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Early Music America’s Medieval And Renaissance Competition of 2009

Performances by Ensemble Alkemia, Plaine & Easie, and Musica Fantasia.

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smiling group in formal clothes

Photo: Courtesy of GEMSNY

Plaine & Easie (Shulamit Kleinerman, John Lenti, Linda Tsatsanis, and Nathan Whittaker).

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

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

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.

New Release

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.

Music Heard On This Episode

George Frideric Handel: Suite in F major, Andante and Allegro
Zefiro/Alfredo Bernardini — Water Music: Handel and Telemann (Ambroisie, 2009)
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George Frideric Handel: Suite in F major, Andante and Allegro
Zefiro/Alfredo Bernardini — Water Music: Handel and Telemann (Ambroisie, 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Juan del Encina: “Levanta, Pascual,” “Triste España,” and “Rodrigo Martines” (Anonymous)
Ensemble Alkemia: Jean-François Daignault, Pierre-Alexandre Saint-Yves, Dorothéa Ventura, and Dany Wiseman) — Amor y Guerra: Music from the Cancionero Musical de Palacio (Live performance, Corpus Christi Catholic Church New York, NY, October 7, 2009, not commercially available, 2009)
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Thomas Morley: “O mistress mine” and Philip’s Dump (Anonymous - Marsh Lute Book)
Plaine & Easie : Linda Tsatsanis (soprano), Shulamit Kleinerman (violin), Nathan Whittaker (bass violin), John Lenti (lute) — A Little Higher (Live performance, Corpus Christi Catholic Church New York, NY, October 7, 2009, not commercially available, 2009)
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Anonymous (14th Century): “Che ti çova nascondere 'l bel volto?” and “Per tropo fede talor se perìgola”
Musica Fantasia: Julie Ryning (soprano), Ji-Sun Kim (recorders), Katelyn Clark (keyboards) — O Rosa Bella: Courtly Love in the Fourteenth Century (Live performance, Corpus Christi Catholic Church New York, NY, October 7, 2009, not commercially available)
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John Dowland: “From silent night” and “Chi passa per ’sta strada” (Filippo Azzaiolo)
Plaine & Easie : Linda Tsatsanis (soprano), Shulamit Kleinerman (violin), Nathan Whittaker (bass violin), John Lenti (lute) — A Little Higher (Live performance, Corpus Christi Catholic Church New York, NY, October 7, 2009, not commercially available, 2009)
album cover
George Frideric Handel: Suite in F major, Menuet 1 & 2
Zefiro/Alfredo Bernardini — Water Music: Handel and Telemann (Ambroisie, 2009)
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album cover
Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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