Let’s start with the song “Ach Döhterlin, min sel gemeit” (which translates, “Bold soul of mine, dear daughter”), by 15th-century poet-musician Heinrich Laufenberg performed by Ensemble Dragma on their recording Kingdom of Heaven. We’ll hear more from this CD later in the hour.
Seattle Historical Arts for Kids
This hour, we’re bringing you the final part in a three-part look at Early Music America’s 2015 Young Performers Festival. Seven groups from some of the finest institutions in North America were invited to participate. In part one and two, we featured ensembles from Case Western Reserve University, The Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, the University of North Texas, Oberlin, and Indiana University. This week, we’ll hear from Seattle Historical Arts for Kids and McGill University.
The vision of Seattle Historical Arts for Kids is to introduce young people to 12th-18th century music, dance, theater, and culture. The organization runs a music academy and offers public performances and in-school programs throughout the year.
In June, Seattle Historical Arts for Kids, or SHAK, brought by far the youngest of performers to the Young Performers Festival in Boston. The cast members, ages 6 to 17, performed an adaptation of Georg Friderick Handel’s opera Alcina. We’ll be hearing musical excerpts from their performance.
But first, let’s set the scene: Ruggiero has been carried away to an enchanted island, ruled by the powerful sorceresses Alcina and Morgana. Ruggerio’s fiancée, Bradamante—disguised as a man—follows. The island is populated with beasts and plants who are really enchanted people, victims of Alcina’s magic. The visitors quickly learn that Alcina is not to be trusted!
[EMA’s 2015 Young Performers Festival, Seattle Historical Arts for Kids, Shulamit Kleinerman/Carmen Mettler, First Church Boston, June 12, 2015, (live performance recording; not commercially available), Adaptation of Alcina by G.F. Handel: Prologue: Questa dolce sirena [Giovanni Gastoldi, 1591] (:45 excerpt); Praying each hour for liberty (Francesca Caccini, 1625] (1:20); E Gelosia (beginning w sword fight (:55); Semplicetto (3:50)]
Now, let’s jump ahead in the story to when the enchanted Ruggerio is freed from Alcina’s spell and attempts to deceive her and escape. Then our heroes battle for their freedom and the liberty of all those under Alcina’s spell.
[EMA’s 2015 Young Performers Festival, Seattle Historical Arts for Kids, Shulamit Kleinerman/Carmen Mettler, First Church Boston, June 12, 2015, (live performance recording; not commercially available), Adaptation of Alcina by G.F. Handel: Ama sospira (1:00 excerpt); Verdi prati (2:55); Combat des songes agreables et funestes / Un momento di contento / Sinfonia / Dopo tante amare pene (4:45)]
And love triumphs! We heard music from an adaptation of Handel’s Alcina, brought to life by the young cast members of Seattle Historical Arts for Kids as part of the EMA’s 2015 Young Performers Festival.
Stage direction was by Carmen Mettler, and the adaption and choreography was by SHAK’s director Shulamit Kleinerman, who, by the way, won Early Music America’s 2015 Laurette Goldberg Award, given to honor ongoing achievement in educational outreach. Congratulations, Shula!
We also heard Laura Gulley and Shulamit Kleinerman on violin, cellist Juliana Soltis, Catherine Liddell on theorbo, and Patrick Dave Morgan on harpsichord.
McGill University’s Early Music Ensemble
Last but not least, we bring you highlights from a concert by McGill University’s Early Music Ensemble at the EMA’s 2015 Young Performers Festival.
They prepared a program entitled Musique ancienne et moderne. Let’s hear their performance of Sigismondo d’India’s “Piangono al pianger mio”.
[EMA’s 2015 Young Performers Festival, McGill University Early Music Ensemble, First Church Boston, June 11, 2015, (live performance recording; not commercially available), Piangono al pianger mio (Sigismondo d’India) (4:15)]
Let’s listen to more from McGill University. Here’s music from Georg Philipp Teleman’s “Trietto no. 3 in D minor.”
[EMA’s 2015 Young Performers Festival, McGill University Early Music Ensemble, First Church Boston, June 11, 2015, (live performance recording; not commercially available), Trietto no. 3, in D minor: Allegro – Largo – Allegro (Georg Philipp Telemann) (8:35)]
Members of McGill’s Early Music Ensemble include soprano Kimberly Lynch, Joel Verkaik on baroque oboe, Joshua Colucci on baroque violin, Ryan Gallagher on viola da gamba and baroque ‘cello, Nathan Mondry on harpsichord, and David Henkelman on organ and harpsichord. They are coached by Hank Knox.
Ensemble Dragma’s Kingdom of Heaven
Our featured release is a recording devoted to the 15th-century poet-musician Heinrich Laufenberg by Ensemble Dragma.
Not much is known about Laufenberg’s life, and most of his song collection—120 pieces written in his own hand—was lost when the city of Strasbourg fell under siege in 1870 and its municipal library and its collection of rare books and manuscripts were largely destroyed.
The loss is a cruel one, but thanks to 19th-century literary scholars, like Philipp Wackernagel, a nearly complete version of the song texts was made in 1867, before the bombardment.
While the poetry and texts were their primary focus, some scholars also copied melodies into their personal research notes.
Ensemble Dragma, studying these sources and making their best educated guess, give what they believe is a plausible reconstruction of Laufenberg’s work.
Interspersed with Laufenberg’s works on the CD are other pieces that help place him in historical context. There are also several instrumental arrangements, or intabulations, for solo instruments to play, a practice that was just emerging in Laufenberg’s time.
We have time for one more track. Let’s hear Laufenberg’s song “Got geb vns allen.”
Break and theme music
:30, EMA’s 2015 Young Performers Festival, McGill University Early Music Ensemble, First Church Boston, June 11, 2015, [live performance recording; not commercially available], [Alessandro Stradella]: Sonata a violin solo e basso (excerpt)
:60, EMA’s 2015 Young Performers Festival, McGill University Early Music Ensemble, First Church Boston, June 11, 2015, [live performance recording; not commercially available], [Alessandro Stradella]: Sonata a violin solo e basso (excerpt)
:30, Kingdom of Heaven: Music of Heinrich Laufenberg and his contemporaries, Ensemble Dragma, Ramee (2014) B00NGSCMK4, [ANONYMOUS, c.1460]: Tr. 9 Cum lacrimis (Wolf 1) (excerpt of 2:31)
Theme: Danse Royale, Ensemble Alcatraz, Elektra Nonesuch 79240-2 1992 B000005J0B, T.12: La Prime Estampie Royal
The writers for this edition of Harmonia are LuAnn Johnson and Janelle Davis.
[Special thanks to Brandon Labadie from the EMA and engineer Rachel Boyd from the School of Music Recording Studio at Texas Tech.]
Learn more about recent early music CDs on the Harmonia Early Music Podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes or at harmonia early music dot org.