Rhinestones & Nashville Twang

The versatility of Nashville’s historically informed musicians has made them flexible, even delightfully heretical, in their approach to performing early music. It’s a scene that has been ebbing, flowing, and growing for nearly 20 years.

How Did Early Music Get So ‘Crispy’?

Like playing bingo, you can find “crisp” in countless early-music reviews, although such a term isn’t found in the historical record. Are musicians looking for uniformly “crisp” playing while neglecting other sonic possibilities? What’s going on here?

Enjoying the Ride with Countertenor John Holiday

The countertenor’s commitment to early music remains solid, even as the larger entertainment world has discovered his unique talents. You sense that Holiday’s intense desire to communicate informs his cabaret act as much as his Baroque opera.

Viols to Virginia, Music in Colonial America

The only known extant works for viola da gamba in British Colonial America are found in the James River Music Book, a manuscript that has resided in Virginia since the 1730s and contains 15 works for solo viola da gamba, among other musical items. The earliest layer of the JRMB holds music by Lully, Purcell, and Handel, nearly doubling the page count of surviving instrumental music from the period and contributing repertoire for viola da gamba, organ, harpsichord, violin, and voice to the music now known to have been played in colonial Virginia. This article was first published in the May 2020 issue of EMAg.

Women Composers and the Risks of Authorship

Celebrating International Women’s Day: The careers of Viennese composer Marianna Martines and Roman composer Maria Rosa Coccia mirrored one another in key respects. But the differences are fascinating, and revealing: While one was born into privilege and carefully cultivated her public image, the other seemed to suffer from fewer social connections and a more bold approach to her public persona.

Nurturing a Love for Early Music

Amherst Early Music and the Oberlin Baroque Performance Institute have long embraced musicians ranging from enthusiasts to professionals. These two programs, similar in many regards, serve a range of abilities and interests, and both of them got their start a half a century ago.

Rock & Reel: Monticello’s Black Fiddlers

Sally Hemings’ three sons with Thomas Jefferson, and many in her extended family, were accomplished musicians. The pieces they played are ripe for modern performances on historical instruments.

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