Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

Are You Into ‘Early Music?’

posted by chattering mind

If you love the religious passion of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods of Western music as much as I do, you are a lover of what’s called “Early Music.” And depending upon whom you talk to, the music of George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) is considered to fall at the tail end of the Early Music period. One of my favorite ballets, “L’Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato,” a creation of the modern choreographer Mark Morris, was set to Handel’s music. The juxtaposition of the oratorio sound with bright color and contemporary movement is astonishing. The old becomes new.

I’ve recently found two great resources that can educate you as an Early Music consumer, and assist you in deciding what to buy. Lord knows, there’s lots to study; it’s really a full-time job! Here’s an Early Music radio station that features all manner of lovely selections, and here’s a site I spied advertised in the book review of the New York Times last week. It has some free downloads, though you have to pay for others.

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posted June 24, 2006 at 4:20 am

I like the group Anonymous 4 for my early music. The four women sing 13th century medieval music and the like. It’s great for relaxing or if you need a shift in consciousness.>

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posted June 24, 2006 at 8:59 pm

I’m so happy to hear that someone else (Kathy) also appreciates Anonymous 4; 1000: A Mass for the End of Time is my player right now. I also enjoy Beneventan Chants from the 11th century and the Monastic Choir of St. Peter’s Abbey, Solesmes, particularly Christ in Gethsemane. Both put me in a place I can best describe as transcendent. Since I usually feel overwhelmed by all the choices in classical music, I often rely on library specialists to guide me. I’m blessed to live in a city with multiple university libraries and a strong Public Library system, so there’s plenty from which to choose. The Early Music Studio is a nice complement to this listening and learning.>

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posted June 24, 2006 at 11:54 pm

I have the above mentioned Mass and also The Origin of Fire: Music & Visions of Hildegard von Bingen and also American Angels, which is traditional hymns. One day while my beagle and I were relaxing/meditating to Anonymous 4, I heard a big thud. When I opened my eyes I just say two sleepy, befuddled beagle eyes peering over the top of the bed. He had gotten so relaxed, he rolled right off the bed!>

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posted June 25, 2006 at 3:31 pm

NPR carries a wonderful early-music radio program from the University of Indiana, called “Harmonia”; it has been running for several years, and the archived shows can be heard online here: “>>

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posted June 25, 2006 at 7:19 pm

Erik, thank you for the link to Harmonia. I even found an archived show entitled “What is Early Music?” from 5-26-05. I’m eager to listen! Kathy, we must be sharing the same brain; Hildegard von Bingen, and Origin of Fire is another favorite of mine. I’m eager to hear Anonymous 4 break out of their mold, if indeed that’s what American Angels does. I’ll check it out and thank you for the lead.>

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posted June 26, 2006 at 5:57 am

If you want to hear Anonymous 4 “out of the mold”, check out the absolutely amazing recording of Richard Einhorn’s oratorio “Voices of Light.>

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posted June 26, 2006 at 7:34 pm

I haven’t listened for a while but I’ll segue from my Celtic chants into the early music thanks to you bringing it up and the letters of your readers who seem to be a well of inspiration and knowledge. Thanks so much and keep up the good work.MS>

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posted June 30, 2006 at 1:46 am

So, do I say thank you or help? Following Erik’s recommendation, I’ve been listening to Richard Einhorn’s “Voices of Light” which I believe was created to demonstrate how inadequate words are to describe it. It’s extraordinary (and also good for ignoring your family, work, and “to do” list.) I wish I could mandate that everyone listen to it. It’s that good. Even the liner notes are amazing. (Einhorn started composing at 15!) And I’m just getting started; this strikes me as music I’ll be listening to forever.>

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