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Harmonia Early Music

Listener Favorites: Gesualdo, Tavener, Dalza, Pergolesi, And More

We asked our listening audience to tell us their favorite pieces of early music.

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Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) by Vincenzo Roscioni.

Time capsule for this episode: 1619

Not long ago, we asked our listening audience, through the Harmonia website and its social media pages, to tell us their favorite pieces of early music. The response was not only enthusiastic, but quite detailed.

We also asked everyone to tell us what city they lived in. As it turns out, many reside on the East and West Coasts, the Midwest, and Southern United States, as well as Hawaii.  Others live further afield, including London (England), Vancouver and Winnipeg (Canada), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Alicante and Oviedo (Spain), and Porto (Portugal).

Favorite Renaissance repertoire

One favorite repertoire of our listeners was firmly anchored in the Renaissance.

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Baroque mentions

Two popular compositions that were requested are both masterpieces and universally loved—Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Johann Sebastian Bach’s B minor mass.

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The Helm Manuscript

We’ve been listening to our listening audience’s favorite pieces. We’ll get back to them in a moment, but first let’s have a look at a unique manuscript from the 18th Century.

During the 2009-2010 school year, two professors from Indiana University collaborated on a course that focused on a manuscript housed at the Lilly Library, the University’s repository for rare books, manuscripts, and special collections.

The two professors were viola da gambist Wendy Gillespie and musicologist Giovanni Zanovello.  The students who took their class learned about the contents and background history of the Helm manuscript.

The Helm manuscript was copied by Englishman John Stafford Smith in the 18th Century. It contains a little over two-dozen vocal works from the Renaissance and Barqoue, including composers Le Jeune, Palestrina, Lassus, Bononcini, Stradella, Merula, and others.

To celebrate the work achieved in studying the manuscript, the Indiana University Concentus Ensemble presented a concert of excerpts.

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Featured release: Llibre Vermell

Our “listener’s favorites” continue with this week’s featured release.  More than one person wanted music from the medieval collection of Marian songs known as the Llibre Vermell, or “Vermillion Book.”

Here to fulfill the request is the Catalan ensemble Capella de Ministrers, under the direction of Carles Magraner.

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Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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