Sunday at the Boston Early Music Festival

The Flanders Recorder Quartet

At some point during all-recorder concerts, I always find
myself thinking of Samuel Johnson’s remark about the women
preachers: “Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on
his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to
find it done at all.” I really think that even if you play
as many different recorders as well as these guys do, it still
isn’t enough variety for a concert-length program. Adding
keyboard, strings, or especially singing makes it a lot easier on everyone.

That being said, the Flanders Recorder Quarted did do one of my
favorite recorder concerts of all time four or five years ago,
when they toured with a very good singer and did the English
Consort Song repertoire.

I should also point out that a very large fraction of the
audience on Sunday afternoon was people who play in and direct
recorder consorts, so a very common remark to overhear (or make)
at this concert was, “We should play some of this stuff.” So
there are reasons for some concerts that go beyond the aesthetic
satisfaction of the audience at the time of the concert.

I thought the second half of this program worked better than
the first half — the first half was mostly early sixteenth
century music played on Renaissance recorders. It was interesting how
they combined two or three of the pieces seamlessly into a set,
but it really wasn’t enough variety.

On the second half, they played one set with three grounds on
three different consorts of instruments: medieval, Renaissance,
and baroque. The Renaissance one (Upon La, Mi, Re
by Thomas Preston (d. ca. 1563)) was the piece on the program
that most made me say, “We should play that.” And the Purcell
Chacony, which I have played, mostly made me say, “They need a
serpent.” I love recorders, but I really think there are other
instruments that work better for that kind of driving bass
line.

The final piece on the program was an arrangement from a
Sweelinck keyboard piece of Dowland’s Lachrimae
Pavane.
That was the best piece on the program for
showing off what the recorder in the hands of these virtuoso
players can be used for.

Festival Wrapup

I got home to a flurry of emails from a set of keyboard playing
friends with the subject BEMF — dying, and me with
it
. I’m not sure which of the three people wrote that
subject line. I don’t have permission to quote any of them
directly by name, but the complaints included the dearth of
keyboard makers exhibiting, the poor choice of instruments at
some of the harpsichord concerts, and the poor presentation
skills of some of the performers. There apparently wasn’t a
harpsichord masterclass this year.

I didn’t see any of the brass players who normally come from
out of town. The Sunday afternoon recorder concert was lightly
attended two years ago, and even more so this time. Saturday’s
11 PM concert, with a reputation for often being the best
concert of the festival usually fills at least the downstairs of
Jordan Hall, and didn’t this year. Of the events I went to, only
the Friday concerts were as well-attended as I would expect.

So I think the Festival is in trouble. I really love a lot of
things about it, and I hope they pull through. I think there’s
some evidence that the organizers don’t entirely understand how
important the Festival’s diversity is in making it such an
important part of so many people’s lives, and I hope they figure
it out by next time.

I’d really be happy to give them good advice about how to get
more and better brass playing. They essentially ignore all the
European early brass playing, and it’s much better organized
than anything we have on this side of the pond. If they got one
of the good ensembles that has several kinds of instruments and
some good teachers, it could really be a draw for a lot of
people who love the idea of cornetto or serpent or baroque
trumpet and haven’t had a chance to hear it or to study it.

Tomorrow I get to blog about something else. I enjoyed lots of
things about the last week, but I’m looking forward to being able
to write about other things.

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.

Thursday at the Boston Early Music Festival

Recorder Masterclass with Paul Leenhouts

The first player at this class was a conservatory-level student
named Joe, who played the Telemann Fantasia in C major. This is a
very complicated piece, and Joe not only played well but had the
flexibility to take direction from Paul well, so we got to hear
a lot of different possible ways to play the piece.

One discussion of interest was how to play the echoes. The
easiest method to pull off was to just turn around and play the
echo phrase with the instrument pointing away from the
audience. Of course, this isn’t usable in all settings. Joe
made a face when someone suggested alternate fingerings, so Paul
made him play some and suggested he should practice them harder.

The next performer was a committed amateur from Illinois named
Jim, who played a Frescobaldi Canzona with his wife Ina at the
harpsichord. The first two points Paul made were:

  • The soprano Jim was using was an octave higher than
    Frescobaldi had envisioned the piece. Jim said he normally
    played it on tenor, but hadn’t wanted to pack the tenor from
    Illinois.
  • If he were playing a piece like that in concert, he would
    learn 3 or 4 of them, because otherwise it wouldn’t be enough of
    the same thing. Jim said he usually played in church, and one
    was the right number for a prelude or postlude.

So then Paul moved on to the technical issues. He worked on
tuning and ornamentation and ensemble listening skills.

The last player was named Jean, and she played a Loeillet
sonata movement. Paul’s impression of her was that she’d have
more fun playing if she had more technical ability, so he showed
her how to practice breathing and long tones to improve her tone,
and how to practice the difficult finger passages.

Erin Headley & Anne-Marie Lasla,
violas da gamba,
Kristian Bezuidenhout, harpsichord and organ

This was the eleven PM concert. I went because although I’m
not normally a big fan of solo viol playing, Erin Headley has
provided some of the more memorable instances of it that I’ve ever
heard. I wasn’t disappointed in the playing; both the viols and
the keyboard were very good, and the music from the French Baroque
is beautiful and elegant.

Kristian Bezuidenhout’s constant head-bobbing is distracting,
but I got used to it. I especially enjoyed the
courant from the Couperin suite, as it was one of the
few fast, danceable things on the program.

The person I was sitting next to remarked at the end, “They
should maybe play livelier music on these late concerts.” I
couldn’t disagree with that — even in the Follia at the end I was
having trouble keeping my eyes open. But I also couldn’t disagree
with the friend I rode home with on the train, who had been to all
three of the official concerts, at 5, 8, and 11, and said
“Glorious music for 7 hours; I didn’t want it to end.”

Notes from the exhibition

After the masterclass I spent an hour or so at the exhibition.

I dropped off three recorders with their makers, so that they
could be looked at.

Then I checked out the Early Music Shop to see if they had more
brass instruments than I’d seen. They did have a Moeck cornetto
diritto. The Moeck cornettos don’t have a very good reputation
in the cornetto community, and nothing I managed to get out of
this one should modify that. But it is an easier stretch than
you’d expect for a cornetto that size.

The rumor was that Frank Hubbard and maybe some other keyboard
makers were exhibiting at one of the churches instead of paying
the exhorbitant rentals for a room at the Raddison (see yesterday’s
post
for a discussion of how empty the ninth floor was).
But I needed to get to the exhibition to unload the instruments,
so I couldn’t stop and check it out.

Then I saw a friend buying an alto recorder from Tom Prescott. She
was vascillating between two instruments of the same model.
They both sounded like good instruments to me, and the flute
maker at the next booth wasn’t sure which was better, either.
So then Tom Zajac, my friends recorder teacher, walked by and he
told her which one he preferred, so she took that one. He
admitted that he was heavily influenced by the pretty wood grain
pattern — they were, as you’d expect, very similar in sound.

So then three of us went off and had supper, which we all needed
because we hadn’t really eaten lunch. They see each other all
the time, but I hadn’t seen either of them recently, so it was
good to catch up.

So how’s business?

The board doesn’t share their numbers with me, but here are my
observations:

  • The viols supported Erin Headley even worse than the
    recorder players supported Paul Leenhouts, so the downstairs in
    Jordan Hall might have been half full.
  • I’m told the audience at the 8 PM concert of the BEMF
    Chamber Ensemble was respectable — not sold out, but no large
    sections unoccupied.
  • My impression is that the exhibition is about as well
    attended as usual — of course the large crowds come on
    Saturday, so I’ll let you know more about that later. The
    recorder maker who sold my friend her instrument seemed also to
    be closing another sale at the same time, so he seems to be
    doing well.
  • The recorder masterclass was not as well attended as it has
    been in previous years, but they’ve usually had it on Saturday.

Wednesday at the Boston Early Music Festival

Exhibition

Good news: as of yesterday all the elevators seem to work, and
getting from one floor to another (the exhibition is on three
floors) is no harder than you would expect, and usually doesn’t
take any longer than walking would, if they would let you walk, which
they don’t. This is very different from two years ago.

There’s a lot to see — instrument vendors, sellers of sheet
music, a used bookstore, representatives from the summer workshops
you might want to go to…

I’ll be bringing several instruments I’ve bought there back to
meet their makers today, so they can be looked over and in one
case have the tuning checked. And I’ve seen a draft of the loud
wind class schedule for the Amherst Early Music Workshop.

The number of businesses willing to pay for the separate rooms
on the ninth floor is apparently at an all-time low. So you might
think that was a reason not to go there, but in fact it’s the
opposite — so many people are deciding not to bother going up there that the poor vendors
are desperate for someone to talk to and they really want you to
come play their instruments.

I played a shawm; the first reed I
used wasn’t working very well for me, which of course I assumed
was because I’m not a good double reed player, but the maker ran over
and gave me a different one and told me how to hold it in my mouth
and it did sound much better. If there were any chance to join a
shawm band I’d be tempted, but of course there isn’t.

I also played my cross-hands piece on the harp, and the harp
maker told me how much she liked my jewelry.

A couple of nits for the festival organizers to take note of:

  • There isn’t enough table space for all the people who want to
    leave flyers.
  • The ventillation system in the Dartmouth Room where a lot of
    demonstration concerts happen is far too loud.
  • As usual, there are almost no brass instruments. The Early
    Music shop booth had some sackbuts on display, and I will visit
    them to see if there might be cornettos under the table, but
    otherwise, nothing. I thought the translation of the German name
    of the shawm maker might be “wind instruments”, so I was hoping he
    might have some brass, but no, only reeds.

The Labyrinthine Keyboard Fantasies of Jan Pieterszoon
Sweelinck

Clavichordist Judith Conrad (disclosure: my sister) played a
fringe concert in the afternoon. She discussed the form of the
keyboard fantasia, which she said she had been playing for several
years without understanding it until she went to conservatory and
read the music history books. After she explained it, I’m not
sure I was any better at picking out the theme in augmentation and
diminution, but it was certainly good keyboard playing and
beautiful music. There were light refreshments afterwards, and
people hung around and talked.

D’amours me plains: 16th- and 17th-Century

Embellished Chansons and Madrigals

This was the 11 PM concert. Again, Jordan Hall was only a
quarter full. This was more understandable in the case of Tuesday
night’s concert, which was music nobody knew played by people most
people hadn’t heard of, but this was music early keyboard, wind
and string players play all the time, played by Paul Leenhouts,
one of the world’s most famous recorder players.

The playing was good. Paul really gets beautiful sounds out of
his renaissance instruments. People were especially impressed by
his bass recorder, which most of us don’t use for the fast stuff.
Harpsichordist Gabe Shuford was also impressive, especially in the
jazzier rhythms of the Cabezon.

A group of us, mostly recorder players, were talking about it
while waiting for the T, and all saying how beautiful it had been.
But then I made the point that complicated improvisations like
that are easier to follow when you know the tune, which I did for
only about half the program. Suddenly everyone else remembered
that they had not only had trouble following the ones with more
obscure tunes, but had sometimes had trouble recognizing the
well-known tunes in the more decorated versions. Suzanne
ung jour
was one we had all had trouble finding, even
though we’d all sung or played the Lassus madrigal.

I’m sure I’ve said this before on this blog, but people
performing that repertoire should really play an unembellished
version of the tune first. Or better yet, get a good singer to
sing the song. The great jazz players of the twentieth century
all did that, or had the great singers do it for them, and I bet
the players back in the sixteenth and seventeeth century did too,
at least when they weren’t playing something that everyone was
singing in the elevator.

Judith, by Ensemble Dialogos

The Boston Early Music
Festival
(BEMF) concert last night was a setting of a Croatian
epic poem for solo voice, bowed strings, and flutes. In addition
to credits for the three musicians, there were credits for stage
direction, philological advice, lighting, title translation… The
program notes and texts can be downloaded from the concert
page
, if you want to know more than this page tells you.

The performance lasted slightly more than an hour, and was
followed by a session for audience questions.

What I personally most enjoyed was the improvised 3-voice
polyphony. It’s in a very dissonant style. The group leader (the
singer) said that she’d seen a book holding up a table in a
Franciscan monastery, and had asked to look at it and it turned
out to be directions for improvising this kind of polyphony. They
were very specific, along the lines of, “If the tune goes up by a
step, here are the choices for what the other voices can do.”
There was a part right after the death of Holefernes where the
singer and the flute cadence on a major second interval and just
hold it. (I really mean on the major second; it doesn’t
resolve to a fifth or anything.) It sent shivers up my spine.

The poetry, music, and acting were all superb, and if you get a
chance to see this group, you should take it. They’re working on
finding production and distributors for a DVD of the
production.

One minor nit about the production. I was sitting off to the
side and had trouble reading the titles when the lighting got
brighter after Judith returns to Jerusalem with the head of
Holofernes. I asked a friend who had been sitting directly in the
center of the front row if she’d had problems, and she said she
had no trouble reading them except when they were obscured by the
performers, which was frequent. Since these seats we had are
normally considered among the best in their price range (mine the
cheap range, my friend’s the expensive ones), and none
of the price ranges were anything like sold out, I would guess
that a fair percentage of the audience was having one or the other
of these problems.

This was the first event of this year’s BEMF that I’d gotten
to, and I was disappointed to see that Jordan Hall was only a
quarter to a third full. I understand that the opera has
essentially sold out, but that all the concerts have lots of
available seats, so if you were thinking you might want to go, you
should encourage yourself to do it.

Report on the May 26 meeting

We played:

Sermisy
Amy souffrez (2 voice)
Aupres de vous (2 voice)
Anonymous
Duet 113
Bicinia (ed. Phalese)
Fantasia 25
Fantasia 1
Fantasia 2
Sermisy
Amy souffrez (3 voice, with ornaments from the Attaignant
keyboard tablature)
Aupres de vous (3 voice)
Changeons propos
Vignons, vignons
Heurteur
Quand je bois
Purcell
He that drinks is immortal
Down with Bacchus

Schedule

We will not be meeting either next week or the week after,
because of the West
Gallery Quire
rehearsal and the
Boston Early Music Festival
.

After that, it will be Summer time, and the livin’ is
easy
for lots of us, so we should get lots of people coming
and be able to do polychoral Gabrielli and other things with lots
of parts.

So here’s the schedule:

Tuesday, June 2
No meeting
Tuesday, June 9
No meeting
Tuesday, June 16, and subsequent Tuesdays
Meetings resume at 7:45 PM at my
place.
Sunday, June 21

Party at 4 PM at my place.

Party

From time to time, the Cantabile Band has parties, so that we
can invite all our friends to have as much fun as we do. The big
difference between the parties and the meetings is that we eat and
drink before as well as after singing and playing. Also because
we have friends we like to sing and play with who have trouble
making it on Tuesdays. And in this case, because the Walk for
Hunger wasn’t really the best environment for some of the music we
played there. I was very impressed that we didn’t get lost when
the helicopter went over, but the audience probably wasn’t able
to hear how impressive it was. So we might get together and burst into song from that program from time to time.

Since the party will be held shortly after BEMF, I’ll be
printing the invitation on the back of the flyers, so that people
can check us out by coming either to a meeting or to a party.

If you want to print either flyers or invitations, you can
download them. The invitation
includes the flyer as a second
page, so if you don’t have a double-sided printer, you may want to
print them separately.

Assuming the weather is at all friendly to such things, we’ll
be doing the eating and drinking in the backyard, and will have
the grill going, so you’re welcome to bring food contributions
that need grilling.

Cantabile at BEMF

At BEMF, I will be attempting to keep the flyer table at the
exhibition stocked with our flyers, in the version with the
invitation on the back. If you’re going to be hanging around the
exhibition, it would be good if you could help with that, at least
to the extent of letting me know if we seem to have run out.

If you’re going to fringe events of interest to the same
population we recruit from, it would be good if you could take
some flyers, either to leave on a table or to hand to likely
suspects.

BEMF events of interest

I have tickets to several of the BEMF concerts: all the 11PM
ones, all the recorder ones, and the Renaissance music ones. So
that’s Tuesday evening, Wednesday through Saturday at 11PM, Friday
evening, and Sunday afternoon.

There are fringe events where our friends will be playing or
singing:

Monday, June 8
12:30pm Seven Hills Renaissance Wind Ensemble (Elizabeth
Hardy, Cathy Stein & Matthew Stein, shawms & dulcians; Rigel
Lustwerk, cornetto; Daniel Meyers, sackbut; Daniel Stillman,
shawm, dulcian & sackbut). Musicians of the Golden Fleece: Wind
Band Music from the Hapsburg Courts of the 16th Century. Program
featuring sacred and secular works by Thomas Stolzer and Orlande
de Lassus, Kappellmeisters to Louis II of Hungary and Albrecht V
of Bavaria. First Church in Boston. $15 donation. 617-388-2363
or 7hillsband@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 9
12:30pm Harmonious Blacksmith (Ah Young Hong, soprano;
Justin Godoy, recorder; William Simms, lute, theorbo, guitar;
Nika Zlataric, viola da gamba; Joseph Gascho,
harpsichord). Phantasticke Spirites. Inspired by the bawdy and
joyous spirit of English songs, Harmonious Blacksmith improvises
and ornaments the music of Byrd, Morley, and their
contemporaries. Named after Thomas Weelkes’s fourth book of
madrigals, this program also draws from the keyboard music in
the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. First Church in Boston. $20/$10
st, sr, BEMF, EMA, ARS. 781-507-4160 or
info@HarmoniousBlacksmith.com.
4pm Seven Times Salt (Karen Burciaga, violin; Daniel Myers,
recorders; Josh Schreiber Shalem, bass viol; Matthew Wright,
lute; with guests Tracy Cowart, mezzo-soprano; Michael Barrett,
tenor; Kyle Parrish, narrator). A Brave Barrel of Oysters: Music
of Samuel Pepys’ London. Sample the delights of Restoration
England, as described in Samuel Pepys’ diaries. Music of Lawes,
Locke, Matteis, and Pepys himself! Beacon Hill Friends
House. $10 suggested donation. 508-878-7028 or
Karen@seventimessalt.com.
Wednesday, June 10
3:30pm Judith Conrad, clavichord. The Labyrinthine Keyboard
Music of Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562–1621). Sweelinck’s
Fantasias are among the monuments of early Baroque music. They
require a different sort of listening from the classical forms
of music, in much the way that the walk of a cathedral labyrinth
is so different from a standard religious service. Performing on
a triple-fretted clavichord by Andreas Hermert of Berlin,
2003. The Paulist Center Library. $20 donation to benefit the
Iraq Family Relief Fund. 508-674-6128 or
judithconrad@mindspring.com
Thursday, June 11
9am Viola da Gamba Society of America. The Gamba Gamut. A
series of five mini-programs, spanning the repertoire of the
viola da gamba, performed by emerging and established artists of
the VdGSA. 9am: Empire Viols present The State of Gambo, a
program of accompanied duo viols, with music by Young, Jenkins,
Hume, and Simpson; 9:45am: Brady Lanier, viola da gamba & Molly
Hammond, harpsichord, present a program of Marais and Forqueray;
10:15am: Brandeis University Viol Collegium, directed by Sarah
Mead, presents a program of works drawn from manuscripts from
the Gorham Collection at Brandeis (includes Lasso, Willaert,
Vecchi, and others); 11am: Brook Green presents a program of
solo music for treble viol, including works by Bassano and Hume;
11:30am: Long and Away presents Ye Sacred Muses, a program of
English consort songs and dances. Cathedral Church of
St. Paul. FREE, donations welcome. 239-994-3924 or
scf@cwru.edu.
12:30pm Boston Recorder Quartet (Roxane Layton, Judith
Linsenberg, Roy Sansom & Tom Zajac, recorders). Recorder Music
from Seven Centuries. Works for recorder quartet by Byrd, Bach,
Rore, Merula, Sansom, Shannon, and Anon. Emmanuel Church. $15
donation/ $10 donation for st, sr, BEMF, EMA. 617-489-3906 or
dellalsansom@earthlink.net.
2pm Saltarello (Sarah Cantor, recorders; Angus Lansing,
viola da gamba; Andrus Madsen, harpsichord). Handel’s Italian
Passion and English Charm. Handel’s solo sonatas, most of them
written during the first two decades of the 18th century,
exhibit him at his best. At once tuneful and inventive, fiery
and tender, Handel was so fond of these pieces that returned to
them again and again, borrowing bits and pieces for use in other
works. Come hear what made these sonatas so irresistible! The
College Club of Boston. $15/$10 st, sr, BEMF, EMA,
ARS. 617-669-4292 or sarah@cantornote.com.
Friday, June 12
3:30pm Judith Conrad, clavichord. Tangled Mysteries:
Clavichord Music of Renaissance Poland. Music from 16th-century
tablature books from Lublin, Warsaw, and Gdansk, performed on
early clavichords, after original instruments from Silesia
(ca. 1470 & ca. 1600). The Paulist Center Library. $20 donation
to benefit the Iraq Family Relief Fund. 508-674-6128 or
judithconrad@mindspring.com.
Saturday, June 13
10:30am WIP Series (Works in Progress). Mini-recitals by
fabulous folk: featuring Judith Conrad, Sylvia Berry, Gail
Olszewski, Larry Wallach, and Mariken Palmboom. Harpsichord
Clearing House, Radisson Hotel Dartmouth Room, 6th floor. $5 or
FREE with BEMF Pass.
12:30pm Convivium Musicum, directed by Michael
Barrett. Going for Baroque. The Electors of Saxony made the
court at Dresden a haven for Protestant composers including
Hassler, Praetorius, and Schütz, shapers of the emerging Baroque
idiom. This concert will feature sacred works for voices by
these German masters. Church of St. John the Evangelist. $10/$5
st, sr, BEMF, EMA. 609-457-8573 or info@convivium.org.

If I’ve missed anything, you can leave a comment here, or email me and I’ll add you.

Other events

If you’re interested in the West Gallery Quire, come to either
the June 3 concert or the June 7 meeting.

The concert has the merit of having been rehearsed, and being a
selection of a lot of the better music. It will be at 8 PM on
June 3, at the Brighton-Allston Congregational Church, at 404
Washington St. in Brighton.

The meeting has the advantage that you too can play or sing.
It’s probably the best opportunity for several hundred or even
thousand miles for singing with a serpent.

Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF)

I ordered my tickets to BEMF this
morning. I had been agonizing over how many to buy since the
brochures arrived in February, but I finally decided to go with a
minimal number. So what I got is all the Renaissance ones, all
the recorder ones, and all the 11PM ones. And a pass and a book.

The festival is a major event in the early music community,
which takes place in odd-numbered years. (In even-numbered
years, there’s an event in Berkely, California.) There are
concerts by world-renowned players, masterclasses with famous
teachers, fringe events by less-renowned players, and an
exhibition of instruments and related paraphernalia.

Two years ago, this blog was just starting to take shape, and I
announced that I would be blogging from BEMF.
I attempted to convince other people to also post about their
experiences, since there’s no way one person can cover all the
events, or even the whole set of events that are interesting to
them. I got more comments on these posts than I usually do, but
didn’t get a lot of guest blogging action, partly because a lot
of people who might have done it were out-of-town without their
usual network access. But mostly because if you’re as busy as
the really committed early music people are at BEMF, you don’t
want to add writing to it.

So this year, I’ll keep up my one post a day policy, and during
that week (June 9-14 for me) most
posts will probably be about BEMF, but I’m not going to try to
be comprehensive, even about what I’m doing. I will set up a BEMF 2009
category, and if you’d like to get a user account that entitles
you to post entries on this blog, let me know and I’ll set it
up. You don’t need my permission to post comments, and it would
be really good if my readers wanted to

In terms of preparation for BEMF, I’ll be putting out flyers
for the Cantabile Band
and Serpent Publications.

I’m hoping to get the new serpentpublications.org
site set up by then, but it’s going slower than I hoped for, and
the flyer might still have to stick to the current laymusic.org and lulu.com stuff.