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(US) The Conversation Article: "Scientists are trying to uncover what makes Stradivarius violins special – but are they wasting their time?" (by Bruno Fazenda and Trevor Cox, 19 Dec 2016)
Stradivarius violins are renowned for their supposedly superior sound when compared to other instruments. This has resulted in numerous studies hunting for a scientific reason for why Strads sound so good. A number of these studies have focused on the chemical composition of the wood in violins made in Cremona by Antonio Stradivari in the 17th and 18th centuries. Others have considered the violins made by Stradivari’s contemporary, Joseph Guarneri del Gesu, whose violins are widely considered to be just as good. ...
"Most people today think of a carol as any song or hymn related to Christmas. In its origins, it is something both more and less specific than this. It is derived from the Old French word carole, referring to a round of dancers, singing and holding hands. What they sung was not limited to Christmas music, and musicologists often identify a refrain repeated after each stanza as the key feature of an early carol. Not all medieval carols were overtly religious, but most focused on the Virgin Mary or the winter holy days. ...
"As a college student studying theatre in the early 1980s, I frequently paid 50 cents to take PATH to New York, stand on line at the TKTS booth in Duffy Square, and pay $12.50 to see a Broadway show. (A regular ticket was $25.) Venturing into midtown Manhattan during the Reagan presidency was an adventure, as you had to make your way through homeless people living in the street and avoid eye contact with the ladies of the night. Half the Broadway theatres were dark and shuttered. Tickets were relatively inexpensive, so young artists and enthusiasts had easy access to plays, which also served as an extended classroom for emerging artists. ...
(A growing trend in media outlets of releasing their art critic journalists and closing down these departments should worry us. Here again is another example of such a closure.)
"There is a continual conversation about the lack of support for the arts in Austin that is so pervasive at openings and afterparties that it serves as a sort of dark, loathsome substitute for small talk. While universally accepted that funds are in short supply, there are signs that the scene is by other measures healthy. ...
"My name is Tobie Miller, and I am a Canadian hurdy gurdy player based in Basel, Switzerland.
The music of J.S. Bach has followed me throughout my musical life as a sort of leitmotif. I grew up listening to and playing his music in so many different and varied forms - both original versions and adaptations - that it was a natural next step to adapt some of Bach's most beautiful solo works for my instrument. Bach's music is often described as "universal", and has been transcribed, adapted and adopted by and for numerous different instruments and musical genres. However, this is the first time that Johann Sebastian Bach's music has been recorded on the hurdy gurdy! ...
(US) Journal of Seventeenth Century Music - New Publication: "Thematic Catalogue of Chamber Cantatas by Marc'Antonio Pasqualini" (compiled by Margaret Murata, Dec 2016)
(From a recent post from Kelley Harness, Editor-in-Chief (outgoing), Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music)
... announcing the publication of Margaret Murata's Thematic Catalogue of Chamber Cantatas by Marc'Antonio Pasqualini ...
We invite you join us and our Bach Choir Houston for the 2017 Leipzig Bach Festival, June 8–19. This international event is the world’s major Bach festival, and Bach Society Houston is the first professional American choir to be honored with an invitation for the 2017 Festival. The Bach Choir under the direction of Rick Erickson will sing for various parts of the Festival and in other locations outside of Leipzig. ...
(US) Createquity Article: "Everything We Know About Whether and How the Arts Improve Lives" (by By Salem Tsegaye, Ian David Moss, Katie Ingersoll, Rebecca Ratzkin, Sacha Wynne and Benzamin Yi, 19 Dec 2016)
The platitudes are on the lips of every arts supporter, ready to be recalled at the first sign of a public hearing or potential funding cut. “The arts are essential – a necessity, not a luxury.” “The arts help kids learn.” “The arts are the foundation of the knowledge economy.” It feels good to say those things, especially if you’re someone who has spent a life in the arts. But are they actually true? Are we pulling a fast one on ourselves and our audience by saying them? Or are we doing a service to the world by spreading the good news? ...
(In Memoriam ... from a recent post from the Unquiet Thoughts blog (Donna Stweart & Ron Andrico, Mignarda))
Having stumbled across a few old letters from old friend and amazing fiddler, Jonathan Bekoff (1959 – 2015), amusingly tucked away in old issues of the journal Early Music, I am prompted to add a few more reminiscences – and also make available more tracks from our tune session way back in 1983. ...
News from Fugue State Films regarding the status of their crowdfunding project of "Max Reger: The Last Giant".
As of mid-December: "Thanks to your support, we have reached a milestone with our Reger crowdfunding. We have now raised a grand total of:
£85,908. This is 95% of our goal of £90,000! We've got just £4,092 left to go. ...
"Our latest digitisation project has begun as we work to digitise 400 pre-1200 manuscripts from the British Library holdings, with a generous support from The Polonsky Foundation. The joint project between the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France seeks to promote and explore the contacts between France and England from 700 to 1200, as witnessed in medieval manuscript culture. We have already started, and have compiled a list of around 250 manuscripts that are key to the project themes. However, we would welcome ideas from readers about illuminated manuscripts at the British Library that you would like to see digitised. ...
Although ’tis the season for that particularly tactless style of unapologetic American commercialism, we sidestep the sales talk, share a video of a recent performance, and reflect upon one of the primary reasons we began performing as a duo—the ayres for voice and lute by John Dowland (1563 – 1626). Although we have released only one recording devoted to Dowland, his music is and always has been a staple in our concert repertory. Readers who have been with us for a while will recall that we have written an ample handful of earlier posts that discussed singing Dowland’s music, as well as our in-depth series that outlined the schooling typical of professional musicians in Elizabethan England in an attempt to understand Dowland’s training. ...
Črtomir Šiškovič - violin
Luca Ferrini - harpsichord
"A perpetuator of Corelli’s style, but endowed with a more passionate nature and a more refined technique, Tartini fully embodies the musical taste of the 18th century, according to which “music ought to be expressive and not merely ornamented, insignificant and artificial”, thus truly earning the title of “master of the nations”. The works of the present CD embrace an arc of almost thirty years, spanning from the 1730s (Sonata No. 45) to the 1760s (Sonata No. 40). ...
"450 years of Monteverdi
Baptised on 15 May 1567 in Cremona, Claudio Zuan Antonio Monteverdi’s impact on Western music culture is virtually second to none. By “inventing” the basso ostinato alone, his influence goes as far as jazz and rock, and his operas have had a lasting effect on the development of music theatre. Ever since the Monteverdi Choir sang some of his madrigals under the direction of John Eliot Gardiner at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music in 1977, the composer’s music has been closely and continually linked to the Festival. The first staged production of a baroque opera as part of the Festival was Monteverdi’s “L’incoronazione di Poppea” in 1980 (musical direction: Alan Curtis). In the Monteverdi year of 1993 – the 350th anniversary of his death – René Jacobs conducted performances of Monteverdi’s opera “Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria”. Incidentally, Alessandro De Marchi made his debut at the Innsbruck Festival as a harpsichordist with the opera orchestra Concerto Vocale in that production. Now he will conduct the same opera in his position as Artistic Director of the Festival in the Monteverdi year of 2017 – the 450th anniversary of his birthday – at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music. The production from Oslo by Den Norske Opera & Ballett unites ...
"Chapel music, coronations, criminal conspiracies, charitable concerts, a chancel consecration…all occasions around which English composer, John Blow, composed concerted music that as a genre, we call Symphony Anthems. ...
"The little-known composer Jean Hanelle was a petit vicaire (professional musician) at Cambrai Cathedral and possibly later a teacher of Guillaume Dufay, also spending more than 20 years from 1411 onwards at the French court of Lusignan in Nicosia, Cyprus, a stay which involved him becoming the chapelmaster there. According to leading scholars, Hanelle was the author of the ars subtilior cycle of Magnificat-antiphons - the so called “O”-antiphons traditionally performed during the last week of Advent - found in the Codex Turin J.II.9 and included in this new Graindelavoix production. Both the original plainchant and the Hanelle troped antiphons are presented in a series of nine pairs, between which the ensemble also performs an appropriate and context-defining selection of Maronite and Byzantine chants. ...
(US) Quartz Article: "Mozart, the best new artist of 1782, outsold Drake and Beyoncé this year" (by Amy X. Wang, 12 Dec 2016)
" ... Mozart owes the win to a boxed set of his music that was released Oct. 28 in celebration of the 225th anniversary of his death and went on to sell 1.25 million CDs in just five weeks. (Drake’s Views took twice that time to edge past 1 million sales, by comparison.) The compilation “is the fruit of years of scholarship, planning, and curation,” according to Universal Music Group. ...
(US) The Washington Post Article: "Her 300-year-old instrument was in perfect condition. Had it been interred?" (by Anne Midgette, 16 Dec 2016)
"It’s the stuff of stories and musical legend: the buried violin, dug up and brought to sing anew. In the film “The Red Violin,” the titular instrument is at one point interred with a gifted young player, then unearthed by grave-robbing gypsies who play it for a couple of generations.
But the violinist Chee-Yun didn’t expect to have one in real life. ...
(ES) Glossa Music New CD Release: "Johann Sebastian Bach Goldberg Variations, Ignacio Prego, harpsichord" (Dec 2016)
Ignacio Prego is a leading member of the rising generation of Spanish early music specialists, which numbers existing Glossa recording artists such as Fahmi Alqhai and Josetxu Obregón. Prego has already been securing for himself a very busy concert schedule across Europe, the US and Asia, and he is frequently to be heard performing harpsichord concertos with ensembles such as the Portland Baroque Orchestra or The English Concert, collaborating with eminent musicians such as Monica Huggett and Nicholas McGegan, or giving solo harpsichord recitals, where he is able to demonstrate his special preference for the works of JS Bach. ...
(UK) Arts Professional Article on Crowdfunding and Tips: "Collaborating with the crowds" (by Peter Baeck and Sam Mitchell, 08 Dec 2016)
"Over the past five years crowdfunding has grown into a vital source of finance for community groups, artists and creatives. In the US, Kickstarter famously helped raise more funds for the arts than the National Endowment for the Arts. In the UK crowdfunding for the arts has also grown rapidly, with models such as rewards-based crowdfunding – the model most popular with artists and creatives – facilitating £42m worth of donations in 2015, a growth of more than 60% from £26m in 2014. ...
(US) Texas Early Music Project: Broadcast: TEMP's "An Early Christmas" (Livestreamed on 15 Dec 2016)
(From a recent newsletter item from Texas Early Music Project (TEMP))
"TEMP's "An Early Christmas" Gets an Encore on KMFA THIS THURSDAY!
If you had to miss TEMP's very special Christmas concert (or if you loved it so much you can't wait to hear it again), then you are in luck!
Austin's very own classical station, KMFA 89.5, will be playing an hour-long version of our concert from this past weekend on their hit new program, "Listen Local"!
Tune in at 6 P.M. CST this Thursday [15 Dec 2016] or livestream via the link below for our latest Christmas concert! ...
Watch the 2016 Gramophone Awards ceremony
This year's Gramophone Classical Music Awards ceremony was streamed live, courtesy of medici.tv. You can continue to enjoy the complete broadcast (with live performances by Vilde Frang, Igor Levit, Benjamin Appl and Véronique Gens) ...
Of early music note, the winners are ...
(CA) Musical Toronto Article: "Is The Vinyl Boom Leaving Classical Music Behind?" (by Will Pearson, 09 Dec 2016)
"Vinyl is booming in Toronto. Record shops have popped up all over the city to serve a new generation of record buyers as the format becomes popular again, but fans of classical music might be feeling a little left out of the resurgence. The new shops carry everything from folk to electronica to hip hop, but in many of them, the classical “section” amounts to a single milk crate on the floor near the back. ...
"The Brill Reformation Year E-Book Collection offers unique access to 125 carefully selected e-books, covering all aspects of the Reformation, its genesis, its context, its impact, and its aftermath. The books were published between 2006 and 2017. The collection is aimed at students and scholars in the fields of:
- Reformation Studies
- Church History
- Early Modern History
- European History
- Social & Cultural History
- Book History
- History of Art
- Interfaith Relations
- Christian Theology ...
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Summer Workshops 2017
The “Summer Workshop and Festival 2016” season has come and gone! Have you posted a review of a recent workshop on your site or blog page? Let us know and we will mention it on our news pages. Feel free to browse our summer workshops list, it is never too early to plan for the next installment of summer workshops. Let us know if we have missed a workshop listing or if updated information is needed. Summer Workshop Organizers: let us know of your plans as your summer workshop details are finalized for 2017. Visit our Summer Workshop Links ("Web Links" section) for past/next year summer workshop details. Should you wish, you may also browse our news articles filtered by “Workshops/ Festivals 2016” category for more “up-to-the-minute” details of this year’s workshops.
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