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Relief Fund raises more than $50,000

Because of generous donors, more than 200 early musicians received financial support.

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Reservation date extended to April 10.

A Circle of Fifths

A retrospective and remedy for addressing diversity in Early Music in America
Monday, April 6 at 4pm ET

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Daily Early Music Calendar

Selections are now being submitted by artists and ensembles who are affected by the spread of COVID-19. Submit a selection here.

J.S. Bach: Prelude from Suite in E major BWV 1006a
by Ronn McFarlane, March 27, 2020

Bach is the deepest, most inspiring, most positive and uplifting composer I know. The energy of this music seems to be a perfect antidote to the anxiety of this present time.

I make my living by performing live concerts. And, needless to say, all concerts have been cancelled or postponed until after the current COVID-19 danger has passed.

Ockeghem: Aultre Venus estes sans faille

by Margot Rood, March 26, 2020

This is my favorite Ockeghem song of all time and making this album with Blue Heron was such a special experience. I couldn’t be more proud of this recording.

I have lost close to eight thousand dollars worth of performances over the next 3 months, and I am just so sad. I feel like performance of live early music will never recover.

Isaac: Fortuna disperata / Sancte Petre

by Corina Marti & Michal Gondko/La Morra, March 22, 2020

The album “The Lion’s Ear” which contains this track is a tribute to Pope Leo X (Giovanni de’ Medici, 1475-1521), a rare and extraordinary patron of music as well as himself a composer and musician. It is also the outcome of La Morra’s collaboration with Anthony M. Cummings, eminent scholar of Renaissance music, author of the book “Pope Leo X, the Renaissance Papacy, and Music.

Fortuna disperata / Sancte Petre” was composed by Henricus Isaac, a South-Netherlandish composer and one of the most devoted servants of the House of Medici. In the words of Prof. Cummings: “The text is an invocation to the Apostles of Jesus to “pray for us” [“ora pro nobis”] and each of the Apostles is addressed in turn, beginning with Peter, whose successor Leo was understood to be; (…) The quasi-liturgical character of the genre is revealed in this instance by the use of a popular tune, “Fortuna disperata”, in the uppermost line of the five-voice polyphonic complex. (…) “Fortuna disperata” was a Florentine popular song from Lorenzo Il Magnifico’s time, and its use in Isaac’s motet might have been intended as referring obliquely to the Florentine “Peter”, Pope Leo X, Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici.

The original poem of “Fortuna disperata” is a lament on the death of an unknown lady. Let us quote here the last strophe in English translation by Honey Meconi:

O pitiless death,
Hostile and cruel,
More bitter than bile,
Founded in malice.
Hopeless Fortune,
Unjust and cursed.

The bitterness of these words is a reminder of the fragility of human existence.

La Morra was about to revisit United States — for the first time since 2012 — to perform a program of Italian music from the age of Pope Leo X at the Williams Center for the Arts in Easton (PA), preceded by a talk by Prof. Cummings. The outbreak of COVID-19 and the security measures have thwarted all plans, nullifying not only the agreement but also many months worth of preparatory efforts, and has left the ensemble with administration costs which don’t qualify for reimbursement. Such stories could now be enumerated “ad infinitum” — globally. How badly will music industry be affected in the years to come? This is the big question many of us ask ourselves now. No one can tell.

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