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Archive for Harmonia Early Music

December 24, 2020

Shepherds Bow painting c. 1650

There Were Shepherds

We’re going outside, not into the snow, but to the pastoral, and probably warm, scene of the nativity. Plus, beautiful polyphonic choral music from Renaissance Spain. Join us!

December 21, 2020

Archbishop Karel II of Liechtenstein-Castelcorno.

Harmonia Uncut: Czech Out This Christmas Concert!

Tempesta di Mare created a very unusual Christmas concert of Czech music, most of which was found in a bishop’s library in the Moravian Court in Kroměříž. Singers, strings, brass, winds, and organ join together for festive music of the season.

December 14, 2020

'Tis the season quilt and wooden tree decoration

The Christmas Oratorio Quilt

This hour, baroque music composed for the Christmas season, stitched together into a kind of pastiche oratorio quilt... Plus, medieval Christmas music performed by Gothic Voices.                           

December 11, 2020

chiaroscuro detail from the painting The Matchmaker

Chiaroscuro: Darkness to Light

Chiaroscuro is a technique in visual art that tells vivid stories through sharp contrasts of light and dark. This week on Harmonia, we’ll uncover moments of darkness and light with instruments and voice. Our featured release is Soundscape: Leonardo Da Vinci, by Capella de la Torre.

December 7, 2020

Cathedral Christobel in Mexico City

Harmonia Uncut: Baroque in Texas

Join us for excerpts from the concert “Hecho en Mexico” by Austin Baroque Orchestra.

November 30, 2020

From a painting of Aeneas and Dido.

Not That Dido!

Join us for settings of Dido’s lament that predated Purcell’s by nearly 200 years

November 23, 2020

King James Bible

Parthenia, Dashon Burton, and King James

Travel with us back through time to October 2016. We’re visiting St. Luke in the Fields Church in New York City for “King James and his Bible: a musical portrait,” a concert presented by the viol consort Parthenia with guest bass-baritone Dashon Burton.

November 12, 2020

Drinking Song (drawing) by Mihaly Zichy

A Unicum, or What's in a Name?

What do the national drink of Hungary and a composition that is found only in one source have in common? Why, both are called Unicum!

November 9, 2020

Saint Chapelle

Harmonia Uncut: An Alchymical Transformation

In January, 2020, Alchymy Viols underwent some friendly alchemy to become an ensemble of singers and instrumentalists perfect for the performance of Marc Antoine Charpentier’s 11th and final mass, first performed at the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, probably during the feast of the Assumption in 1699. We’ll hear some of that splendid mass and also Charpentier’s only Sonata among an oeuvre of well over 500 works.

October 26, 2020

The Weird Sisters or The Three Witches, a painting by Henry Fuseli, 1783.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.” This week on Harmonia, we’ll catch a fright listening to scary sounds for Halloween…but Halloween was not always reserved for trick-or-treaters.

October 26, 2020

The Rose Ensemble, HUP14

Harmonia Uncut: Musique et Masqueray

We'll hear excerpts from the Rose Ensemble's concert at the St. Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Paul in March of 2017. The concert comprised liturgical music composed in the style current in France in the seventeenth century, though not all the repertory is by French composers...

October 12, 2020


Harmonia Uncut: Loftus and Lapin - Not a law firm!

Harmonia Uncut brings you two performances from back in the time of concerts, one of Mozart from Gili Loftus, and one of Muffat from Matvey Lapin.

October 5, 2020

Heloise and Abelard from the 14th c. French manuscript Le Roman de la Rose.

Star-Crossed Lovers

Valentine’s day may be a day of chocolates, flowers, and joy for some. For others, love is fraught with sadness, separation, and death... This week: stories of famous star-crossed lovers.

September 28, 2020

Detail from the concert program for Quire Cleveland's concert of music by William Byrd.

Harmonia Uncut: Quire Cleveland Performs William Byrd

Quire Cleveland performs music by William Byrd from a 2016 concert, “England’s Phoenix: William Byrd.”

September 28, 2020

Portrait of a man made of fruits and vegetables.

Ensalada mista!

We'll take a journey to sixteenth-century Spain to hear some foot-tapping ensaladas. Get ready to clap your hands and stamp your feet along with this irresistibly energetic music! 

September 14, 2020

Painting of Spanish Men-of-War Engaging Barbary Corsairs

Ahoy, Matey!

Avast, early music fans! It’s pirate week on Harmonia, and we’re plundering centuries of music to bring you tuneful treasures connected to the ocean-going villains of the past. We’ll also sample a featured release from Agave Baroque.

September 14, 2020

Title page to a concert by Les Voix called Lachrimae.

Harmonia Uncut: Les Voix Humaines and Dowland's Teares

Les Voix Humaines and Nigel North, perform some very beautiful and unusual interpretations of John Dowland's Lacrimae, or Seaven Teares.

August 31, 2020

Machaut,complainte d'amant

Harmonia Uncut: Vajra Voices

Vajra Voices, directed by Karen R. Clark, is a female vocal ensemble that sings medieval to modern music. On February 1, 2020 they gave a concert called “In a Medieval Garden” in Santa Cruz, California. We’re going to listen to them sing music of Guillaume de Machaut accompanied by guest artist and multi-instrumentalist Mary Springfels. Join us!

August 24, 2020

Black and white engraving of a swan plucking the strings of a harp.

Swan Songs

This hour, we’ll listen to last works-- swan-songs, if you will--from Renaissance and Baroque composers.

August 17, 2020

Virgin Mary

Harmonia Uncut: Monteverdi Collab

Add the Dark Horse Consort and the Chant Schola to the Green Mountain Project (in Italian, “green mountain” easily translates to “monte verdi” - just saying); gather in the Church of St. Jean Baptiste in New York City on January 3, 2019; stir well; and perform the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610. I wonder whether this is the first performance that uses all female cornetto players…

August 10, 2020

From a portrait of Pope Leo X by Raphael, 1518-19.

The Medici Codex of 1518

The music manuscript known as the Medici Codex was thought to have been created as a present for Lorenzo de’ Medici, Duke of Urbino, and his bride . . . but the story is not that simple.

August 3, 2020

Viol consort, Quaver

Harmonia Uncut: Quaver

In 2018, the viol consort Quaver performed a concert at the Viola da Gamba Society of America's conclave in North Carolina and surprised their listeners with some unexpected approaches to familiar music.

July 20, 2020

Dutch painter Gerard van Honthorst depiction of King David Playing the Harp.

Tune Your Harps

On this edition of Harmonia, we tune up strings of the violin, cello, viola da gamba, and lute, with music in scordatura, or alternate tunings, of strange and familiar instruments.

July 20, 2020

Infusion Baroque Ensemble

Harmonia Uncut: Infusion Baroque

Music from Infusion Baroque's performance in the 2017 Indianapolis Early Music Festival in a program that featured Italianate composers of the 17th and early 18th centuries.

July 9, 2020

Drawing of the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theater from London in the 1860s.

Night at the Theater: Lincoln’s Inn Fields

We avoid the long lines and go directly into Lincoln’s Inn Fields theatre in London to hear music from some of its most popular shows. Then, we cross the English channel to France, to hear music from the time of Louis XIV from our featured release The Versailles Revolution.

July 6, 2020

Viola da Gamba, Deutsches Museum.

Harmonia Uncut: Impossible Historical Performances

On this episode of Harmonia Uncut, we visit two lone musicians, one in Ohio and one in Berlin, already alone before the pandemic, recording themselves playing all the parts of their pieces. Tricky stuff!

June 22, 2020

Michael Slattery

Familiarity and Freshness

We'll hear excerpts from “The People’s Purcell” by Le Nef with Michael Slattery at the Indianapolis Early Music Festival’s opening concert of 2017.

June 8, 2020

Detail from an Elizabethan Enterprise concert program page

Harmonia Uncut: Elizabethan Enterprise

Ah, time travel! Today’s podcast revisits Music before 1800 in New York City in January of 1979 to bring you excerpts from a concert of fifteenth century Italian music.

June 1, 2020

Chicken and quail eggs in a bowl.

As You Like It: The Quodlibet in Germany

A musical quodlibet can be several things — a parody that contains some kind of crazy list, or a piece with well-known melodies that appear in successive or simultaneous combinations. Join us for German musical quodlibets, this hour on Harmonia.

May 25, 2020

Waltham Abbey.

Harmonia Uncut: Waltham Abbey 1993

The Waltham Abbey Singers perform music of Thomas Tallis. 

May 18, 2020


Paul Wranitzky (Who?)

Join us for music by a Czech violinist and composer who was sought after by Haydn and Beethoven, in the same freemasons’ lodge as Mozart, and very much a star of the Vienna musical scene.

May 11, 2020


The Warbling Chalumeau

The chalumeau was a single-reed ancestor of the clarinet, whose brief popularity left a lasting impression. We’ll explore music for the chalumeau--plus, torchsongs on historical instruments, on our featured release Songs Without Words on this week’s edition of Harmonia.

May 11, 2020

Detail from Botticelli's Idealized Portrait of a Lady.

Harmonia Uncut: Viols, Vinci & Vittoria

Three strands are braided together into this episode of Harmonia Uncut: copies of viols from Lombardy performing music from Lombardy that sets spiritual sonnets written by the first published female poet.

April 29, 2020

1598 colored woodcut of Leipzig, Germany.

Leipzig: "World in Miniature"

Enlightenment philosopher Gotthold Ephraim Lessing said, “I'm coming to Leipzig, to the place where one can see the whole world in miniature.” We'll hear music from over 400 years of Leipzig church and city life on this edition of Harmonia.

April 27, 2020

Medieval image of Bernart de Ventadour

Harmonia Uncut: Potpourri - Hair Shirts & Blisters on Fingers

On today’s podcast, we’ll hear a trouvère song by Gace Brulé with voice and vielle by Aaron Cain and Joanna Blendulf. Then...ever heard of David Baudinger? You won’t forget the name after you hear this performance by viola da gamba player Joshua Keller.

April 17, 2020


Gargoyle Melodies: Music from the Notre Dame Cathedral

Join us as we explore the musical legacy of Notre Dame Cathedral — plus, a tribute to the late Michael Jaffee.

April 13, 2020

50 Shades of Baroque

Harmonia Uncut: 50 Shades of Baroque

The supergroup 50 Shades of Baroque perform in a concert most intriguingly titled eponymously. We'll hear music by the Italian composer Antonio Caldara.

March 30, 2020

Gardens at Versailles.

Earthly Gardens

Gardens surprise and enchant us. Their fragrant smells can arise in one place from sweet violets, and in another from perfectly trimmed hedges. This week, we take a stroll along the grand canal of the gardens at Versailles, and hear music from a manuscript shaped like a heart.

March 30, 2020

Black Tulip

Harmonia Uncut: Black Tulip and the Delights of Arcadia

Ensemble Black Tulip in concert, celebrating the delights of Arcadia, including pastoral solo cantatas by Handel and Alessandro Scarlatti.

March 16, 2020

medieval alchemy lab

Harmonia Uncut: Ensemble Alkemie Unites Music and Magic

We’ll hear some ‘Alkemical’ medieval songs and dance,

March 16, 2020


Costanzo Festa

On Harmonia this week, we explore the work of 16th-century Italian composer Costanzo Festa.

March 2, 2020

Piffaro in concert.

Harmonia Uncut: Piffaro “Back before Bach”

Excerpts from renowned renaissance band Piffaro's March 2018 Philadelphia concert.

March 2, 2020


Purim Party

Explore the Jewish spring holiday of Purim, a commemoration of the Book of Esther. Purim celebrations are best known today for their gift-giving, wild costume parties, and delicious hamentashen. The story of Esther was also the inspiration for a number of musical works, as we will see.

February 24, 2020


The Cathedral of Seville

This week, music of the Seville cathedral, then on to England and The Lily & The Rose.

February 17, 2020


Mount Olympus

Musical tales from the gods of Mount Olympus

January 27, 2020

Candle burning, wax dripping

In Memory Of

This week, baroque composers remember their mentors, colleagues, and heroes through musical tributes known as tombeaux.

January 23, 2020

Image from the first page of the manuscript of the "Ricercar a 6" BWV 1079 by Johann Sebastian Bach., 1747.

All the Way 'Round to Bach

The last in our series of four programs about canon and fugue. This hour's devoted completely to Johann Sebastian Bach!

January 13, 2020


Round Three

This week, the third in a series of four programs that explore canons and fugues from the earliest written music to J.S. Bach. Join us for “round three,” with catches, canzonas, and a certain infamous canon.

January 6, 2020

Woodcut image of composer Josquin des Prez from 1611

Josquin Can!

This week on Harmonia, a sampling of renaissance rounds performed by Blue Heron, Kings Singers, Nonesuch Consort, Fretwork, and more. 

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