Laurie Camm is the Treasurer of AEMS and Acting co-President of Early Music America, an advocacy group for everyone in early music from professionals to aficionados. A Brooklyn girl, she's lived in Tucson full-time for 10 years and has been on the AEMS Board for 8 years. She's learning to play classical guitar (why not lute? a good question!).
Vox Luminis: Nymphe des Bois
by Josquin des Prez
This recording brings together one of my "top 5" composers (Josquin des Prez) with my current favorite among vocal groups, Vox Luminis. Check out their recordings of J.S. Bach (and Bach's father, uncle, brothers and sons), Schutz, and of course, Josquin the magnificent. This recording is of Vox Luminis performing Josquin's "Nymphe des Bois," also known as "La déploration sur la mort de Johannes Ockeghem." Ockeghem (d. 1497) was the famous Franco-Flemish composer before Josquin, may have been Josquin's teacher, and certainly was a major influence. Josquin's is the most famous of the many musical laments on Ockeghem's death.
Jordi Savall: Con qué la lavaré; Folias de Espagne; The Routes of Slavery
Jordi Savall first became widely known for being the instrumentalist in the film about Marin Marais, "Tous les matins du monde (All the Mornings of the World)". Decades later, he is now the best known advocate of expanding the world of early music to lesser-known soundscapes and stories, including the Balkans, Latin America, Bulgaria, Armenia, and his recent musical exploration of "The Routes of Slavery." Savall is an emotional proponent of why this music matters. "Without memory we cannot have a civilization," he says, "and music is part of that memory."
I am a devotee of Jordi Savall, his late wife, the soprano Montserrat Figueras, and his various collaborators. So it is impossible to choose even three, let alone one favorite. There is a lot out there, so if you like these you can spend hours and hours on Youtube listening to his performances.
Here are a couple of my favorites and a clip from his newest project.
"Con qué la lavaré," a melancholy Sephardic song (also beautifully set in 1947 by Joaquin Rodrigo) in which a young woman sings of washing her face with pain and sorrow.
I love melancholy music, but I also love all kinds of "Folias." John Anderson had a Folia in his recent list of favorites, and here is one of mine, on the tune "Rodrigo Martinez."
And for a taste of gamba virtuosity, here is a very short solo: "La Rêveuse: Les folies d'Espagne de Marin Marais"
Lastly, a clip from Savall's most recent project: "The Routes of Slavery"
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson:
"As With Rosy Steps the Morn" (Theodora)
by G.F. Handel
The late great American mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (1954–2006) may be best known for her Bach performances and, while I generally prefer Bach to Handel (must one pick?), this performance from Theodora shows her astonishing dramatic and vocal abilities. Just so beautiful, and a favorite YouTube of mine.
Green Mountain Project: Monteverdi Vespers of 1610
The Green Mountain Project (Monteverdi = Green Mountain) is made up of many familiar faces, and is principally the groups TENET and Dark Horse Consort, both of which have performed in Tucson in our concert series. The wind players of Dark Horse were in the Vespers AEMS concert, co-produced with True Concord, and Tenet is scheduled to return to Tucson this January. The first voice you hear is Aaron Sheehan's, the GRAMMY-winning tenor who has performed for us twice.
"The Green Mountain Project began with the first known performance of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 in 2010 on Sunday, January 3", and it has since become an annual tradition."
This January, just barely pre-COVID, I went with them to Venice for their final performance of this spectacular and musically revolutionary piece. The final U.S. performance (available on CD) was a few days later. Here is their performance from January 2019.
Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 Green Mountain Project
And for a bonus piece, here is TENET performing Monteverdi's "Zefiro Torno," which we heard them perform in Tucson as part of the "Uno+One" concert that AEMS presented in 2017.
"Zefiro torna", Claudio Monteverdi | TENET Vocal Artists
I hope you enjoy some of my favorites.