Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

  1. GHall
    Here's a Christmas tune my daughter and I recently learned. Had never heard this one before, but thought it was a beautiful tune.
  2. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    It is a beautiful tune, but you guys play really well together too!
    I like what feels like the major/minor movement and the tremolo/fast single notes, and the Bluegrass-like impro in the middle.
    Really well played.

    You don’t have the tab, do you? -of course now I have to learn it.
    I’ll see if I can get my daughter to accompany me on the ukulele.
  3. GHall
    Thanks for your kind words! Here's a link for the mandolin tabs and chords.
  4. Frithjof
  5. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    A lovely duet. Neat change of tempo.
  6. Gelsenbury
    There's just nothing she can't do!
  7. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    That's a really lovely tune, and one I hadn't heard before. I'm really jealous of the skill to add these variations and fills to a tune that make them so instantly and deeply bluegrass-flavoured -- a skill I'm completely lacking. Great playing, and great tone!

    As I can't possibly try to copy that, I went looking for a setting that would work for me, and found this one, an arrangement that was originally written for a close-harmony vocal group (the Masters Of Harmony):


    My recording starts with playing the unadorned tune on solo mandolin, followed by two further repeats in four-part harmony with nice countermelodies and harmonic variations. Played as a mandolin quartet, two vintage Italian mandolins, octave mandolin and mandocello.

    1898 Giuseppe Vinaccia mandolin (x2)
    Mid-Missouri M-111 octave mandolin
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello

  8. Gelsenbury
    Different, but also very nice. It's a good arrangement.
  9. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Fine playing Martin, lovely tone.
    Does anyone, by any chance know the name of the tune in French?
  10. crisscross
    Two very different but fine versions of this French hymn!
  11. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, folks.

    Simon: According to Wikipedia, the tune is called "Picardy" in English, after the region of France it comes from, and "Jésus-Christ s'habille en pauvre" in French. It was adapted to the words of "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1906, for "The English Hymnal".

  12. Frithjof
    You recorded a very nice mandolin quartet, Martin.
    The versions here don’t compete to/against each other. Both sound great.
  13. GHall
    That was a beautiful version, Martin! Had a very Baroque-ish feel to it!
  14. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    GHall -- thanks for the kind comment, and again thank you for bringing this lovely tune into the group and to my attention.

  15. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Great tune. Many thanks for the pdf Mr. Hall, hope to see you guys again soon

    [The lyrics of the French version of the song are quite different. They in turn are probably quite different from an earlier French version -the first and the last verse are religious whereas the rest don’t appear to be, and the rest do hint at some morally questionable human activities. A medieval pub song? Cleaned up for publication maybe. To me, the tune seems quite sad, so maybe even those lyrics aren’t original, though not having enough to eat, and no shelter seems a likely original theme -if the tune had words that is]

    I put everything in [] because on the site we don’t talk so much about religious or political subjects, which makes everything a bit more laid back. Apologies if...
  16. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks for the French lyrics, Simon. I can see how the story may appear a double entendre, but according to the commentary below the lyrics, it's based on an episode from one of the apocryphal evangelists: "Disguised as a poor man, Jesus searches for charity. He is chased by the master of a house who spares the remains of his meals for his dogs « because they bring me hares, while you bring me nothing » but his wife feeds the poor man and gives him a bed. So, as her charity fills the bedroom with a mysterious light, Jesus announces that in three days she will die and go to paradise while her husband will burn in hell"

    [Edited for the sake of propriety...]

  17. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    [Now I’m feeling bad about bringing the French into this ]
  18. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Well Simon, I thought that was interesting.
  19. crisscross
    A really lovely tune, thanks for bringing it to the SAW-group!
    I also wanted to record it, but having neither the fascinating ability to improvise like GHall's daughter,
    nor the patience to lay down multi-instrument tracks like Martin does so well, I recorded a simple duet with classical
    guitar and bowlback mandolin, just the melody. I noticed, that the amount of measures is a bit strange, so I added some
    measures at the ends of the phrases, to allow even a simple mind like myself to play this beautiful tune.
  20. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    What a lovely version, CC.
  21. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Really nice like that, CC.

    Here is one French version which is reasonably regular, just a slight delay after each full stop, followed by two relatively free French versions of the tune where the measures follow the lyrics.
    Sometimes the words, or maybe the sense of each phrase, is more important than the music.
    I think the way that the singers are thinking is that the sentence takes as long as it takes, and that the rhythm in a sense stops with each full stop.
    Did they sing like this in medieval times? I don’t know, but if there is more than one singer, then singing in time would probably take some practice.

    It seems to make sense that they would add a couple of measures here and there when singing the most emotive words or phrases.
    Maybe the words did come first, or maybe they were working to a set pattern, 6,6,7?

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