Books of Hours, Candlemas, Le Coucou, Louis-Claude Daquin, Phillip Sear, Solstices and Equinoxes
Above is Louis-Claude Daquin’s “Le Coucou” (The Cuckoo). Les Grands Hurleurs’ “Coucou” is an arrangement of Louis-Claude Daquin‘s “Coucou.” Daquin’s “Coucou” is not folklore, but it borders on traditional music and music we call “classical.” Daquin composed several Noëls, Christmas Carols. Christmas Carols are not looked upon as “folklore,” but they are traditional music. Christians sing Carols on Christmas Day and during the Christmas period. For Christians, Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, but it is also on or near the Winter solstice, the day of the longest night. Today is Candlemas (La Chandeleur), a festival of lights and currently Groundhog Day (le Jour de la Marmotte).
Feasts are celebrated according to a natural calendar. This begins with the degree of light and darkness: two solstices, and in the middle of the two solstices (Christmas and la Saint-Jean) are the Vernal equinox of Spring and the Autumnal equinox (Michaelmas). And to return to traditional music, it is associated with feasts that are celebrated according to the above-mentioned natural calendar. Noëls are performed during the Christmas season.
Antonio Vivaldi‘s Four Seasons is an ode to the four seasons. We also have Books of Hours. Les Très Riches Heures de Jean de France, Duc de Berry records the labours of the month. The January page is exceptional. The enluminures were the work of les frères Limbourg (the Limbourg Brothers). Illuminated Books of Hours are consummate art, but we should not underestimate our calendars and agendas.
However, Books of Hours are not pieces of music. Noëls are, and they probably constitute traditional music. Then come Liturgical music and the Canonical Hours.
- Les Grands Hurleurs’ “Le Coucou”
- Les Très Riches Heures de Jean de France, Duc de Berry
- Feasts and Liturgy, page
Love to everyone 💕
© Micheline Walker
2nd February 2021