Saturday at the Boston Early Music Festival

Being a consumer at the Exhibition

For some reason, I only ever buy things at the Exhibition on
Saturday. Of course, when you’re thinking about a $2000 recorder,
you want your teacher and everyone else to give you good advice
about the instrument. And if you’re thinking about buying a $2000
recorder, whether you do or not might affect how many hundreds, or
even dozens, of dollars you want to spend on music. But one of
the things I bought yesterday was a $5 t-shirt, which I really
could have bought on Wednesday.

I think part of why this happens is that it’s really fun being
a spectator without having to put dollar signs on the things
you’re looking at and watching other people play.

But there really are things for sale at the exhibition that
aren’t as easy to buy elsewhere, so yesterday I put my checkbook
in my pocket and bought some of them.

My first stop was A-R Editions, which puts out collections of
things. A lot of the French music on my site is transcribed
from Three-Part Chansons Printed by Gardane (1541).
They aren’t very playable editions — they do things like have
repeats go across page turns, but if you’re going to transcribe
them to have the unbarred parts anyway, they’re good source
material. This year I got two volumes of Andrea Gabrielli
madrigals and a volume called Canzone Villanesche alla Napolitana
and Villotte
by Adrian Willaert and His Circle. Someone
suggested last Spring that this kind of music is more fun to sing outdoors than the
Morley and Dowland we keep attempting. And a form for ordering
more with
the festival discount.

I reverted to being a spectator and talked to a woman who
produces editions like mine of Women composers, and helped a
friend who was drooling over the harpsichords at the Harpsichord
Clearing House try them all out. The Indiana University Press had
Carol McClintock’s Readings… on sale for less
than $5, but they weren’t really selling them; you have to go to
the website. Which I should remember to do, later when I’m not
trying to get the blog entry up before I leave for this
afternoon’s recorder concert.

And I gave the ARS a check for two year’s membership at the
Festival discount rate, and collected all my instruments from
their makers. They all sound better than when I left them, but I
haven’t had much time to play them.

Tragicomedia and Friends

The Saturday night 11 PM concert with Tragicommedia playing
something related to the rest of the Festival with the people at
the Festival that they want to play with is quite often one of the
best concerts of the week.

Last night they did the more dramatic madrigals of Monteverdi,
with full continuo. I actually like both Madrigals and Operas,
and hadn’t realized that there was a middle ground like this.

The singing was wonderful. The bass-baritone (Douglas Williams) could in fact
have supported the singing without all those instruments, and you
don’t often hear flexible ornamentation like what we got last
night from both tenors (Aaron Sheehan & Zachary Wilder).

Zefiro Torno has been the big hit on every concert
I’ve heard where it was on the program, and last night was no
exception. The jazzy continuo established by the plucked (or in
this case strummed) strings at the beginning anchored all the
vocal fireworks.

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