Early Music Radio Spots


    One-Minute Radio Spots

    These spots are designed for use as radio PSAs (public service announcements) to educate the public about early music.

    Recognizing the need for new and interesting content on classical and public radio, EMA encourages producers from all types of stations (NPR, independent, university, commercial, etc.) to utilize these spots in their programming.

    Written and narrated by EMA’s executive director, Maria V. Coldwell, these spots were produced with the generous assistance of KING-FM, Seattle’s commercial classical music station, and can be heard on their internet broadcasts at www.king.org.

    Scripts with accompanying audio

    1. (Keeping the Watch, Philadelphia Renaissance Wind Band, first band “Im Maien”) During the Renaissance, the premiere instrumental ensemble was the wind band. Wind bands were sources of civic pride, and most cities and courts had their own troupe of players. Wind bands came in 2 varieties: loud and soft. Loud bands, like the one you’re hearing, played outdoors or in large halls to accompany dancing. The loud band generally consisted of 3 shawms (ancestors of the modern oboe) and 1 sackbut (the ancestor of the modern trombone). Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    2. (A feather on the breath of God, Gothic Voices, Band 8 “O Ecclesia”) The soaring melodies of Hildegard of Bingen are full of intensity and passion. Hildegard was a mystic and visionary who lived in 12th-century Germany, where she served as the abbess of a convent. She wrote music and poetry, and also books about natural history and medicine. The piece you’re hearing celebrates St. Ursula, who according to legend was martyred with eleven thousand virgins at the German city of Cologne. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    3. (Messe de Notre Dame, Hilliard Ensemble, Band 1 “Kyrie”) Guillaume de Machaut was the most famous poet and composer in 14th-century France. His importance is comparable to that of his contemporary Chaucer in England. Machaut was the first composer to write a complete polyphonic or multi-voice setting of the Mass Ordinary, including Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus dei. The mass was written for use at Reims Cathedral in northern France, where Machaut was associated as a cleric. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music American’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    4. (An Excess of Pleasure, Palladian Ensemble, Band 3 “Diverse bizzarie”) What is a “ground bass”? It’s a short bass line pattern (and its associated harmonies), repeated over and over again throughout the course of a piece. It provides the foundation for a set of melodic variations, played in this case by a violin. This particular ground bass is called a “ciaccona;” others might be called passacaglia, Romanesca, or simply “a ground.” Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    5. (Duo Trobairitz, Band 3, Istanpitta Ghaetta) Very little instrumental music was written down in the Middle Ages—most of it was improvised or passed on orally by traveling performers. But the few manuscript sources we have preserve a repertory of lively dances called “estampies” or “istampitta.” The istampitta you’re hearing is from a 14th-century Italian manuscript. It’s played on the vielle, an ancestor of the violin. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    6. (O gemma lux, Huelgas Ensemble, Band 9 “Nuper rosarum flores”) Renaissance music deserves to be as well known as Renaissance art and architecture. The piece you’re hearing is Guillaume Dufay’s motet “Nuper rosarum flores,” written for the consecration of Florence’s cathedral in 1436. With its massive Dome designed by Brunelleschi, the cathedral is built according to the Biblical dimensions of Solomon’s temple, as they were understood in the Renaissance. Dufay’s motet has four major sections, and the lengths of those musical sections mirror the mathematical proportions of the cathedral. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    7. (Theater of Voices, Age of Cathedrals, Band 13, “ Mors”) The earliest major repertory of polyphonic (or multi-voice) music dates from 12th-century France. In Paris, as the Cathedral of Notre Dame was being constructed, two great composers flourished—Leonin and Perotin. They employed a new metrical system known as “modal rhythm” to organize their chant-based compositions. You’re hearing a piece by Perotin, written around the year 1200. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    8. (Piffaro, Keeping the Watch, Band 25, “Basse Dances”) The Renaissance instruments you’re hearing are krumhorns, or “curved horns.” They’re wooden instruments shaped like the letter “J”, not unlike modern saxophones. Like saxophones and recorders, krumhorns come in different sizes—soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, and they were most popular during the 16 h century. Their distinctive buzzing sound is produced by a double reed placed underneath a wooden cap through which the player blows. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    9. (Tallis Scholars, Josquin, Band 7, Kyrie from Missa L’homme arme) Josquin des Pres was one of the greatest Renaissance composers. He was the first to use extensively a contrapuntal technique known as “point of imitation,” where each voice enters sequentially, using the same melody, but at a different pitch level. The Mass you’re hearing was written by Josquin around 1500, using a famous cantus firmus, or preexistent tune—a song called “L’homme arme,” the “armed man.” Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    10.(Tragicomedia, Sprezzatura, Band 1, Monteverdi) Composers during the Baroque period used a shorthand method of notating the harmonies in their compositions—they wrote down the bass line and then added a series of numerals or “figures” above it to specify the chords to be played. The “continuo” instruments “realize” the figured bass and create the harmonies the composer intended to accompany a melody. Frequently, one of the continuo instruments is a keyboard (like harpsichord or organ), but here the continuo ensemble consists of a harp, a large lute, and a lirone (a bowed string instrument designed to play chords). Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    11. (Monteverdi, L’Orfeo, Disc 1, Band 3, recitative) read fast Claudio Monteverdi was the first important composer of opera. His early masterpiece, Orfeo, dates from 1607. Opera was actually an attempt by a group of Italian humanists and composers, to imitate ancient Greek drama. While solo arias, choruses, and instrumental accompaniment all existed, the “missing link” was recitative, a simple style of reciting poetry to music, with the music following the natural speech rhythms of the text. Monteverdi excelled at the new stile rectiativo. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    12. (Ensemble Alcatraz, Danse Royal, Band 3 “S’onques nuls hoem”) Troubadours and trouveres were the poets of courtly love in 13th-century France. The song you’re hearing is the lament of a lover who has been separated from his sweetheart by war—in this case, the Crusades. The song is written in Old French, so it is a trouvere song; if it were written in Provencal, the language of southern France it would be a troubadour song. The piece has a beautiful, unmeasured melody, like that of Gregorian chant. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    13. (Newberry Consort, Il Solazzo, Band 8, Landini “Donna”) Francesco Landini, the leading composer of music in 14th-century Italy, lost his sight in childhood as a result of smallpox. His blindness did not prevent him from becoming a virtuoso organist as well as a fine poet and composer in Florence. Many of his secular songs are called “ballate” or dance songs. They have catchy rhythms and intricate vocal ornaments, like the love song you’re hearing “Donna si t’o fallito” (“Lady, if I have failed you”). Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    14. (Tallis Scholars, The Best of the Renaissance, CD #2, Band 4, Palestrina Kyrie) Palestrina was the maestro di cappella of St. Peter’s in Rome during the later 16 th century under Pope Marcellus II. The Pope demanded of his composers that they emphasize textual clarity in their music. But Palestrina had an artistic ideal, to balance the sense of the words with the beauty of the sound and complex counterpoint with expressivity. The result is an extremely cultivated, refined style, both elegant and noble, which you can hear in the “Pope Marcellus” mass. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    15. (Piffaro, Music from the Odhecaton, Band 8, Isaac, La Morra) In 1501, the Venetian printer Ottaviano Petrucci published the first printed book of polyphonic music. It was called the Odhecaton, or “One Hundred Songs” and it was an anthology of some of the best hit songs of the 15th century, including music by composers like Josquin, Isaac, Busnois, and Obrecht. Whether the Odhecaton songs were intended for vocal or instrumental performance is difficult to discern, since only brief text incipits are given with the music, but some, like the Isaac piece you’re hearing are definitely instrumental. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    16. (Gabrieli Consort, Schutz Christmas Vespers, Band 3, “Warum toben die Heiden”) Heinrich Schuetz was the greatest German composer of the 17th century. He served as Kapellmeister of the Dresden Court Chapel, the most important Protestant musical establishment in Germany. Schuetz had studied in Venice with Giovanni Gabrieli, and he imitated the Italian master’s “polychoral” style, using contrasting choirs of voices and instruments to achieve an effect of magnificence. The piece you’re hearing (“Why do the heathen rage?”) is from Schuetz’s 1619 collection Psalmen Davids. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    17. (Boston Baroque sampler, Band 1, Handel “And with his stripes”) A fugue is a contrapuntal technique common in the Baroque era. It is a learned style of composition brought to its height by master composers Bach and Handel. In this 4-voice fugal chorus from Handel’s Messiah, each voice part enters in a staggered fashion, singing the same melody, but at a different pitch level. As the fugue goes on, the 2nd half of the main “subject” is used as a “countersubject,” complementing and contrasting with the main theme. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    18. (Ensemble Alcatraz, Visions and Miracles, Band 3, “Connoscudamente”) The Cantigas de Santa Maria are a collection of songs compiled for King Alfonso the Wise in 13th-century Spain. The songs tell the stories of miracles performed by the Virgin Mary in response to the prayers of common people. The manuscripts which preserve these songs also hold miniature illustrations of a wide variety of musical instruments—strings, winds, and percussion—which might have been used to accompany the singers. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    19.(Gothic Pipes, Band 4, Estampie Retrove) The organ is the most ancient keyboard instrument, dating back to at least the 3rd century B.C. In the Middle Ages, many churches and chapels had organs, and the organ was the only instrument generally allowed inside a church. The earliest surviving manuscript of keyboard music is from the mid-14 th century and is called the Robertsbridge Codex. However, it does not contain church music, but dance music, like the estampie you’re hearing, and also intabulations of secular motets and songs. . Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    20. (English Madrigals—the Hilliard Ensemble, Band 3, “April is in my Mistris Face) The madrigal is one of the most important musical products of the 16th century. Originally an Italian art song, it was adopted by the English and made their own. Thomas Morley was the most important composer shaping the development of the English madrigal. He copied the lighter types of Italian songs, which sometimes include the “fa la la” refrains that we associate with English madrigals. “April is in my Mistris Face” is one of Morley’s classic Madrigalls to Foure Voyces from 1594. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    21. (The Ultimate Recorder— Flanders Quartet, Band 2, La Spagna) The recorder is certainly the most popular Renaissance instrument in use today, thanks to its adoption in the classroom as a “pre-band” instrument. The recorder is a lot more than that, however, and can be played in a virtuosic fashion by professionals. During the Renaissance, recorders were commonly used to play dance music, like the basse danse La Spagna you’re hearing. Recorders come in many different sizes, including soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    22. (Vivaldi—Il Giardino Armonico, Band 3, Presto) The Baroque concerto is build on the principle of contrast. Contrast between the soli group (in this case, recorder, oboe and bassoon) and the tutti group (the strings); contrast between loud and soft; contrast between the more virtuosic passages of the soloists and the block chords of the orchestra. Antonio Vivaldi, the “red Priest” of Venice, composed over 500 concertos—including this one, called “La Tempesta di mare.” Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    23. (An American Christmas—Tudor Choir, Band 5, Sherburne) The music of 18th-century America is a great contrast to the works of Bach or Mozart. Going to Singing School was a popular way to pass an evening in New England, and the singing master taught people to sing the names of the notes. The name is denoted by the shape of the note head, thus we call it “shapenote” singing. A group of singers might read through a piece using the note names “Fa Sol La Mi” first, and then move on to include the words. Sherburne, the tune you’re hearing, was first published in 1785 in The American Singing Book. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    24. (In Stil Moderno, Matthews/Schenkman, Band 3, Frescobaldi Toccata) The harpsichord was the most popular keyboard instrument of the Baroque period. In a modern piano, the strings are struck by felt-covered hammers, but in a harpsichord the strings are plucked by quill (or nowadays, plastic) plectra. So it has a “twangy” quality, more like a harp or guitar. The toccata you’re hearing is a free-form virtuosic piece for the harpsichord by Girolamo Frescobaldi. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    25. (Epiphany, Cappella Romana, first band “Introit”) In the year 330 A.D., the Roman Emperor Constantine moved the capital of his empire to an ancient city on the Bosporus named Byzantium, which he renamed “Constantinople and New Rome.” The Eastern Roman empire not only survived the downfall of “Old” Rome by a thousand years, but also created a musical tradition commonly known as “Byzantine chant.” The chant developed through oral traditions and was first written down in Greek sources in the 10th century. The Introit or entrance chant you’re hearing is for the Divine Liturgy on January 1. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    26. (Ars Magis Subtiliter, Project Ars Nova, Band 13 “Par maintes foys”) The late 14th-century in France was a time of war, plague, and religious strife. There were two (and eventually) three different Popes at the same time, and the schismatic papal court at Avignon, in Southern France, was a rather decadent center for courtly music and poetry. The music being composed was extremely complex, sometimes written down in the shape of a circle or a heart. “Par maintes foys,” the piece you’re hearing is a sophisticated bird-song describing the conflict between the nightingale (a symbol of love) and the cuckoo (a symbol of unfaithfulness). Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    27. (Holborne “My Selfe,” The King’s Noyse, Band 8, “Passion”) The lute was the most highly esteemed instrument of the Renaissance, played by noble courtiers as well as by professional musicians. Similar in size to the modern guitar, but with a rounded, pear-shaped back and a peg box that bends back from the neck at a 90 degree angle, the Renaissance lute generally had 6 double sets of strings. The strings are made of gut rather than metal, so the sound is softer and more delicate than that of the modern guitar. The piece you’re hearing is an Elizabethan dance tune by the English composer Anthony Holborne. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    28. (Giovanni Gabrieli, Music for San Rocco, Gabrieli Consort, Band 5, Canzona #14) Giovanni Gabrieli served as organist at the Basilica of St. Mark’s in Venice from 1585 until his death in 1612. The architecture of San Marco, with its many interior balconies, may have inspired Gabrieli’s style of writing for multiple choirs of voices and instruments. Gabrieli’s instrumental canzoni are particularly notable for their rhythmic energy and use of syncopation. The early brass instrument you’re hearing is a cornetto, used frequently in combination with violins or voices. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    29. (Mozart, Sonatas Vol. II, Malcolm Bilson, Disc 1, Band 1, Sonata in D major, Allegro) The earliest pianofortes were built by Bartolomeo Cristofori in the early years of the 18th century. The very name of the instrument emphasizes its great advantage over the harpsichord: the ability to play both loudly and softly. In a harpsichord, the strings are plucked and have only one volume level, while in a piano, the strings are struck by hammers that respond directly to the player’s touch on the keys. By the time Mozart composed his earliest piano sonatas in 1775, the piano had thoroughly eclipsed the harpsichord as the keyboard instrument of choice. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    30. (Tous les matins du monde, Jordi Savall, Band 1, Marche) Jean-Baptiste Lully was the leading composer of 17th-century France, where he served as Master of Music for the Sun King, Louis XIV. An outstanding dancer as well as a musician, Lully composed numerous ballets, turning to opera only late in his life. He worked regularly with the playwright Moliere; their partnership culminated in the comedie-ballet Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme of 1670. The March for the Ceremony of the Turks, heard here, is one of Lully’s best-known pieces. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org. Click for Audio File


    31. (Polyphonie Aquitaine, Ensemble Organum, Band 4, “O primus homo”) There were two centers in medieval France where polyphonic or multi-voice music developed. One was Paris, where the school of Notre Dame created a large repertory of 2, 3, and even 4-part pieces in the 12th century. The other center was at the Abbey of St. Martial in the southern French town of Limoges. Limoges was at a crossroads for medieval pilgrims bound for Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and the area seems to have been one of the most fertile artistic centers of the 11th and 12th centuries. The 2-part piece you’re hearing is from St. Martial de Limoges. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    32. (Sumer is Icumen In, Hilliard Ensemble, Band 1, “Sumer is icumen in”—start at :38 and go to 1:38 if possible) Easily the best-known piece of medieval English music, “Sumer is icumen in” is a round or canon for four voices above a 2-voice “pes” or repeated bass pattern. It was probably written in Reading Abbey around the year 1240. There are careful instructions in the manuscript on how to perform it and the music is underlaid with both Latin and English texts. This remarkable work is the only known 6-part piece of music written before the 15th century. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    33. (Armada, Fretwork, Band 13, Ortiz “Diferencias”) One of the most popular instrumental ensembles of the Renaissance was the viol consort. The viol family is similar in appearance to the violin family, but viols have 6 strings instead of 4, frets to show where to place the fingers on the fingerboard, and are played with a differently shaped bow. Viols come in different sizes, most notably treble, tenor, and bass, and they make a beautiful sound when combined in ensembles of 4 to 6 players. The piece you’re hearing is a set of variations or Diferencias by the Spanish Renaissance composer Diego Ortiz. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    34. (Bassano, Flanders Recorder Qt., Band 1, Henry VIII “Pastime with Good Company”) King Henry VIII of England, who reigned from 1509-1547, loved music. He built up the musical establishment at court by importing players from Flanders, France, and Italy. He himself sang, danced, and played a number of instruments, including harp, lute, virginals, and recorder. He was also something of a composer, although several of the works attributed to him may actually be arrangements of pre-existing tunes. The piece you’re hearing, “Pastime with Good Company” is one of Henry’s most famous songs. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    35. (Purcell Music for Queen Mary, Gardiner, Band 3, “Sound the Trumpet”) The English had a particular fondness for the male alto or countertenor voice. Male falsettists are still used today in English church choirs which employ men and boys only. Countertenors were popular as soloists in opera and oratorio during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. You’re listening to “Sound the trumpet,” an air from Henry Purcell’s famous ode “Come ye sons of Art,” composed for Queen Mary’s birthday in 1694. Purcell served as “composer in ordinary” to 3 different English monarchs, and he had a great gift for writing ceremonial music to match their solemn state occasions. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    36. (Three Parts upon a Ground, Holloway, Band 12, Pachelbel Canon—use from :25 to 1:25 if possible) Johann Pachelbel was known during the 17th century primarily as an organist and church musician, both in Lutheran and Catholic churches in Germany. But in the 20th century, Pachelbel became known as the composer of one extremely popular piece. His Canon and Gigue for 3 violins and basso continuo is a small but delightful piece of chamber music that has been blown out of proportion in various arrangements for full orchestra, generally played at a dirge-like tempo. But the original is as charming as ever, when played on 3 Baroque violins, viola da gamba, and harpsichord. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    37. (Carmina Burana, Ensemble Unicorn, Band 5, “Fas et nefas”, start around :22 and go to 1:22) When they hear the title “Carmina Burana,” most music-lovers think of Carl Orff. Few realize that the original Carmina Burana is a manuscript collection of 13th-century songs written by young scholars and students in medieval Germany. Some of the songs are in German, some in Latin, and many of them are quite bawdy—drinking and gambling songs, love songs, satirical commentaries on politics and religion. The song you’re hearing, “Fas et nefas” says “Right and Wrong walk together, hand in hand—virtue must carefully seek out the happy medium between the two.” Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    38. (Unrequited, Liber unUsualis, Band 5, “Quant en moy”) The musical term “motet” comes from the French word “mot” which means “word.” Motets are all about the words. In the 14th century, motets were generally written in three voices, and each voice had a separate text. In this piece, the two upper voices have French texts and move along quite rapidly. The lowest voice, the tenor, is a slow-moving Latin chant with long notes arranged in repeated rhythmic patterns. Because of the structure of the tenor, this kind of motet is called an “isorhythmic motet.” Isorhythmic motets were written by Guillaume de Machaut, Philippe de Vitry, and other learned French composers. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    39. (Thomas Tallis, Tallis Scholars, Band 1, “If ye love me”) The Anglican church, newly founded after the English Reformation of the 1540s, was fortunate to have a composer like Thomas Tallis to serve it. More than any of his contemporaries, Tallis was able to understand what the Protestant clergy wanted in their church music, which was essentially intelligibility and clarity in setting the English language. Tallis kept his English anthems clear and simple in style, but musically elegant, like the beautiful piece you’re hearing, “If ye love me.” Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    40. (Gesualdo, La Venexiana, Band 19, “Merce grido”) The Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo, was a member of the nobility. A Neapolitan prince, he led a dark and anguished life. He killed his first wife and her lover when he found them together. Both of his sons preceded him in death, and Gesualdo’s last years were marked by severe mental illness. The unhappiness of his life is reflected in his music. His madrigals are known for their strange chromaticism and powerful expression of the text. This piece, “Mercy! I cry, weeping” dates from 1596. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    41. (Handel Water Musick, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Band 3, Allegro from Suite in F major) Handel’s famous Water Music was written for a royal boating party on the River Thames. The best documented of these royal outings occurred on July 17, 1717. The event was described in detail by the Prussian legate to the English court. He wrote that “Next to the King’s barge was that of the musicians, about 50 in number, who played on all kinds of instruments, to wit trumpets, horns, oboes, bassoons, flutes, violins and basses…the music had been composed by the famous Handel… His Majesty approved of it so greatly that he caused it to be repeated three times in all.” Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    42. (Missa Mexicana, Harp Consort, Band 1, Padilla Sanctus) Baroque composer Juan Gutierrez de Padilla was born and educated in Spain, but moved to Mexico when he was about 30 years old. He was priest and co-director of music at Puebla Cathedral by 1622 and became maestro de capilla there in 1629. In addition to his church duties, he sold “ecclesiastical instruments” (including bassoons, shawms, and flutes) out of a shop in his home. Padilla composed numerous masses for double choir and instruments, as well as secular songs, and is known as one of the best composers of colonial Mexico. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    43. (Gregorian Chant for Christmas, Cappella Antiqua Munchen, Band 12, “Puer natus est nobis”) Gregorian chant gets its name from Pope Gregory the Great, a 6th-century pope and theologian, who (at least according to legend) standardized the Roman liturgy. But the first musical notation for chant was not devised until the 9th century, and the melodies we know today probably have more to do with Charlemagne than Gregory. Charlemagne, crowned king of the Holy Roman Empire in 800, sent singers to Rome and then throughout his Frankish realm to standardize the melodies of early chant. This 9th-century song was transmitted in many manuscripts and forms the basis of the repertory we know today. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org. Click for Audio File


    44. (Johannes Ciconia, Project Ars Nova, Band 3 “O Padua”) Johannes Ciconia is a pivotal figure in early music history, straddling the divide between medieval and Renaissance music. Ciconia was born in Flanders, but moved to Italy in the late 14th century, where he worked in churches in Rome and Padua. You’re listening to his motet, written in 1406, for the city of Padua and its new ruler. The piece is characterized by lively rhythms and a rich sonority favoring the use of 3rds—a new “modern” harmonic style that marks the beginning of the musical Renaissance. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    45. (Tallis Scholars 25th Anniversary, Band 10, Lassus “Salve Regina”) Legend has it that as a choirboy, Orlandus Lassus had such a beautiful voice that he was kidnapped three times from his birthplace in Flanders for service elsewhere. Lassus certainly had an international career in Renaissance Europe, working in Italy, Flanders, and Germany. He composed over 2,000 works, including 60 masses, 500 motets, and secular songs in French, German, and Italian. His influence was extensive, particularly in Germany, and his Latin sacred works (like this “Salve Regina”) were performed all over Europe. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    46. (Canto Mediterraneo, Capriccio Stravagante, Band 1 “Vorria che tu cantass”) Neapolitan songs have been popular since the Renaissance. This piece, from a collection of 1566 by Antonio Scandello, shows why. It has a catchy tune, infectious rhythmic vitality, and a simple text that starts out “I’d like you to sing a song when you play the viol for me.” The instrumental accompaniment of viols and harpsichord complements the voice and literally illustrates the text. This light-hearted Neapolitan style has always been a favorite with listeners. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    47. (Corelli Concerti Grossi, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Band 1, Concerto VII) The concerto grosso is a popular form of Baroque music, where the musical material is passed between a small group of soloists (called the concertino) and the full orchestra. The most famous concerti grossi are those of Archangelo Corelli, published as Op. 6 shortly after his death in 1713. These concerti served as models for future compositions, including those of Handel. Charles Burney wrote in 1789 “The Concertos of Corelli seem to have withstood all the attacks of time and fashion…they preclude all criticism, and make us forget that there is any other Music of the same kind existing.” Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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    48. (18th-Century Flute Concerti, Musica ad Rhenum, CD2, Band 13, Concert in G major, Allegro assai) Johann Joachim Quantz was one of the first professional flute players in 18th-century Europe. In 1741 he entered the service of King Frederick the Great of Prussia, where he composed, performed, made flutes, and served as the king’s flute teacher. Quantz’s Essay on flute-playing made him famous throughout Europe and serves today as one of the most valuable sources of information about Baroque performance practices. The concerto for 2 flutes and orchestra you’re hearing may have been played by the teacher Quantz and his pupil King Frederick in the palace of Sans Souci. Want to learn more about early music? Visit Early Music America’s web site at www.earlymusic.org.
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