Favorite Music Links - November, 2020

Scott Mason

Scott Mason is currently the President of Arizona Early Music, and has been on the board for ten years. Scott has lived in Tucson since age one, enjoying his extended family who also live in town. Working as a Systems Engineer by day, he spends virtually every other waking moment pursuing Early Music in some aspect as an amateur, playing recorder, viol, harpsichord, and singing baritone/countertenor in various church choirs when the opportunity arises.

I find the variety and mix of instruments and voices in this work by Marc-Antoine Charpentier full of color and texture. Many will find the melodies familiar in this Christmas Midnight Mass written around 1690 when Charpentier was 47 years old.

Marc-Antoine Charpentier Messe de minuit H.9

Haymarket Opera Company

I have admired and supported the Haymarket Opera Company since it started ten years ago. Based in Chicago, it was started by director Craig Trompeter. I met Craig some years ago in his role as a faculty member teaching Viola da Gamba at various workshops where I was a student. The Haymarket Opera company performs fully staged Baroque Operas, making the sets and costumes, and performing with original instruments using historically informed performance practice. I have admired them from a distance, having never attended a performance. I actually had tickets, hotel, and airline reservations to go hear them perform Monteverdi's "L’incoronazione di Poppea" in June, but plans were canceled due to the pandemic. Haymarket just performed their first live streamed in HD performance of Handel's "Acis and Galatea", which was fabulous. If you are interested in future streaming concerts by Haymarket, check out their web site: http://www.haymarketopera.org

Support Black Art: South Shore Opera Company of Chicago

Haymarket Opera Company asked Kimberly Jones to select an organization which celebrates black excellence and furthers the mission of the Black Lives Matter movement. She has chosen to dedicate “An Evening Hymn” to South Shore Opera Company of Chicago. If you are not already familiar with this dynamic opera company, please take a moment to check them out: www.southshoreopera.org. And please consider making a donation to support SSOCC in their efforts to make exceptional opera accessible throughout the Chicago community while providing opportunities for professional artists of color, especially local black artists

Please enjoy "An Evening Hymn" by Henry Purcell
Kimberly Jones, Soprano
Craig Trompeter, Viola da Gamba
Brandon Acker, Theorbo

Kimberly Jones performs "An Evening Hymn" by Henry Purcell for Haymarket Opera Company

The Orlando Gibbons Project

In November 2016, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the viol consort Fretwork, a project of major importance brought together leading vocal and instrumental performers in the field of early 17th century music, to record a CD of what is widely acknowledged to be some of the finest repertoire in all English sacred music: the ​​consort anthems of Orlando Gibbons. 'In Chains of Gold' Volume 1 was released in November 2017 to wide critical acclaim. In January 2019 the same forces joined to make a sequel: 'In Chains of Gold' Volume 2. This project has been organized by Bill Hunt, one of the founding members of Fretwork. Many of these anthems had never been published or recorded before. For more information about this project, follow this link.

AEMS has brought Fretwork to Tucson on several occasions, most recently in 2017 and again in 2019.
Here are a couple preview videos of the Magdalena Consort and Fretwork recording selections from the second 'In Chains of Gold' volume.

John Bull 'Almighty God, which by the leading of a star'

John Bull 'Deliver me, O God'

Bach - Easter Oratorio

As an engineer, I have always enjoyed the complexity of J. S. Bach's counterpoint. I taught myself keyboard with the music of Bach as a teenager, and built a harpsichord as a Freshman in the Electrical Engineering program at the University of Arizona. (No, those two events are not related.) Any selection of favorites has to include something by Bach. I have enjoyed his Easter Oratorio on every Easter morning for the last three or four decades. I find the valveless trumpets very uplifting reinforcing the Resurrection theme.

Bach - Easter Oratorio: Kommt, eilet und laufet BWV 249 - Van Veldhoven | Netherlands Bach Society


My other board members have already selected works by Monteverdi, but I must also include one of my favorite selections.

Monteverdi - L'incoronazione di Poppea (with Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra) | Act 3


AEMS presented Hesperus in an expanded season celebrating our Silver Anniversary in April of 2007 at the Loft Cinema. The engaging ensemble Hesperus accompanied Douglas Fairbanks's 1922 silent film Robin Hood with a live soundtrack of music from Robin's time, played on recorders, viols, lutes, and voice.

Continuing this work, Hesperus created this video accompanying the silent film "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" in March of 2020 just as the pandemic shutdown began, publishing it free to the public via YouTube. If you enjoy the film, you may want to purchase a DVD from Hesperus. Enjoy Lon Chaney's 1923 blockbuster with a score of European medieval music by Hesperus: Nell Snaidas, Tina Chancey, Priscilla Herreid, Grant Herreid.

Hesperus presents The Hunchback of Notre Dame

John Dowland (1563 – 1626)

While one of Dowland's better known works is the lute song "Flow my tears" known as Lachrimae, one of my favorite works by Dowland is "Now, O Now I Needs Must Part," which comes to us in many forms. There are several versions of "Now, O Now" for lute, known as the Frog Galliard, a version arranged as a lute song with a soloist and Lute accompaniment, and this version for four voices, which can also be accompanied by lute. I find this video charming, showing friends traveling in the country naturally singing and playing the song as they go on their way.

John Dowland | Now, O Now | Lute Song by Les Canards Chantants

Bach - Harpsichord

As an owner of multiple harpsichords, I must include a little know selection of Bach, written when he was about 19 years old, as a tribute to send his older brother Johann Jacob off to Sweden. I once performed this selection on pipe organ at a house warming for a new house organ. The final movement, "Fugue in imitation of the post horn," never ceases to stir and excite my heart. I hope you enjoy it.

In 1704, Johann Jacob Bach entered into the musical services of King Charles XII of Sweden. For that particular occasion, the teenage Johann Sebastian composed a Capriccio for keyboard in B-flat major, BWV 992. Interestingly, Bach provided a specific title for the work, and six subtitles for each of the movements. Titled “Capriccio sopra la lontananza del fratello dilettissimo” (Capriccio on the departure [absence] of my most dear brother), it is one of Bach’s few programmatic works. Furthermore, each of the six movements is prefaced by a few words that provide insight into the desired affections—a term best described as moving the emotions—of the music. And these inscriptions certainly place the music within the collective drama of the departing brother.

The opening Adagio, “A plea by his friends to prevent him from making the journey,” features a substantial number of cadences in the home key, suggesting a reluctance to let go. The second movement presents “A scenario of the various misfortunes that could befall him in foreign land,” while the “General lament of his friends” builds from a repeating bass pattern that is played a total of 12 times. In the fourth movement, “his friends come—since they see that it cannot be otherwise—to bid their farewells,” and the postal carriage arrives with the coachman playing an “Aria of the post horn.” The last and most elaborate movement is a “Fugue in imitation of the post horn.” Built from the bass fanfare subject, this movement develops into a fully-fledged double fugue. The post horn call from the previous movement becomes the countersubject for a trumpet-like main theme, and now that everybody has departed, the young Bach can once again concentrate on his musical studies.

BWV 992 - Capriccio sopra la lontananza del suo fratello dilettissimo

I hope you enjoy these favorites of mine,
Scott Mason