and the acoustics are uneven, depending on the location of the player and of the listener. In venues with more forgiving acoustics we were able to play without amplifying the qin or the gothic harp (quieter than a modern harp). Here a small amount of amplification was necessary.
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4. There are numerous medieval illustrations of small chime bells, most commonly showing them played by the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras. Some illustrations are online, for example, at nnms and wc.
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5. London, British Library, Additional 29987 (ca. 1400 CE)
This unique manuscript contains some of the most interesting medieval monodic instrumental music. Its 88 folios (123 titles) were written down in Italian trecento notation near Milan, Italy, around 1400, but its music is clearly older. Most notable are the 15 long and extremely interesting estampies (istampita) and salterelli. The manuscript writes these out monophonically, and does not specify the instruments to be used. Those used here all have historic records from that time period.
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6. Codex Rossi (Venice; also called Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Rossi 215; 1370)
Codex Rossi, compiled in Venice c. 1370, is one of the earliest sources for the Italian Ars Nova style. The pieces it contains are vocal, as in numerous other 14th and 15th century manuscripts. Still, some researchers claim that the music in these manuscripts may also have been performed instrumentally. In terms of musical genres, Codex Rossi contains madrigals, caccias and ballatas.
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7. Codex Reina (Paris, Bibl. Nat., Nouv. Acq. Fr. 6771; 14th c.)
There is little online information about this codex. See the Medieval music database.
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8. Codex Panciatichi (14th c., Florence, Bibl. Nat. Centrale, MS. Panciatichi 26)
This manuscript is also called Codex Panciatichiano.
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9. La Manfredina recording (listen)
The recording linked here is from a live performance, not the Marco Polo CD (see deails).
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10. Performances on the Marco Polo theme in 2009 (中文)
John Thompson will join Fa Schola and early percussionist Janno Mäe in China 3 to 13 September 2009 to take part in "首屆亞歐文化藝術節" the First ASEM Culture and Arts Festival 2009 (see details in English and 中文 Chinese; ASEM stands for Asia Europe Meeting [亞歐首腦會議; Wikipedia]). The tentative schedule is:

  05 September (Saturday, 19.30)
 
Beijing Concert Hall (location)
Group solo performance
  08 September (Tuesday, 19.30)
 
Beijing's Chaoyang Park Bandstand, ASEM Festival Closing Ceremony
Group participation in the "Ethnic Music and Dance Gala"
  10 September (Thursday, 20.00)
 
Performance at the People's Hall of Ningxia, Yinchuan, Ningxia
Together with groups from Mongolia, Myanmar and Vietnam

More details on this festival are here. For Chaoyang Park venue location input 39.947278,116.474124 into Google maps. Based on the picture of us in the poster for the opening ceremony, there seems to have been some ambivalence about whether our performance was European or Asian.
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Performance at Chaoyang Park Bandstand

Return to top, to Music from the Time of Marco Polo, or to my performances.