Ancient Music

I watch a fair number of documentaries about ‘ancient’ cultures & often wonder what sort of music did they have? For some, all we know is the instruments they played,  as there was no notational system for writing music – it was an ‘oral’ tradition. I’m always amused by the music that gets played by court orchestras in movies about ancient Greece or Egypt. A modern sense of harmonics is imposed – this could be right. On this mp3 cd collection I have – Atrium Musica de Madrid’s Ancient Greek Music – ignores that modernizing & with an fun raucous approximation that feels close to authentic. Plucked lyres, discordant choirs & ragged percussion. More punk dissonance than movie soundtrack sweet. 

Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377) French ars nova style in Medieval music. We have his music thanks to his own involvement in his manuscripts’ creation and preservation.  Sacred & Secular Music – Messes de Notre Dame; Le Jugement du Roi – an early hint of opera as a partially narrated but mostly sung dialogue between characters. I enjoy Medieval music – this is a good recording by the Ensemble Gilles Binchois  though the narrated portions of du Roi are much quieter than the sung parts.

The Baltimore Consort: The Food of Love – Songs, Dances, & Fancies for Shakespeare; &, The Musica Antiqua: A Cheerful Noise – Medieval And Early Renaissance Music – are both the music of the people – not sacred but what was sung in pubs, by travelling bards & was, I suppose, the pop music of their times. Songs about harvest, courting & valour. Though I do find these to be a little too ‘tidy’ – the voices are trained not average folk carousing cheerfully.

Finally on this cd is the Kyiv Chamber Choir: The Masterpieces of Ukrainian Choral Music – Medieval, Baroque, Classical, Romantic periods. Stunning harmonies, transcendent & one doesn’t need to know the language to be lifted by the spiritual seeking in some of these songs. 

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Locatelli Lully Plus

On my classical shelf  are three cds of lps to cd transfers all from MHS recordings. The first of which is Jan of Lublin: Tablature and Introduction to Medieval  & Renaissance Music. For decades I thought Lublin was the composer’s last name, but it where he is from. These are transcriptions from organ music to guitar. I don’t have my original lp so have no idea who did these transcriptions or who is playing the guitar. I didn’t realize these were originally organ music until I tried to get more & all I could find where organ pieces – even then they were scattered. There was no one lp of the organ music.

Jan is a renaissance composer & I first heard a piece  of his on the MHS compilation Introduction to Medieval  & Renaissance Music. I love these Introduction lps for the range and quality of the music. All selected from MHS releases – so it was easy to track down the Lublin. Good luck on finding these transcription but they are well worth having.

Another composer I first heard on an MHS compilation was Pietro Locatelli. here I have his music for  Flute and Guitar; Two Violins; Oboe and Guitar; Two Flutes; along with Johan Stamitz’s Flute Concerto. I love Renaissance flute music and these two composers wrote delightful, playful and sometime relaxing chamber music. The Locatelli was intended for living room entrainment in which the children would play his music. Life before radio.


The last is a pair of Baroque composers together on a cd of MHS lps: Jean-Baptiste Lully: Suites; Georg Philipp Telemann: Flute Trios. Lully was a French court composer & his music is sweet, a bit busy but charming. He also wrote a few operas that are still performed today. Telemann was a German court composer. Here I have a sonata of his flute trios which are soothing & also charming. I have more  Telemann but that can wait until I get to ’t.’

Just Start

‘I’ll start by explaining ….’

‘Why don’t you just say what you are going to say. Don’t explain it to me. just start.’

‘Yes, but …’

‘Just start and once you’ve done you can explain, if I don’t get it. Okay.’

Dave had an address to give the local PTA. Not often were gay fathers asked to address anyone expect lawyers and case workers, so he was rather nervous.

‘Ahem,’ he gave a little cough. ‘ Do you think this is what I should wear?’

‘Bad start, Dave. Don’t ask these parents what you should wear.’

‘Steve, that is not the start of my talk. I was asking you, if you thought this is what I should wear.’

White shirt, unbuttoned at the collar, black dress pants, black loafers. Neat and tidy.

‘I don’t know.’

‘What do you mean?’ He looked himself up and down.

‘Let’s see your undies. You can’t do this in those …’

‘You want to heard how I sound or what.’

‘Of course. I think you are worrying way too much. Those that get it will, and those that don’t, will never get it. It won’t matter how conservative you dress, how polished or even-handed you sound they’ll stop hearing you after you say homosexual or gay. So let’s hear it …’

‘Ahem,’ another throat cleaning. ‘I’m David Bradly and both my son and daughter are in classes at this school. Jan is in third grade and Cliff in sixth grade. They’ve both been here at Cedar Grove Public school for the past two years. …. Good so far?’

‘Yes. Go on.’

‘Do you think I need to tell them more, like how we came to move here, as opposed to staying in LA or …’

‘Yes, and while you are it, you might bring an overhead projection of our financial portfolio and notarized copies of our bank statements, as well.’

‘No, I just mean, I don’t want them to think we dropped in here out of the blue to invade their community.’

‘Dave, you know very well we aren’t the only gay couple in Cedar Grove.’

‘We aren’t?’

‘If you’d stop trying to fit us in like a normal hetero couple, you may have noticed. There’s the two women over on Green Crescent.’

‘Yes, but they don’t have any kids in this school. Do they?’

‘No. But one of them is on the town council.’
November 1 -30

November 15: Hot Damn! It’s a Queer Slam – 8p.m. – Buddies In Bad Time Theatre, Toronto

every Tuesday

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. 

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