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Early Music America: 2019 Young Performers Festival Highlights

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[Begin theme music]

Welcome to Harmonia . . . I’m Angela Mariani. This hour, we’re going to go back in time a bit to the Early Music America Young Performers Festival that took place on May 22-24, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana. The festival was carefully planned to coincide with the Bloomington Early Music Festival, which overlapped in 2019 with the annual international Historical Performance Conference at the Historical Performance Institute of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. There was a lot of fantastic early music making, some of it even in public! Join me as we listen to talented young musicians from the US and Canada. Plus, on our featured release, Songs of Consolation, with 6th century texts by Boethius, with music performed by Sequentia.   

[Theme music fades]

MUSIC TRACK 
Early Music America Young Performers Festival
Oberlin Baroque
May 22, 2019, Trinity Episcopal Church, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
Joachim Quantz: Sonata in G (4:56)

From the Early Music America Young Performers Festival of May, 2019, held in Bloomington, IN, we heard members of Oberlin Baroque play the Cantabile and Allegro movements from Johann Joachim Quantz’s Sonata in G major.

Early Music America’s mission is to develop, strengthen, and celebrate early music in North America by supporting the people and organizations that perform, study, and find joy in it, and by championing the musical contributions they make to the health and vibrancy of their communities. Since 2010, one of the ways Early Music America has “championed” early music performance is to bring together college and university ensembles from all over North America to perform at the nation’s leading early music festivals in Berkeley, CA, Bloomington, IN, and Boston, MA. 

In the year 2020, Early Music America would have presented the 10th annual Young Performers Festival at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as part of the Berkeley Festival and Exhibition. Alas, due to the pandemic, that was not to be.

But--did you make it to 2019’s Young Performers Festival? What? You missed it? Well, you need to hear some of it! Let’s set the time machine for May 2019, and visit Trinity Episcopal Church, in Bloomington, IN.

The first Ensemble we’ll hear is based in Baltimore, MD. The Peabody Renaissance Chamber Ensemble is a select group of Historical Performance students from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. The ensemble was founded by Mark Cudek in 1988. Over the years, the group has performed in several U.S. venues, and has toured in Italy, Tokyo, Taiwan, and the Dominican Republic. For their May 24, 2019 concert in Bloomington, the ensemble performed a potpourri of music from Sephardic and Florentine Carnival songs, to improvisations on a passamezzo. We’re going to hear one of their Sephardic songs, Quando el rey Nimrod. It’s arguably the most popular song in the Sephardic repertory, and it tells the story of the birth of Abraham, the Father of the Jewish people.

MUSIC TRACK
Early Music America Young Performers Festival
Peabody Renaissance Chamber Ensemble (John Hopkins University)
May 24, 2019, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
Anonymous:
Quando el rey Nimrod (5:33)                                                                                                                

The Peabody Renaissance Chamber Ensemble performed the Sephardic song Quando el rey Nimrod on their May 24 concert, as part of the 2019 EMA Young Performers Festival.
 
The University of Southern California has two official early music ensembles, the Thornton Baroque Sinfonia and the USC Collegium Workshop. Both ensembles have performed in festivals in California and in the Berkeley and Boston Early Music Festivals. The USC Collegium Workshop was founded in 1986 by James Tyler and is currently led by early music program director Adam Knight Gilbert.
 
On May 23, 2019 the Thornton Collegium Workshop gave a concert they called “Dedans la mer: Music from the shores of England and France,” and we’re going to hear two pieces from that concert: the first is the fifteenth century English composer Walter Frye’s motet to the Virgin, Ave Regina caelorum, and it is followed by a much more secular, earthy anonymous fifteenth-century French piece entitled Se mon flageolet joli, found in a Spanish manuscript. It roughly translates: “If my pretty little flute…” ummm… in the interest of time and taste, let’s go straight to the music:                                                              

MUSIC TRACK
Early Music America Young Performers Festival
Thornton Collegium Workshop
May 23, 2019, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
(edited together as one track)
Walter Frye:
Ave Regina caelorum
Anonymous:
Se mon flageolet joli (5:43)
                                                                                                                                
The USC Collegium Workshop, directed by Adam Knight Gilbert, performed some fifteenth century music: Walter Frye’s Ave Regina caelorum and the anonymous French piece, Se mon flageolet joli – that was director Adam Knight Gilbert, by the way, playing the flageolet.

The rest of the Young Performers Festival concerts featured later repertory. Let’s turn now to even younger early musicians. The Brandenburg Project is a unique chamber ensemble from the Community Music School of Ann Arbor, MI, created for developing highly motivated young musicians who have a passion for Bach and his contemporaries. This period ensemble, whose motto is “learning, living and breathing Bach,” explores baroque playing techniques and develops the teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills needed to succeed as chamber musicians. They performed at Trinity Episcopal Church on May 24, 2019. And, in addition to bringing along a Brandenburg Concerto of Bach – they also gave us some music by Vivaldi and Pergolesi.

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi composed his Stabat Mater during the final weeks of his life when he was dying of tuberculosis, and it is one of his most celebrated sacred works. We’ll hear two of the three movements that the Brandenburg Project performed – Fac ut ardeat cor meum, and the final movement, Quando corpus morietur.

MUSIC TRACK
Early Music America Young Performers Festival
Brandenburg Project
May 24, 2019, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi:
Stabat Mater: Fac ut ardeat cor meum, Quando corpus morietur (5:56)
Stabat Mater: Fac ut ardeat cor meum, Quando corpus morietur

The young musicians of The Brandenburg Project, from Ann Arbor, MI, performed Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in Bloomington, IN, as part of the 2019 Early Music America Young Performers Festival. 

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: Boethius: Songs of Consolation, Sequentia (Norbert Rodenkirchen, flute), Glossa 2018 / B07D99H4GN, Anonymous: Tuba (excerpt of 3:16)

McGill University in Montréal has offered one of the most active and diverse programs in Historical Performance in North America for over 40 years. Opportunities include an annual staged production of an early opera, a Baroque Orchestra, the vocal chamber ensemble Cappella Antica, and, of course, chamber music ensembles. 

At Early Music America’s 2019 Young Performer’s Festival, The McGill University Baroque Ensemble, directed by Hank Knox, presented a program of seventeenth and eighteenth-century French and Italian music entitled, Curiose e modern inventioni. One of their offerings was the only cello sonata in Jean-Baptiste Barrière’s third book of cello sonatas to have a ‘curious’ accompanimental violin part, sort of upside down from what we’re used to. Here are 3 movements: Adagio, Allegro, and Giga.

MUSIC TRACK
Early Music America Young Performers Festival
McGill University Baroque Ensemble
May 23, 2019, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
Jean-Baptiste Barrière:
Adagio, Allegro and Giga, from Second Cello Sonata of his Third Book (4:49)

Barrière’s Second Cello Sonata from his Third Book, published in 1739, played by one of the McGill University Baroque Ensembles that took part in the May 23, 2019 concert in Bloomington, Indiana, as part of the EMA Young Performers Festival and the Bloomington Early Music Festival.

Oberlin Baroque’s performance for May 22, 2019 arose out of Oberlin’s Baroque Ensemble program in which small, coached ensembles perform once or twice per semester. Some of the instrumentalists are majors in Oberlin’s Historical Performance program; others are taking secondary lessons on a historical instrument. Oberlin’s Historical Performance Department is one of the oldest in the nation, having given degrees in Historical Instruments for almost 50 years. Let’s listen to the last part of Oberlin’s concert at Trinity Episcopal Church in Bloomington, from Jean-Marie Leclair’s Deuxieme Recreation de Musique. We’ll hear the Chaconne, extracted from the seven-movement sonata, which, the composer specifically tells us, should only be played by people with taste, finesse, and precision!

MUSIC TRACK
Early Music America Young Performers Festival
Oberlin Baroque
May 22, 2019, Trinity Episcopal Church, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
Jean-Marie Leclair: Deuxieme Recreation de Musique-Chaconne (7:15)

Visiting Bloomington, Indiana from neighboring Ohio, we heard Oberlin Baroque - directed from the harpsichord by Mark Edwards - playing the chaconne from Jean-Marie Leclair’s Deuxieme Recreation de Musique on May 22, 2019. Sounds like they really took to heart Monsieur LeClair’s exhortation to play with taste, finesse, and precision!

Turning now to our featured recording . . . more consolation for difficult times. For over a thousand years, readers have taken solace in the Consolation of Philosophy, written by Boethius in the early 520’s. The prose work also contains 39 songs that provide occasions for reflection and the medicine offered to Boethius by the archetypical figure of Philosophy—Sophia, or Wisdom--as she helps him accept the difficult circumstances that have led to his imprisonment, and would ultimately lead to his death.

The Cambridge Songs, so-named because they live at the University Library in Cambridge, are thought to have been compiled in part in the Rhineland in the 11th Century. At the time, musical notation was not precise and was meant only to jog the memory. It seemed an oral tradition was lost…UNTIL…a single leaf missing from the original manuscript was identified in the early 1980s. That single leaf contained musical notation that could be placed alongside other manuscripts, and melodic patterns became associated with specific meters.

Sam Barrett’s extensive research on the medieval melodic tradition in the Consolation of Philosophy led to a collaboration with the musicians of Sequentia, and this 2018 Glossa CD is the result.  Listen to one of the early songs, as Philosophy reprimands Boethius for the sorry state into which he has fallen, “his mind grows numb, his mind’s eye worn out.”

MUSIC TRACK
Boethius: Songs of Consolation
Sequentia
Glossa 2018 / B07D99H4GN
T.2: Heu, quam praecipiti (6:14)

Hanna Marti and Norbert Rodenkirchen of Sequentia performed Heu, quam praecipiti on the 2018 Glossa CD Boethius: Songs of Consolation. Norbert Rodenkirchen has been playing with Sequentia since 1996, exploring medieval instrumental improvisation in depth through performance, writing and teaching.  Let’s hear his reconstruction of a sequence called Stans a longe, for flute and harp. That will be followed by Quid tantos:, which queries, “What use is it to rouse such great commotions and to invite your fate with your own hand?.... If you want to give an apt repayment for deserts, love the good as is right and pity the evil.”

MUSIC TRACK
Boethius: Songs of Consolation
Sequentia
Glossa 2018 / B07D99H4GN
T.8: Stans a longe (3:46)
T.13: Quid tantos (1:50)

The medieval ensemble Sequentia – Benjamin Bagby, director, with Hanna Marti and Norbert Rodenkirchen – performed Stans a longe and Quid tantos from the 2018 Glossa CD, Boethius: Songs of Consolation, our featured release this hour.

[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 of Early Music America for access to the music of the 2019 Young Performer’s Festival.

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. 

[Theme music fades out]

McGill University Baroque Ensemble

McGill University Baroque Ensemble

This hour, we’re going to go back in time a bit to the Early Music America Young Performers Festival that took place on May 22-24, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana. The festival was carefully planned to coincide with the Bloomington Early Music Festival, which overlapped in 2019 with the annual international Historical Performance Conference at the Historical Performance Institute of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. There was a lot of fantastic early music making, some of it even in public! Join me as we listen to talented young musicians from the US and Canada. Plus, on our featured release, Songs of Consolation, with 6th century texts by Boethius, with music performed by Sequentia.

PLAYLIST

Early Music America Young Performers Festival
Oberlin Baroque
May 22, 2019, Trinity Episcopal Church, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
Joachim Quantz: Sonata in G (4:56)


Segment A:
Early Music America Young Performers Festival
Peabody Renaissance Chamber Ensemble (John Hopkins University)
May 24, 2019, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
Anonymous:
Quando el rey Nimrod (5:33)


Early Music America Young Performers Festival
Thornton Collegium Workshop
May 23, 2019, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
(edited together as one track)
Walter Frye:
Ave Regina caelorum
Anonymous:
Se mon flageolet joli (5:43)


Early Music America Young Performers Festival
Brandenburg Project
May 24, 2019, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi:
Stabat Mater: Fac ut ardeat cor meum, Quando corpus morietur (5:56)


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

:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed: Boethius: Songs of Consolation, Sequentia (Norbert Rodenkirchen, flute), Glossa 2018 / B07D99H4GN, Anonymous: Tuba (excerpt of 3:16)


Segment B:

Early Music America Young Performers Festival
McGill University Baroque Ensemble
May 23, 2019, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
Jean-Baptiste Barrière:
Adagio, Allegro and Giga, from Second Cello Sonata of his Third Book (4:49)


Early Music America Young Performers Festival
Oberlin Baroque
May 22, 2019, Trinity Episcopal Church, Bloomington, IN
[Not commercially available]
Jean-Marie Leclair: Deuxieme Recreation de Musique-Chaconne (7:15)


Featured Release:
Boethius: Songs of Consolation
Sequentia
Glossa 2018 / B07D99H4GN
T.2: Heu, quam praecipiti (6:14)
T.8: Stans a longe (3:46)
T.13: Quid tantos (1:50)

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