22 novembre 2011

Origin of the Rosenbergs : the letter of François de Montrose to Johannes Rosenberg

Links to the Rosenberg Museum and RM Archive Site  :

                              Dear J.R.
please read this letter of François Marcel de Montrose and I will send you some Pics as well !

     Dear Rosenberg family member

     My family, holding the name Montrose or de Montrose since at least four centuries, seems to be originary from Venice, Italy. One of our ancestors was Adalberto di Monterosa, an obscure musical instruments inventor and collector. It is told among all my relatives that our family takes its origin from a musician monk from Greece, Oreigenis O Rodaïos. Oreigenis lived in Greece around 1453/1465 after the fall of Byzantium and moved to Venice. Origenis means "who comes from the mountains" (Oros = mountain and genis = born in ). And Rodaios is related to the Rose, as a flower and a colour. Thus Rose + Mount and you have our family name Montrose or also Rosenberg. Another branch of this family was named Rosenberg because they went to live in Austria as I discovered later in Venice. Indeed, in the "Ancien Régime" , the names of the people were translated in the language of their new country. This Oreigenis went from one of the Mount Athos's monastery where he spent some time just before the fall of Constantinopolis in 1453.
There were different people named Oreigenis (related or not, sons of the first one or not, we don't really know) being involved in Church & Theatre music, composers & musicians until the fall of Constantinopolis in 1453. These successive Oreigenis look like they were part of a sort of dynasty of musicians.
The first one Oreigenis was living in Byzantium at the end of the first Paleologue Imperator reign in the 14th century. This last Paleologue Dynasty reigned after the sack of Byzantium by the Francs' Crusade in 1254 until the end of the empire. This first Paleologue reconquerred Byzantium from the Franks coming from Nicea decades after the sack. At that time, much of the small Byzantine empire territory changed often of rulers and authorities. And it was a multiethnic – muticultural country, so you can’t say which origin had these Oreigenis. Greek orthodox, Bulgarian, Armenian, Assyro Chaldean, Serbian , Muslim, we don't know but musicians, singers and violists. Born in a very humble milieu, they didn't hold a family name like most of lower classes citizens of the time. Around 1454-55 and after leaving Constantinopolis, the last Oreigenis was living in Beograd and then in Venice from where are coming the Montrose, Monterosa and the Rosenbergs. A bit after that period, they invented the violin in Italy, do you think so ?

    This story was found by myself, François Marcel de Montrose, when I made some research in Venice, Cremona, Mount Athos and Athens. In the Iviron Monastery,  I found back the copy of the famous song Rodaïon and the Viola work which  was central in the life and destiny of the Oreigenis.

      In Byzantium / Constantinopolis, the first Oreigenis was the Great Choir's lead singer, composer of both church music & Masses ( only vocal music) and theatre & secular music ( instrumental and dance music = devil's music ), violist (of course), music theoretician, philosopher and spy ( as everybody else ) around the 14th century during the Paleologue Dynasty. Born Oreigenis (which means born in the mountains) with no surname as many of the people of humble origins, he became Lampadarios ( lead singer / head of the left side of the Byz choir) in one of the main churches of Constantinopolis. Oreigenis the Second (and we don’t know actually if he was his son but we are sure tthat he was his pupil in music and philosophy) wrote the famous song "Rodaïon " which means "of the Roses" (flower & colour), a song appreciated by the double entendre / double meaning like in the afro-american blues music. In this respect Chester Burnett / Howlin' Wolf's The little Red Rooster with its sexual connotations springs to mind. This Rodaïon song was also related to the the Rosalies , a byzantine feast in the middle spring (around Mayday). So the nickname of Rodaios was associated to Oreigenis and his pupils and/or descendants and he was often called Oreigenis O Rodaios which seems to be the origin of the Rosenberg name. Oreigenis being a church singer was considered as a sacred person and was only allowed to write music for the theatre of the time and the kratimata as other composers like Manouil Chrysaphis and Ioannis Koukouzelis also did. But to perform this music vocally ( he was a famous singer) and instrumentally ( he was a famous viola player) in front of an audience in a theatre was formally forbidden. Of course, theatre actors and musicians were considered as pagans (as Molière was in French society of the 17th century) and not Christians. They were also masked. They were maked-up like women and clothed very sugestively or effeminated in a way which disgusted the Fathers of the Church. Women were sometimes playing on the stages and sometimes you didn’t guess if they were he or she !   Something very shocking for Orthodox priesters ! Indeed, even a female goat or a chicken was not allowed to enter in a monastery !
   Why dis Oreigenis love this secular theatre music ? Because as a philosopher and as a greek person inpassioned by the culture of his country, he knew and felt that its musical tradition was very close of the roots of the Dyonisiac feasts of the ancient Greece where the poetry, the music and the theatre took their origin. From the trance of the musics and dances came the "connaissance". All these beliefs were eradicated by the Christian Roman Imperators around the fifth century. They closed even the famous Athens University and destroyed the big temple of Zeus in Olympia. You can still see the rolls of the columns on the ground. Unlike many christian people of the time, Oreigenis considered this ancient music as sacred and he needed irresistibly to play it. As he was a famous Viola player performing instrumental concerts in private houses, palaces, and weddings for the aristocracy and members of the Imperial family and as the sound of his voice was famous and recognisable because he was chanting four or five days a week in one of the most crowded church in Byzantium, he must perform music in theatres very secretly. So when he went to the theatre, he fainted to go in to the show like one audience member. Like his position of Lampadarios and Imperial Composer allowed him to own a closed seated “lodge” on a balcony, it was easy for him to make an hidden door inside the lodge to enter in the backstage. After a heavy make –up, he could on stage with a little viola, unusual for the time. The Byzantine viola was similar in shape and volume to the Viola da gamba. His little viola had the dimension of the western violin. Indeed, he invented for himself his little instrument because it was easily handed under his large coat or tunique in order to not be seen. So Oreigenis could walk in town with his instrument hidden secretly. similarly, the setar players did in Persia during the periods of repression of music and arts by the chiite clergy and the Greek haschich smokers did the same with their bouzouki in Athens in the 19th century. As he was maked-up and clothed, nobody besides his very closest friend in the theatre knew that this viola player was Oreigenis. He perfomed incognito his new instrument and used various positions on his body ( shoulder, waist, chest, stomach) following what was felt by the feelings that he got from the music. He was a bit the Jimi Hendrix of the viola.

   But no one was interested to know who was this incredible virtuoso. He was after all a member of this underworld of singers, actors and courtisanes. He would have been , huh !
Oreigenis was famous also having composed one reputedly best piece for viola  which was appreciated like the best works of Ithikos, Aliatis, Koukouzelis and Chryssaphis, the best Byzantine composers.
Once, Oreigenis the third (son or pupil of the Second ??) lost a score on a theatre stage and, as he had to perform a viola piece right there, he begun the famous Viola work on his instrument. Due to the special tuning of his little viola instrument, he played the tetrachords of the mode ( the fourth plagal) in a very unusual way. It was like devil music , these intervals being considered as not “christian” at all and even very pagan He played minor intervals and tritones even (Dear Rosenberg family member please forgive me if I am wrong, I am not that scholarly and knowledgeable in music theory as the Great Johannes Rosenberg is). But as the audience was very alienated by the censorship of the Church and Imperial administration on many levels being religious, philosophical and even musical, his music had a very powerful impact and most of the audience was in a trance state. He played his Viola work (called The Viola by Origenis O Rodaïos) as no one else has heard the work before. Under the spell of his music and also the wine he drank backstage, Oreigenis was completely “Out of this world “ and very emotionally affected, because he played this music like that in front of this particlar audience. Indeed, he, and before him, Oreigenis the Second  played with him that piece secretly with their little viola in their cellar like it was a very secret drug habbit. So being out of his head, he began to sing O Rodaïos . The whole audience began to scream "Oreigenis Oreigenis , O Rodaïos O Lampadarios" !! Everybody recognised the tone and the sound of the famous voice of the Lampadarios Oreigenis !! As this song was full of Double entendre and "special" meanings, he screwed up the Lyrics in a more "special" way. As you know, everybody would have understood which part of the body is bright Rose (Rodaïos .. yes, like Howlin Wolf ‘s Red Rooster !!) . The lines were not very explicit, so it was tolerated ! But as his supposed grandfather Oreigenis the Second was known as a very very special friend of the Imperatrice Irene of these times and the people amalgamated the various Oreigenis as one same personnality (they believed that Oreigenis the Third was actually the composer of both famous works Rodaïos and the Viola) it produced a very strange confusion in the minds of the most acute listeners , I mean the ones aware of the traditions and the history. Thus, he chanted his song in a wrong way in order to fit in the new metre that he invented on the spot ( and this new metre has a deep significance, close of the poetic metres related to the supressed Dyonisiac dance, a fact known by many scholarly people present there). And, in the middle of the humming audience completely ravished or shocked ( depending of their inner cultural /sexual bias), instead of singing Go there with me, I will hand your bag (of Roses) he sang Lay Here with me , I will handle your rose back . And then repeated again : Lay Here Irene, I will dance in  your hole back. This unconscious version has a very terrible effect . It was a slight blaspheme in public. Firstly, Irene was the first name of the Queen mother and some members of the Imperial court heard it like it was sung by the devil himself. So many understood this line as like Oreigenis revealed having sodomised Queen Irene. Irene was already almost seventy years old but being very careful with her face and her body, she looked quite young to the point  she seemed to be eternal like a Goddess. So she was looking still desirable although se was considered as a Sacred person deserving an utmost respect from each citizen. As Origenis the Second was very close to the Queen Irene (!!) , many could have thought that Origenis the Third would be the child of her secret love. So with this aspect of the things, it suggested some incest as well ! Anyone lacking respect to the Imperator or the Imperatress could be killed in a very cruel way little after little during days of terrible unhuman sufferings. You can’t imagine what sort of tortures, they would do against Origenis.

     Some members of the audiences stood immediately on their feet and run to the stage shouting Oreigenis Devil , O Rodaios tov thanatov : à mort, à mort !! Lampadarios is a betrayer !! The guards were moving in order to keep Oreigenis and to put him in jail. But Oreigenis was a theatre stage crack and the Byzantine theatres were full of machineries and flying seats, moving tables etc . Before the people reached the stage , the audience saw Oreigenis jump on the sofa standing in the centre stage and the sofa was moving quickly in the high ceilings with Origenis bowing furiously an unknown coda to end up the Rodaios song . He disappeared in the night and the guards discovered in the morning other similar little violas in his home as a proof of his non christian behaviour.
Thus , it was said that some travellers would have seen and heard this Oreigenis in Konya at the court of the Turkish sultans. He should have been there a court musician. I will tell you more about this when I will find more time. I discovered after that one Oreigenis O Rodaïos was in trouble with theTurkish and went to refugee in Mount Athos under a false name. There, we don’t know what exactly happened to him, unless that one Oreigenis sang O Rodaïos ( a religious version dedicated to Saint Mary) during the very last mass in St Sophia’s church the day before Mehmet the first Ottoman Sultan conquerred the town of Byzantium.
   We are convinced that the last Origenis of Byzantium and the man who was the ancestor of the Rosenberg / Montrose / Monterosa (an italian outgrow branch of the family, famed for tarots and vegetarian theory) and who lived in Venice in the 15th century were the same person. Indeed, I found similar pages of the same books of scores and songs in Moni Iviron and in Venice, in a cellar on the small island of La Giudecca. And there were the remaining parts of one of his little viola and sketches of this instrument in both places. Some instrument maker of my knowledge made a copy of this viola and I will send you one picture of it. You will receive also a copy of the scores of To Rodaïon and The Viola Work. I have found recordings of the two pieces by an ancient byzantine music orchestra .

 Dear Johannes , I hope this will be considered by all Rosenbergs of the world as a serious contribution to their knowledge and research in music and genealogy.
      Truly yours
      François-Marcel de Montrose. 
" unquote.

Note :
Further images related to the story of the Greek Oreigenis will be added here when our great Rosenberg Museum's Team will ensure their authenticity . Please be patient , it is a matter of days , now.
Some notes concerning Oreigenis'story will be added. But the papers have been damaged and our Rosenberg Museum team is now working carefully to restaure them. Indeed , during the moving of the Rosenberg Museum from the village of Violin, Slovakia to Rotterdam, some archives papers were used to wrap harings. Jon Rose needed harings for one of his latest multimedia composition performance in Holland. These ancient papers have deep marks of oil, onions and harings' skins (and smells) which must be washed away without damaging their contents.

Oreigenis performing one simandron in Moni Iviron after the fall of Byzantium.
Below the famous "silent" simandron with infrasound range that Oreigenis used in Mithymna (Molyvos) and Petra, Lesvos, in order to mentally disturb and hypnotize the Sultan's guards around 1463. Oreigenis was often clothed like a priest when he did his spy activities. He discovered strange acoustic properties within new musical instruments and used them as a secret weapon.

The Byzantine fortress of Methimna (also Molyvos). Oreigenis used his "silent" infra-sound simandrons as a secret weapon in the hidden caves of the Castle. The infra sound vibrations could make asleep the people around and their nervous centres would be deeply altered for hours. Molyvos is located North of Lesvos, near the ancient Troy (now Hissarlik). The antic greek tradition told that Mithymna was the birthplace of the legendary poet Arion.

Oreigenis did similar experiences in the Church on top of the village of Petra ( Lesvos, see picture above), having hidden his "silent" simandron in the antique crypt under the Church. 

More about the Rosenbergs !!  James Ensor and Johannes Rosenberg : had they met ??

Big question : "Is there any relationship of James Ensor with the Rosenbergs - and the concern of Johannes Rosenberg with old keyboard original instruments linked with violine ( and tenor violin) tuned in other ways than the equal temperament - ? "  In a mirror, Ensor reads Ros E/n !

James Ensor played the black keys of the harmonium and improvised his own pieces  à la Sun Ra .....
James Ensor in his Oostende 's appartment, Vlaanderen straat 27 in the years 40's. In the 40's / WW II Johannes Rosenberg had escaped Germany wearing an authentic Oostende's Carnival mask and went to Japan (where he flew in the Nippon "zero" airforce). All these Oostende masks were created, drawed and painted by James Ensor. His art had a strong far eastern almost japanese influence. Here , Ensor is performing his own graphic score, a device pioneered by Johannes Rosenberg before WWII.  It is also notorious that Magritte and Marcel Mariën made false " German Occupation" belgian franc bank notes in Oostende during the World war II to ensure some small income for to feed themselves and not starving !!
They, Magritte and Mariën ate smoked dutch harrings wrapped in failed - false bank notes and strange musical scores found in the Oostende Casino orchestra pit and backstage. Magritte thought about to create a work titled "Ceci n'est pas un violon". But very much impressed by Johannes Rosenberg 's Violine artworks, Magritte changed the subject and planned years in advance the famous "Ceci n'est pas une Pipe" . You need smoke for Dutch harrings, don't you ? Playing the unequal temperament tuned violin in A 415 with a modern cheap WWII ersatz violin and an harmonium keyboard in Oostende with a eighty maverick painter is a real "blow" job for the mind ............ nom d'une pipe ! 

1 commentaire:

  1. Dear Rosenbergs : visited the James Ensor house in Oostende this week !
    On the second floor in the painter's appartment room an harmonium / old keyboard instrument . Ensor was actually making "strange sounds" and arcane compositions of his own with the harmonium, a very temperamental tool. Ensor is reverse of R-o-s-e-n , yes !!! any relation ?????????


Bonne lecture Good read ! don't hesitate to post commentaries and suggestions or interesting news to this......