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Nine Notes That Shook The World

Lutenist Ronn McFarlane and flutist Mindy Rosenfeld's new recording is Nine Notes that Shook the World.

flutist and lutist

Photo: Ronn McFarlane

Mindy Rosenfeld with a quiver of flutes and Ronn McFarlane with one of his lutes.

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Nine Notes that Shook the World

CD of music from around 1730 in London and in Scotland


Lute player Ronn McFarlane and flutist Mindy Rosenfeld have played early music together since they met in the Baltimore Consort more than thirty years ago, but this is their first CD as a duo. The title–Nine Notes that Shook the World–is borrowed from a song compilation and reflects the classical and folk sources of their recording. Both musicians were influenced by early experiences with neighbors.

“Our family was musical,” says Rosenfeld. “My dad played by ear, folks songs on the guitar and jazz on the piano. My mother was a classically trained violinist. As a kid I played recorder and piano and later, with a bit of a struggle, the flute. But it was really a neighbor boy who influenced my latest efforts. Joey played the bagpipes. They were loud and his mother would send him out of the house to practice. We could hear him from a good distance and sometimes my sister and I would hide and just wait for Joey to come by. Today I play a little set of pipes called “a bumble bee” in German and I think that Joey was the inspiration.”

Ronn McFarlane was also influenced by neighbors. “A group of boys in my eighth grade class put together a rock band and when I heard them play the Safari’s hit “Wipeout,” I just had to get a guitar. That summer I practiced ‘til my fingers nearly bled. Right around the same time, I also started listening to classical music.” Later McFarlane played both rock and classical guitar. “I was pretty deeply into classical guitar, but I realized that more and more I was just playing transcriptions of lute pieces. So I became a lutenist, but it all started with rock and roll.”

Like the variety of their musical influences, their CD has a variety of sources. “Yes,” says McFarlane. “When you think about music around 1730 or thereabouts one often thinks about that as the height of the careers of Handel and Bach, but right around that same time maybe two or three hundred miles north of where Handel was making his music in London there was a tremendous tradition of Scottish music. It was a folk tradition which was worlds away in its style and  its musical perspective. We really love that music as well and enjoy presenting both sides because both kinds of music were happening at the same time.”

Music Heard On This Episode

Nine Notes that Shook the World
Ronn McFarlane, Mindy Rosenfeld (Sono Luminus, 2013)
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album cover
Nine Notes that Shook the World
Ronn McFarlane, Mindy Rosenfeld (Sono Luminus, 2013)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
George Walker

After completing an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University, George Walker began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists and reviews plays and operas.

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