Sunday, December 10, 2006

Early Music for the Ear

Sting has discovered early music.

Having teamed up with Serbian lute master Edin Karamazov, he has brought to the public a new interpretation of early music bard(and Catholic recusant) John Dowland. His take is certainly different than classical artists' interpretations, and to this point having only heard classically-trained singers interpret Dowland I am unsure what to make of his pop artist voice in a Renaissance mode. Yet from listening to his Come Again, I have to say that his approach works in its own way.

I applaud the man for making such an unusual creative effort, and I will make sure to get a copy of Songs from the Labyrinth.

His other YouTube offering, La Rossignol, is purely instrumental, and with the aid Karamazov it is a very fine performance. It recalls the version of the song played by the Martin Best Consort in Forgotten Provence, a wonderful re-creation of Troubadour music.

While browsing videos to find any other Early Musicians, I found one performance of one of Michael Praetorius' less energetic pieces. Praetorius collected music in vogue during the Seventeenth Century, and his Terpsichore collection contains several lively dances from this time.

Of course, this review of my early music favorites would be especially incomplete at this time of the year without mentioning The Carol Album, a fine set of Christendom Christmas traditionals, including an Old English carol and the original setting of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," whose tune differed from our contemporary version.

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