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Saturday morning quotes 7.48: Concert sets

July 11, 2020
Mignarda performing for a live studio audience at WSKG-TV, Binghamton, NY

Mignarda performing for a live studio audience at WSKG-TV, Binghamton, NY

Adversity: A state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.

High summer 2020: We adjust uneasily to the new normal that has descended upon us all.  The threat of a pandemic with attendant catastrophic economic effects demands we contemplate the uncomfortable prospect of if and when we will be able to perform for live audiences again.

Music has always been intended to create an experience that connects musicians and their audience, and those of you who have attended our live concerts know that we present thoughtfully prepared programs of engaging music in a manner that draws the listener into the music and the song texts.  All of our concert programs present music that is the result of our research and scrupulous regime of preparation to get to the heart of each and every song

A large proportion of our music is the result of extensive research into the source material and its context, following historical precedent, frequently reacquainting orphan texts with their music and reconstructing repertory for solo voice and lute from suitable examples of vocal polyphony.  The rehearsal process begins only after the score is settled and the music flows from the (paper) page with elegance and purpose.  Text setting is given careful consideration to ensure clear and optimal communication of the poetry.  Then we set about discovering and articulating every nuance of rhythmic phrasing in the music, clarifying and enhancing every point of imitation, and carefully balancing dynamic contrasts between voice and lute.

“Without music, poetry is almost graceless, just as music without the melody of verses is inanimate and lifeless.”

– Pierre de Ronsard

Going forward, we remain committed to presenting our music to appreciative listeners and colleagues.  But as dedicated musicians who survive on concert proceeds, we simply do not have the equipment, nor the staff, nor the budget required to produce quality videos that will capture the spirit of the music like the experience of a live concert.

Unquiet Thoughts is, like our music, produced with no external support and at the expense of our precious time and at the cost of many hours that could otherwise have been devoted to restful sleep.  But the constant positive feedback we receive for these humble offerings inspire us to share the results of our work.  Now in its tenth year, Unquiet Thoughts will continue to provide a much needed perspective that (so we are told) helps music lovers navigate the shifty seas of early music, separating the sales talk from the serenity, the merchandising from the meaningful.  And, apparently, provide source material and citations for a great many school research papers.

“Labour, like all other things which are purchased and sold, and which may be increased or diminished in quantity, has its natural and its market price.  The natural price of labour is that price which is necessary to enable the labourers, one with another, to subsist and to perpetuate their race, without either increase or diminution.”

“When the market price of labour is below its natural price, the condition of the labourers is most wretched: then poverty deprives them of those comforts which custom renders absolute necessaries.”

– David Ricardo, from Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, 1817.

After much rumination and consideration we thought we’d try our own balanced approach to the present: In addition to regular blog posts, we will be offering subscriptions for a new feature we are calling Concert Sets.   Each program will consist of audio excerpts of material we perform in our concerts, averaging 20-30 minutes, and presented with contextual remarks such as those found in our live concert program notes.

Concert Sets are short, easily-digestible examples of what an audience can expect at a Mignarda concert, and are complete with program notes and contextual remarks.  We will be providing secure links for subscribers in the very near future, but for now and for all, here’s a sample.

  1. Cascadia Viols permalink

    I like this concept. I love your playing and your thoughts but am unlikely to ever hear you live. Having the context you set for the pieces and the connections between them that you provide in a concert is greatly appreciated.

  2. Thanks very much for your kind words. We have enough concert material to hand to present two-years’ worth of monthly programs, and we are encouraged to forge ahead with this project.

    If the current situation ever changes, you may very likely have the opportunity to see us live. We have Oregon connections (including Roma S. and David S,) and we have half-baked plans for another west-coast tour that have been nudged to the back burner for obvious reasons. But we live in hope.

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