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April 2, 2022

Saturday morning quotes 8.39: Context again

Regular readers will discern that our essays continually harp on the importance of context in our interpretations of early music. What exactly do we mean by this? “…Contextual music history: a style of history that locates the conception, production, transmission, and consumption of music firmly within a social, religious, economic and political context.” – Michael […]

July 24, 2021

Saturday morning quotes 8.21: More on Context

Our last post posed contrasting points of view concerning musical performance, highlighting musical content versus performances that attempt to place music in its context. For obvious reasons, musical content is and should be the performer’s primary focus when offering obscure, unique or unfamiliar music to an audience. But placing music in its historical context can […]

July 10, 2021

Saturday morning quotes 8.20: Context v. Content

As dedicated performers of historical music, we occasionally mention the importance of contextual details that inform our understanding of song texts and their music, and we are firm in the belief that these details lead to engaged interpretations of musical treasures that have for centuries occupied a silent library shelf. But we want to emphasize […]

October 3, 2015

Saturday morning quotes 5.20: Dowland and Context

Our weekly posts are unapologetically focused on vocal music of the 16th century and the lute as it was regarded in its golden age; an emblem for all that was civilized and sophisticated, refined and nuanced.  Firmly committed to providing contextual references, we hope we might steer today’s lutenists away from their classical guitarist roots […]

June 23, 2012

Saturday morning quotes 2.5: Context

Context is everything.  When interpreting, or even writing about historical music, we run into archaic word meanings that seem obscure and can tend to mislead the modern listener.  This means the effective interpreter has to work doubly hard to convey the original sense of the archaic meaning to modern audiences in an accessible manner, respecting […]

June 25, 2022

Saturday morning quotes 8.45: Plainchant

We are very pleased to announce the release of Donna Stewart’s second album of solo plainchant, Veni, Sancte Spiritus. The album is available for streaming at the usual sites, and CDs will be available on our website by mid-July. “Plainchant is liturgical music, music to be performed during the celebration of a divine service…Practically the […]

June 11, 2022

Saturday morning quotes 8.44: A novel idea

This is just a short post to feature an interesting article that reflects a bit of our own philosophy in approaching performance of early music. Those familiar with Mignarda’s music understand that our interpretations are quite different compared to most other early music professionals. While we keep up with current (useful) academic research, our approach […]

March 26, 2022

Saturday morning quotes 8.38: Revisionism

“Keepers of books—collectors and librarians—prefer to buy books in good condition, rather than well-worn, heavily marked-up exemplars. On top of this is the seemingly banal fact that the least-used books survive the longest.” – Susan Forscher Weiss, “Vandals, Students, or Scholars? Handwritten Clues in Renaissance Music Textbooks”, in  Music Education in the Middle Ages and […]

February 12, 2022

Saturday morning quotes 8.35: Character study

“The lute is a modest interpreter of our thoughts and passions to those that understand the language. One may tell another by the help of it what he hath in his heart. We may express upon it choler, pity, hatred, scorn, love, grief, joy; we may give hope and despair…[For] those that have the grace […]

January 15, 2022

Saturday morning quotes 8.33: Plague & Justice

We check in with the voluminous writings of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469 – 1527), famous poet and astute advisor to the ambitious and powerful over the past 500 years. Machiavelli was also the lyricist for one of our favorite madrigals by Philippe Verdelot (c. 1480 – 1530) which was arranged for solo voice and lute by […]