Browsing: Baroque and Early

Toronto, November 13, 2018 … David Kilburn, Chair of the Board of Directors of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir, is pleased to announce the appointment of Carol Kehoe to the position of Executive Director. Ms. Kehoe is an accomplished leader with more than 25 years of management experience at senior levels, most recently as the Executive Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, where she led the organization through an impressive financial turnaround. Carol came to Tafelmusik in August as Interim Executive Director and will transition to her permanent role immediately. “We are delighted to have Carol join Tafelmusik as…

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My maternal grandmother introduced the sound of the harpsichord into our home. When I was still a child, she gave us records and her turntable. In quick succession, I discovered Bach’s Fourth and Fifth Brandenburg Concertos and, not long after, his famous Toccata in D minor for organ – preludes to my first listening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. It was only much later, during a stay at the music camp founded by Father Lindsay, that I first laid my eyes on a harpsichord. We young campers were learning about musical history in a modest chalet nicknamed the Sorbonne – it…

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In a little less than 50 years, Montreal’s Baroque music scene has produced a steady flow of activities. It has delighted itself by mining the past and taking cues from many a fine role model. Initiatives are so numerous that the scene is now bursting at the seams while consolidating its reputation as one of the best of its kind on the continent. I have come to this conclusion in my travels as violin solo of the Cleveland-based Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra. While Montreal may be far removed from the European soil that gave rise to this age-old music tradition,…

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Baroque music, in my view, addresses the passions of humanity. In its heyday, it was a music of sophistication, elegance and exuberance, its essence profoundly humane. Those who expressed themselves through this medium were craftsmen who influenced its development, each honing his abilities according to whims and inspirations. As a genre, Baroque music is coded. There are certain ground rules, to be sure, but they are neither stringent nor imposing, simply understated. They constitute more of a framework for performers to engage with others with increased spontaneity and creative input. Ornamentation, dynamics, agogics, tempo, even the instrumentations themselves, are left…

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One might assume a leading expert on Early Music to be esoteric. Hank Knox shatters this assumption. An entire side of Knox’s McGill University office is plastered with what he calls his “wall of shame,” posters of productions of students and himself, that by the looks of it, he had thumbtacked organically through the years on wherever there was still space. Knox has been director of the Early Music Program at McGill’s Schulich School of Music for more than 20 years. He is godfather of the school’s Cappella Antica (which is now directed by Grammy-award winning soprano Suzie LeBlanc) as well…

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REVIEW: of The Anchoress, a world premiere of a new musical monodrama/song cycle composed by David Serkin Ludwig with text by Katie Ford, performed by soprano Hyunah Yu, accompanied by saxophone quartet PRISM and ancient-instrument ensemble Piffaro; on Wednesday, October 17, at the Perelman Theatre of Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and on Thursday, October 18, at New York City’s DiMenna Center for Classical Music (the latter performance reviewed here); and INTERVIEWS: with composer David Ludwig and poet Katie Ford. The impulse to retreat from the world in search of spiritual insight or purity has manifested throughout human history. Twenty-one centuries of Christianity…

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In a career spanning 30 years, soprano Anne Azéma has been one of the most significant figures in medieval music. As artistic director of the Boston Camerata, this singer and musicologist brings passion and rigour to her mission of promoting medieval music. Oct. 13: In the intimacy of Westmount Park United Church, Azéma shares a special moment with the audience. Alone, she sings stories of a past that resonates within us like the echo of renewed universal emotion. La Dolce chose plunges us into songs from 1200 to 1400, focusing on feminine figures. “We find the usual themes of medieval…

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In 1705, J.S. Bach trekked to the northern German city of Lübeck to meet Dietrich Buxtehude. This encounter, the only one between these two men, is a significant event in itself, if not a momentous one for the Baroque era. The latter was an organist basking in the limelight when the former was all of 20, his career still in the making. Call it a meeting of the minds, a rite of passage or a quest for truth: all conjectures are possible. All have been subject to some discussion at one time or another, more so in the last couple…

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The practice of using period instruments in Early Music has facilitated a general awareness of how Baroque pitch is about a semitone lower than modern pitch. Less commonly known are developments in temperament, tuning and pitch over the course of history. Their implications go beyond the concert experience. In many profound and surprising ways, they have influenced why composers wrote the music that they did. Definitions Tuning, temperament and pitch are not interchangeable. Pitch is the simplest to understand. It is the frequency at which sound waves move, when referred to in a musical context. Pitch can be measured in…

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Following Heinrich Wölfflin of Switzerland, the Catalonian art critic Eugenio d’Ors situated the Baroque between the execution of Giordano Bruno in 1600 and the death of Johann Sebastian Bach in 1750. […] Since one of the general features of Baroque music is the use of basso continuo, it is natural to observe that the continuo appeared around 1600 only to disappear shorty after 1750. This century and a half is subdivided just as easily into three half-century periods – Early, Middle, and Late Baroque – a division that is much less arbitrary than it may seem at first glance. Three…

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