Saturday morning quotes 6.33: 2016 Retrospective
Coinciding with the close of another calendar year, our Saturday post offers the opportunity to indulge in a bit of retrospection.
“…And by that destiny to perform an act
Whereof what’s past is prologue, what to come
In yours and my discharge.”
– Shakespeare, The Tempest, II:i
2016 was an inauspicious year in many aspects, to say the least. In addition to unfortunate global political upheaval and a challenging economic environment, we have all seen the passing of far too many family members, close friends, and cultural icons, leaving a hollow place in our personal lives and missing mileposts in our collective public consciousness. But we fear that lest we manage the memory of departed friends and our inherited cultural heritage with care, it will simply go missing.
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”
– Shakespeare, The Tempest, I:ii
The aforementioned political upheaval has perfumed the entire globe with a particularly unpleasant odor, spreading and leaving its stench on everything it touches. Once-trusted news sources now specialize in deliberately contrived “news” stories that blatantly advance an agenda to the detriment of truth and fact. Unpleasantness in public discourse seems to have unfortunately become a new standard, at least among those who have always inclined toward displays of dyspepsia while safely perched behind their computer keyboards. As active professional performers of early music, we are guided by the cultural context and aesthetics of our chosen music, and we shall continue to uphold standards of public discourse as we share our unique perspective.
“I say there is no darkness but ignorance.”
– Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, IV:ii
Of course there are positives that emerged over the past year, and we are pleased to point out a few. Items of interest include new (to us) discoveries of stellar performers who put an unconventional spin on early music while managing to deliver committed and convincing performances. These include Purcell’s “Music for a while” sung by Claron McFadden, a mesmerizing performance of “Dido’s Lament” by Jenny Evans, and of course the definitive performance of Handel’s “Zadok the Priest”, which never fails to satisfy and has the great distinction of having been viewed repeatedly in our household. We look forward to exploring more exemplary work from these artists in the coming year.
There are several projects we would like to tackle in 2017 and beyond, including recording a new selection of French chansons and airs de cour; an oft-requested recording of more music by John Dowland; recording more late 15th-century rondeaux, more music by Bartolomeo Tromboncino and Francesco Spinacino; and (finally) a recording devoted to lute solos. This being the last week of the calendar year, we want to remind our many friends and listeners that we accept contributions, both direct and tax-deductible. If you like our work, please visit the “Donate” button on the top of this page and consider making a contribution, no matter how small, and help us continue.
“And take thou this!’ O thoughts of men accursed!
Past and to come seems best; things present worst.
Shall we go draw our numbers and set on?
We are time’s subjects, and time bids be gone.”
– Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part II, I:iii