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Early Music America: 2019 Emerging Artists Showcase

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[Begin theme music]

Welcome to Harmonia . . . I’m Angela Mariani. Nearly all the music we play at Harmonia dates from a time when all music was live--even in times of plague, since science hadn’t quite caught onto the importance of temporary distancing.  Now, just for the moment, live performance is on hold – and while we look forward to playing and singing together again, we also remember the joy we’ve had from being on both the performing and receiving ends of concerts. This hour, travel with us to May, 2019, to hear the artists who performed in Early Music America’s Emerging Artists Showcase, which took place that year as part of the Bloomington Early Music Festival. 

[Theme music fades]

MUSIC TRACK
Early Music America Emerging Artists Festival
Rezonance Baroque Ensemble
May 24, 2019, First Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
George Frederic Handel:
Trio Sonata in e minor, Op. 5, No. 3, HWV 398; Allemande, Sarabande, Rondeau (4:52)

Rezonance Baroque ensemble performed Handel’s Trio Sonata in e minor, Op. 5 #3.

Mike, this short backannounce is quieter than the rest of the VT because I forgot to record it and had to steal it from the messed up first take. I tried to fix it but Audacity sucks, so I leave it to you.

Can you imagine a world in which the only music you hear is live music? One of the few things we can say with reasonable certainty about the performance of music from before the late 19th century is that, in its own time, it was performed live or not at all.

But, of course, that was then, and we’ve moved somewhere else completely for this pandemic moment. Early Music America would ordinarily have presented its 2020 Emerging Artists Showcase at the Berkeley Early Music Festival in June 2020—but this hour, we’re going to cheer ourselves with a visit to 2019’s EMA Emerging Artists Showcase, and that means a trip to Bloomington Indiana.

Four applicants - two soloists and two ensembles - were chosen by EMA to play to an audience of peers, young performers, early music aficionados, and academics, in addition to an appreciative local audience. Showcase applicants were asked to describe how they see the future of historical performance taking shape, and to define how their role as artists and ensembles aligns with that future vision. Something to ponder...

Let’s dive in [at the virtuoso soloist end of the Emerging Artists Showcase] with recorder player Vincent Lauzer, who won his first competition in 2009, when he was awarded both First Prize and Audience Appreciation Prize in the Montreal International Recorder Competition. In 2018, his recording of Vivaldi Concertos with Arion Baroque won a Diapason d’or from Diapason Magazine.

Right at the outset, the disembodied sound of the recorder, working with the acoustic of Bloomington’s First Presbyterian Church, mesmerized Vincent’s audience as he strolled to the platform playing ever more virtuosic diminutions on the tune Laura by the famous blind 17th-century recorder player Jacob van Eyck, followed by his variations called Boffons.                                                                                     

MUSIC TRACK
Early Music America Emerging Artists Festival
Vincent Lauzer, recorder
May 23, 2019, First Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
(edited together as one track)
Jacob van Eyck:
Laura, Boffons (5:18)

Vincent Lauzer performed music of Jacob Van Eyck, one of many famous composer-performers of his own day, and probably one of the single most important composers of music specifically for the recorder. But recorder players have lots of other sources for repertory – after all, very little music has ever appeared that says specifically, “Do not try this on any other instrument!” Here, for instance, Vincent Lauzer transposes Bach’s Partita for Flute in A minor up a minor third so that he can sing it on his alto recorder. We’ll hear the Sarabande and Bourée anglaise. 

MUSIC TRACK
Early Music America Emerging Artists Festival
Vincent Lauzer, recorder
May 23, 2019, First Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
J.S. Bach
Partita in C Minor, BWV 1013: Sarabande, Bourée anglaise (5:31)

From JS Bach’s Sonata originally for flute in A minor, Vincent Lauzer played first the Sarabande, with its requisite blend of musicianship and subtle virtuosity, and then the very spirited Bourée anglaise.

Let’s turn now to the first of the two ensembles chosen for the Emerging Artists Showcase. Aperi Animam is a group of a dozen professional singers that describes itself as a vocal early music ensemble whose repertory extends from Gregorian chant to 21st-century works, but mostly focuses on Thomas Tallis and William Byrd.  In defining themselves and their role as an ensemble, Aperi Animam emphasizes spiritual music making. While there is careful attention to historical performance practice, the ensemble emphasizes the meditative and reflective atmosphere that can be manifested through the music’s thoughtful and mindful performance. They hope to communicate its mystical properties and benefit to the soul, which is where their name originates—“open your soul.”

Aperi Animam’s program in Bloomington was called “Libera nos: Music on Tribulation and Salvation: A meditative concert of Renaissance choral music recounting the Jewish exile to Babylon.” The concert, which indeed began with a silent meditation in which the audience was invited to participate, was dedicated to those massacred in mass shootings. Here is Aperi Animam singing William Byrd’s Suscepimus Deus/Justitia/Magnus Dominus, from the first volume of Byrd’s 1605 Gradualia. 

MUSIC TRACK
Early Music America Emerging Artists Festival
Aperi Animam
May 24, 2019, First Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
William Byrd
Suscepimus Deus / Justitia / Magnus Dominus (4:00)                                                      

“We have received Thy mercy, O God, in the midst of Thy temple; according to Thy Name, O God, so also is Thy praise unto the ends of the earth.” The vocal ensemble Aperi Animam ended their 2019 Early Music America Emerging Artist’s Showcase program with William Byrd’s Introit for the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin.

Joyce Chen is a native of Taiwan who made her international debut at the Musica Antiqua Festival and Harpsichord Competition in Bruges, Belgium. Her primary harpsichord teachers include Davitt Moroney, Carlene Brendler and Arthur Haas. Joyce’s program was entitled Con tutti gli affetti e l’immaginazione: a potpourri of 17th century Italian harpsichord music.

As one might expect in some music from this time period, the Italian-style single manual harpsichord is tuned, or more specifically “tempered,” to a juicy quarter comma meantone. (I think your ear will get the juicy part, even if you were tuning in with the assumption that there would be no math!) Joyce Chen plays a toccata of Michelangelo Rossi, who exploits the irregularities of the tuning to seize our attention and move our spirit. Rossi has a very distinctive voice, full of chromatic, tortured melodies and abrupt landings in alien key worlds, from which we are relieved by more stable imitative sections.

MUSIC TRACK 
Early Music America Emerging Artists Festival
Joyce Chen, harpsichord
May 23, 2019, First Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
Michelangelo Rossi
Toccata Settima from Toccate e correnti d’intavolatura d’organo e cembalo (4:19)

That was one of ten keyboard toccatas composed by Michelangelo Rossi, performed by Joyce Chen on a harpsichord tuned in a temperament called “quarter-comma-mean tone.” Chen was one of the four artists presented in the EMA Emerging Artists Showcase of May, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana.

You can hear highlights from recent and archival concert recordings of early music on Harmonia Uncut -- our biweekly podcast, curated and hosted by Wendy Gillespie. Listen online at harmonia early music dot org and through iTunes. 

You’re listening to Harmonia . . .  I’m Angela Mariani. 

Theme Music Bed: Ensemble Alcatraz, Danse Royale, Elektra Nonesuch 79240-2 / B000005J0B, T.12: La Prime Estampie Royal

:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed: Sacred and Secular Music from Renaissance Germany, Ciaramella, Naxos 2006 / B000CGYOAO, Anonymous (arr. Adam Gilbert), Tr. 24 Fanfare Wer ich eyn falck (:59)

Welcome back. This hour, we’re listening to the May 2019 Early Music America Emerging Artists Showcase, which took place in Bloomington, Indiana.

The fourth emergence in the showcase was Rezonance Baroque Ensemble, which has been active since 2012 on Toronto’s classical music scene. They want their performances to “rezonate” with today’s audience; they bring under-appreciated works to the public and help people find new ways of hearing the classics, in part by remaining open to experimentation with both musical improvisation and concert format.

Rezonance called their concert “Handel’s Heroines.” You might, perhaps, be able to imagine some of the music and you’d be absolutely correct - of course we heard Cleopatra’s greatest hits (Piangeró, la sorte mia, and her Da Tempeste, both from Giulio Cesare). But how well do you know Alcina?

We are at the end of Act 2: Alcina, trying to bind Ruggiero to her, casts spells in a subterranean room, attempting to summon the ministers of revenge and the blind cruel daughters. They appear as spirits (and then turn into dancers so the act can end), when Alcina loses heart and casts her magic wand aside.

MUSIC TRACK                                                                                                        
Early Music America Emerging Artists Festival
Rezonance Baroque Ensemble
May 24, 2019, First Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
George Frederic Handel: Alcina, Ah, Ruggiero crudel - Ombre Pallide (9:15)

We heard soprano Vania Chan sing the recitative and aria from the end of Act 2 of George Frederic Handel’s Alcina. The other members of Rezonance are Rezan Onen-Lapointe and Kailey Richards, violin; Matt Antal, viola, Erika Nelson, cello; and David Podgorski, harpsichord.

For our featured release this week, we turn from emerging artists to emerging technologies that create new ways of performing early music.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was once the largest building in the world, an Orthodox Cathedral, and the center of the Byzantine Empire. The vast interior of this architectural marvel is extremely reverberant; sounds in the range of the human voice can be sustained there for up to twelve seconds. For about six centuries, Hagia Sophia as served as a mosque, and today it is a UNESCO world heritage site and a museum. It has been off limits for any performance by the human voice since 1935.

Recently, the vocal ensemble Cappella Romana collaborated with historians and scientists from Stanford University, and together they sound a way to blend historically-informed performance with cutting-edge technology to digitally recreate this unique acoustic in live performance, and for a recording: Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia.

We’ll hear Cappella Romana utilize this technology to sing a Cherubic Hymn likely heard in Hagia Sophia in the 13th century.

MUSIC TRACK
Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia
Cappella Romana
Cappella Romana 2019 / B07Y9B1MWX
T.12 - Asmatikon Cherubic Hymn (12:54)

Eastern Orthodox music of the thirteenth century: the Asmatikon Cherubic Hymn, Sung by Cappella Romana, from our featured release, Lost Voices of Hagia Sophia.

[Fade in theme music]

Harmonia is a production of WFIU. Support comes from Early Music America which strengthens and celebrates early music by supporting the people and organizations that perform, study, and find joy in it....on the web at EarlyMusicAmerica-DOT-org. Special thanks this week to David Wood for providing the Emerging Artist Showcase recordings.

Additional resources come from the William and Gayle Cook Music Library at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

We welcome your thoughts about any part of this program, or about early music in general. Contact us at harmonia early music dot org. And, you can follow our Facebook page and our updates on Twitter by searching for Harmonia Early Music.

The writer for this edition of Harmonia was Wendy Gillespie.

Thanks to our studio engineer Michael Paskash, and our production team: Aaron Cain, Wendy Gillespie, LuAnn Johnson and John Bailey. I’m Angela Mariani, inviting you to join us again for the next edition of Harmonia.

[Fade out theme music]

joyce chen, harpsichordist

Joyce Chen

Nearly all the music we play at Harmonia dates from a time when all music was live – even in times of plague, since science hadn’t quite caught onto the importance of temporary distancing. Now, just for the moment, live performance is on hold – and while we look forward to playing and singing together again, we also remember the joy we’ve had from being on both the performing and receiving ends of concerts. This hour, travel with us to May, 2019, to hear the artists who performed in Early Music America’s Emerging Artists Showcase, which took place that year as part of the Bloomington Early Music Festival. 
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