Plans for Monday

At some point, I’ll be spending time printing the handouts for the performance practice workshop that I spend last week typesetting.

I have a ticket to the “King’s Noyse”: festival concert tonight. I’ll have to leave early enough to stand in line to pick up my program book, and to figure out how to get a one-week pass out of the T machine.

The “Fringe Concert Schedule”: is thin today compared to what it will be later in the week, but if I had time (unlikely with the printing), I would like to see both “Liber Unusualis”: and Concertino.

I haven’t heard Liber Unusualis recently, but friends who have say their sound and their commitment to the music is inspiring.

I haven’t heard Concertino either, but I’ve heard both Elaine Funaro and Owen Watkins, and I’d like to hear them together. Too many of the local fine recorder players don’t bother getting equally fine keyboard players to play with.

h3. Dog walking

“Sunny’s”: friends are presumably concerned about how all this gadding about to concerts and other events that I’m doing is going to affect Sunnys walk schedule. Today it shouldn’t be a problem, as I’ll be home at all the normal times. The 6:00 trip to the dog park may have to be a bit shorter than sometimes.


Today is the official start of the Festival, but of course anyone heavily involved has been working hard for weeks or months to get ready.

My own preparations involved getting the “Boston Recorder Society”:” summer meeting flyer printed and into the hands of someone who can put it out on the exhibit floor before I’ll get there on Wednesday.

I’ve also been typesetting the handout for John Tyson’s “Renaissance Performance Practice Workshop”:, which led to “additions” to the music on this site.

“Exhibitors”: have been sending out their literature; I got “Tom Prescott’s”: brochure in the mail a couple of weeks ago.

I caught the tail end of the WHRB preview program, which included a very nice recording of the “Harmonious Blacksmith”: group, which is doing a “fringe concert”: on Thursday at 11 AM.

“Judith Conrad”: (disclaimer: She’s my sister, so my opinion that she gives the best clavichord concerts I’ve ever heard is biased, but not necessarily wrong) sends the program for her “two programs”: She’s also making t-shirts; I’ve seen the design and I’m really looking forward to having one.

Spaces still available in recorder masterclass

Shannon Canavin of the BEMF staff writes:

Spaces are still available in the Paul Leenhouts

Recorder Masterclass at the 2007 Boston Early Music Festival!

Paul Leenhouts, an internationally-renowned recorder player and director of
The Royal Wind Music recorder consort, will present a masterclass on Saturday,
June 16 from 4pm to 6pm in the Emmanuel Church Music Room. Students of
intermediate to advanced ability who are interested in a historical approach
to recorder playing are encouraged to apply. Materials are available at http:
// or call 617-661-1812 for more
information. Auditors are invited to attend to watch these informative public
coachings; admission is $5 or FREE with a BEMF Week Pass ($20) or Day Pass

Paul Leenhouts is a founding member of the Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet
and the Baroque ensemble Collegium Atlántis. He holds a Soloist Diploma from
the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, where he has served as a faculty
member since 1993, and is director of the International Baroque Institute at
the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA. An active composer, arranger, and
editor of several works for recorder (Moeck, Ascolta, and ¡Huzza! Editions),
Leenhouts initiated the Open Holland Recorder Festival Utrecht in 1986 and has
recorded for Decca L’Oiseau-Lyre, Channel Classics, Vanguard, and Berlin

I think one of the really good things about BEMF is that you can see the musicians in all stages of development, and the international stars like Paul Leenhouts in their roles as performers and teachers. So if you’d like to have a recorder lesson from an internationally known player, sign up.

Buying tickets

If you aren’t sure how much you’ll be around, it’s probably fine to just wait and buy them at the venues. The exception is the exhibition pass, which lets you into masterclasses that can be a fair ways away from the place where the passes are sold, so if you aren’t planning to go the main exhibition at the Raddisson first, you might want to order one of those from the “web”:

But those of us who intend to spend the week there usually pore over the booklet and the website and order a bunch of tickets. I used to get the ??Golden Serpent??, which is tickets to everything, but it was a lot more concerts than anyone would want to see in one week. The last time I did it, I actually did manage to sell all the tickets I didn’t want at face value, so it ended up a pretty good deal, but that was enough work that I haven’t bought the Golden Serpent since then.

The last festival I just bought all the tickets I wanted at the lowest possible price. This worked out fine for the normal concerts; for the opera it puts you in the nosebleed section, and everyone else seems to have enjoyed the opera more than I did. So this year I went for the ??Bronze Serpent??, which gives you a B class ticket to the opera and 4 concerts. Then I also got some D (lowest) price tickets to a couple of other concerts, and a couple of the unreserved seating late night concerts.

When you’re deciding how much you can afford for tickets, don’t forget that you’ll also want to see some fringe events, not all of which are free, and buy instruments and music at the exhibition.

If the decision is that you can’t afford as many tickets as you want, one possibility is to “volunteer”: They have a complicated system of making sure the less glamorous jobs get covered by making you work a certain number of hours at the exhibition or other daytime events before you get to usher at the concerts or opera. But the ushers do get to see things.

Blogging from the BEMF

The “Boston Early Music Festival”: will be happening from June 11-17, 2007.

If you haven’t been, and you’re at all interested in early music, recorders, instrument making in general, improvisational music, music teaching, or music publishing, you should try it.

There’s an exhibition, where instrument makers from all over the world come and show off what they can do. It’s a particularly good place to buy a recorder — you try them all out in the exhibition hall, and when you’ve decided which ones you’re serious about, you take them into the ladies room and play them and ask the people who come through to help you decide.

Also, all the people who sell music come with lots of stuff you can browse. Many of them give festival discounts, and they all hand out catalogs.

Many of the instrument makers have good players perform short exhibition concerts on their instruments, so if you haven’t heard some of these early instruments, it’s a good opportunity to find out what they sound like. The first exhibition I went to in 1989, I heard Ben Harms demonstrate pipe and tabor, and heard some fine young musicians play Schubert’s ??Der Hirt auf dem Felsen?? with fortepiano and early clarinet.

Then there are the Fringe Concerts. All the Boston-area professional early musicians, and many from out-of-town find a space near the exhibition and give concerts. I listed some of the things my friends are doing in my “Cantabile post”: a couple of weeks ago.

There are many good teachers among the musicians who come for the festival, so there are Masterclasses, symposia, and panel discussions, which are usually free if you’ve bought a pass to the exhibition.

And finally, there are the official festival concerts and the Opera. These are going to concentrate on French music this year. The opera is ??Psyché?? by Lully. So far my favorite opera (I’ve seen all the BEMF opera productions since 1993) was ??Thesée?? by Lully, so I’m looking forward to this one. The last year they did French, my favorite group was ??Ensemble Clément Janequin??, and they’ll be doing two concerts again this year. And there’s always a recorder and a viol concert. Thiis year the recorder concert is Paul Leenhouts’ group ??The Royal Wind Music??, and the viol concert is Philippe Pierlot, and
Jan Willem Jansen, harpsichord.

They unfortunately don’t always do a brass concert, and this year they aren’t.

I’m going to be blogging about the things I see and do. Comments on what I say are welcome. If you’re attending and would like to be a guest blogger, let me know and I’ll give you an account where you can post your own articles.

[concerts] Camerata Trajectina at BEMF

The concert was all seventeenth century Dutch songs to do with
sailing. The 7-member group had three singers (Soprano, Tenor, and
Baritone), a recorder player, a violin, a bass viol and a lute, who
was also the director. Everybody sang along on the choruses.

That much singing of pretty but often uncomplicated music in a
foreign language could have gotten tedious, but I felt the
arrangements and “staging” were varied enough that I wasn’t bored.

Two songs were sung in English translation. In my opinion these
were among the most effective of the evening. Some leaving audience
members were heard complaining about the slightly accented English,
but I thought the diction was superb, and the songs were much more
effective for not requiring the audience to read along.

The lyrics to one piece were written to be sung to a psalm tune
that has a 6-part polyphonic setting by Sweelinck, so they did it that
way. The result was interesting, but probably not what the sailors
did on deck after a hard day in the rigging.

The instrumental backup was superb, and most of the singing was
very committed to the subject matter. I wish my group could find as
effective a way of presenting our drinking songs.