Musical Expression and Aliveness through the centuries: ORA and Many are the Wonders

ORA Many Are the Wonders

On a wintery evening in early February last year I braved the cold rain to make a pilgrimage to the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula in the Tower of London. No, it wasn’t to pay homage to the burial place of Lady Jane Grey or Anne Boleyn, though that…

Continue reading

Listening Projects (or infusing more Beethoven into my life)

I spend a lot of time bemoaning the amount of music there is in the world which I will never hear. There just isn’t enough time in the day. Same with books. If I read all 1500 books on my Kindle this year, during the time I spent reading another…

Continue reading

Christina de Pizan: Early Feminist, Poet, and all around Badass

Christina de pizan

Have you ever noticed that once you hear about someone for the first time, they often come back to haunt you? Christina de Pizan is like that for me. I had never really registered her before I interviewed Alison Weir this past February when she came up. Nowadays everywhere I look…

Continue reading

Old Music Tuesday: Henry’s Musical Court & The Western Wynde Mass

Western Wind Mass

Yep, you read that right. The musical court of Henry VIII. While many of us think of the monarch with six wives as fat and pretty darn corpulent, he wasn’t always this way. In fact, when he was young, he was quite the hottie, impressing women with his jousting feats,…

Continue reading

Music from the world of the Queen of Scots

We all know that early music, particularly English liturgical music, is my big passion, right? I geek out on the music created out of the Book of Common Prayer, and I can easily sit for hours comparing Tallis through the decades. But one area I don’t know that much about,…

Continue reading

Haec Dies! Music for rebirth and renewal.

Every once in a while there’s a piece of music that paints such a beautiful picture of happiness, rebirth, renewal, and the essence of Easter, that you just have to get up and dance a jig. That’s what Byrd’s Haec Dies does for me. Latin for This is the Day…

Continue reading

Why you should become intimate with Dido & Aeneas

Between 1684 and 1688 English music, opera, and music history was changed when Purcell wrote Dido & Aeneas, one of England’s earliest operas written by the Grandaddy of English Baroque.  Now, 350 years later, it is still alive and well as a new recording by the Armonico Consort demonstrates, and…

Continue reading

Music for Impressing a King: Taverner’s Missa Corona Spinea, Wolsey, and Henry VIII

In March 1527 Henry VIII and his wife Catherine of Aragon visited Cardinal Wolsey’s new foundation – Cardinal’s College – in Oxford.  John Taverner, one of the most famous composers of his time, was commissioned to write an appropriately stunning piece of choral music that would wow the King and…

Continue reading

Early Music Saturday: Madrigals of Madness from the Calmus Ensemble

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again – I find the best music via the Millennium of Music show, which is on both Sirius and NPR.  I have a membership and can listen to old episodes (it’s the best $2.99/month I spend) and I was perusing episodes…

Continue reading

Everything New is Old Again: The ORA Choir launch

In about a week and a half I’m going back to London to attend (and write about) the launch of the ORA Singers, a new choir that is based on commissioning contemporary composers write reimagined reflections of Tudor masterworks.  Full disclosure – I know Suzi Digby, the founder.  About 5 years…

Continue reading