In the field of early music, Nigel North holds the distinction of being one of the finest performers on the lute. He is also recognized as exceptional teacher with few peers. North’s performance at the 2009 Bloomington Early Music Festival showed why his reputation is well-deserved. The recital program of virtuoso works for the German baroque lute included North’s own arrangements of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as a composition by Silvius Leopold Weiss, a German contemporary of Bach’s who was the greatest lutenist of his day.
One of the festival’s principal goals is to provide a platform for up-and-coming young artists to be seen and heard. With support from the Georgina Joshi Foundation, ensemble Sacabuche presented a concert for voices and early trombones. Works by Gabrieli and Schütz were presented alongside lesser-known composers such as Francesco Usper and Johann Stadlmayr.
The ensemble takes its name from the medieval Spanish word for trombone—sacabuche—which later became “sackbut” in English.
Winners of the Early Music America “Collegium Musicum Grant,” Sacabuche is primarily made up of students from the Early Music Institute at Indiana University and directed by Linda Pearse.
The Early Music Institute Recital Prize
Initiated by the festival in 2007, the Early Music Institute Recital Prize is an award given for the most outstanding recital of the 2008/2009 school year. This year, the prize was shared by two artists—Spanish baritone Antonio Santos and Japanese harpsichordist Maho Sone—who individually gave varied programs of music from the 16th through the 18th Centuries.
On the Fringe: Fenix de los Ingenios
A new development at this year’s festival was the addition of fringe concerts, which included a performance by the Bloomington-based group Fenix de los Ingenios. Directed by Carolina Gamboa-Hoyos, the ensemble gave the modern North American premiere of Joseph Ruiz-Samaniego’s “Vespers for Our Lady of the Pillar.” A Spanish composition from the latter-half of the 17th Century, the vespers was composed to celebrate the patron saint of Zaragoza cathedral.
Our new release of the week features the Binchois Consort in a performance of Guillaume Dufay’s Missa se la face ay pale on the Hyperion label. Directed by Andrew Kirkman, the recording is the fifth installment by the ensemble to focus on Dufay’s works from the 15th Century.