Sunday, 2 August 2020

"Nesciens" - know what I mean?

... 'having no [carnal] knowledge of'.

Nearly 7 years ago, having mentioned german-ness (that is, I suppose, if you'll excuse the neologism (come to think of it, whether you excuse it or not) teutonicity, I remembered something I heard in a Golden Age lecture ...
Everyone in the Spanish Department seemed to assume I'd know what 'Golden Age' meant in the context of Spanish literature. With most of my colleagues (who'd been studying Spanish literature for 2 or 3 years) this was a reasonable assumption. As I was starting from scratch, without the benefit of Wikipedia, I didn't know that
[t]he Spanish Golden Age (Spanish: Siglo de Oro [ˈsiɣlo ðe ˈoɾo], "Golden Century") is a period of flourishing in arts and literature in Spain, coinciding with the political rise of the Spanish Empire under the Catholic Monarchs of Spain and the Spanish Habsburgs. It started in 1492, with the end of the Reconquista, the Spanish voyages of Christopher Columbus to the New World, and the publication of Antonio de Nebrija's Grammar of the Castilian Language. It ended with the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 or in 1681 with the death of the Pedro Calderón de la Barca, the last great writer of the age.
</parenthesis> my first year as a student (or "gentleman in statu pupillari" as we were known by the powers that ... weremight be?)

I added this clarification:
<digression theme="germaneness(sic)">
That's germanness. But while we're in Spain, I'm reminded of various Romance words for brother. In Italy (fratello), French (frère) (and I'm sure many others, which I can't recall off-hand) they used the Latin FRATRE(M) [and you really should recognize this convention by now; if you don't, have a look here]. But in the Iberian peninsula, this wasn't enough. As I remember (but don't have chapter and verse) according to one estimate there was a time when it was said that 1 in 3 adult males were in holy orders of some kindPPPS; for this sort of 'brother' they used Spanish fray, Portuguese frade, Catalan frare.... A brother by blood, or a germane brother became in Spanish hermano, in Portuguese irmão, in Catalan   germã  .... As we've seen before (here again) an adjective in a Noun Phrase often comes to be a noun.
And in that PPPS I added (years later):
I have long felt, in a Wikipaediesque sort of way, that this needs further citation. I don't have it from a book, as I heard it from the mouth of Professor E. M. Wilson, dedicatee of the snappily-titled...
This compound escapes my hostility to "titled" in a literary context, expressed in the rant here.
...Studies in Spanish Literature of the Golden Age: Presented to Edward M. Wilson (30) (Coleccion Tamesis: Serie A, Monografias) 
[He was] author of the Calderón chapter in the standard work on Golden Age Drama. In  fact, now I think of it, his influence may have been behind the CU Hispanic Society's choice of the play that marked my only outing as a tragedian, mentioned  here. Anyway,  whether the statistic (1 in 3 men in Holy Orders) was from his own (or one of his students') research or that of some other scholar, he regarded it as authoritative – good enough for me.

Now then (getting to the point at last ;-)), if you will refer back to that Wikipedia snippet, the Golden Age is known among Spanish students (and Spanish people in general if truth be told) as "el siglo de oro"; which brings me to my main reason (excuse?) for writing: a virtual performance of  Mouton's ...
...Nesciens mater given by the choir Siglo de Oro

To hear the piece, click here.
It's a lovely piece, and brilliant in its intricate structure. To quote the note provided by their MD (and formerly Wokingham Choral Society's MD):
It's ... a quadruple canon at the fifth, at a distance of two measures. What that means is: the singers who start on the left of the screen are singing exactly the same music as those on the right of the screen, except a perfect fifth higher, and two bars later.
Sublime. Out of this world. But I must return to the land of lawn mowers, hedge-trimmers, and curtain rails (don't ask, but that sorry tale made me forget... [no, I won't go there; time for my walk]).


Update 2020.08.04.11:55 – Added inline PS (a bit of esprit d'escalier)

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