Photo: Courtesy of GEMSNY
Early Music America
For nearly three decades, Early Music America has been championing the performance of early music in North America through numerous initiatives.
A few years ago, Early Music America established, with assistance from a generous donor, a competition to promote the performance of medieval and Renaissance repertoire. By all accounts, its efforts have been a glowing success.
The final round of EMA’s most recent competition, its third, was held at Corpus Christi Church in New York City. A five-member judge’s panel and a receptive audience heard three young and dynamic ensembles with unique programs of music.
Ensemble Alkemia, one of two groups from Montreal, Canada, gave a program music from the early 16th-century Spanish songbook entitled “Cancionero Musical de Palacio.” Their program included works by Juan de Espinosa, Giacomo Fogliano, and Juan del Encina, among others.
Plaine & Easie
The only ensemble from the US was the Seattle-based Plaine & Easie, which presented a program of Elizabethan song and consort pieces. Entitled “A Little Higher,” the performance included music by Thomas Morley, John Dowland, and Filippo Azzaiolo, among others.
Musica Fantasia is also from Montreal, Canada, but the music they performed was very different. The program, entitled “O Rosa Bella: Courtly Love in the Fourteenth Century,” explored works by Johannes Ciconia and Francesco Landini, as well as a few by anonymous composers.
And the winner is…
There were two prizes to be won this year—the Unicorn Prize and the Audience Award (based on a popular vote).
Plaine & Easie from Seattle took both prizes. In addition to a cash award, they will be making appearances on three concert series, including the Early Music Guild in Seattle, Early Music Now in Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh’s Renaissance & Baroque.
Our new release of the week features Ensemble Zefiro in Handel and Telemann’s ‘Water Music.’ Directed by Alfredo Bernardini, the group’s performance was recorded live at the 2003 Lufthansa Early Music Festival in London. The recording was released by the Ambroise label.