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Texas Early Music Project
2905 San Gabriel Suite 204 
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 377-6961

For ticket and concert venue inquiries, email the Box Office

2905 San Gabriel Suite 204
Austin, TX 78705
USA

(512) 377-6961

Founded in 1987 by Daniel Johnson, the Texas Early Music Project is dedicated to preserving and advancing the art of Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical music through performance, recordings, and educational outreach. 

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Explore more than 700 years of musical transformation

12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 12

Danny Johnson

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DAY 12 TREAT (DEC. 12, 2014):

And here we are: It’s the 12th day. It’s time to talk about the Lady Greensleeves, who was 49th cousin to the beloved Mr. Green Jeans from “Captain Kangaroo.” Raise your hands if you remember Captain Kangaroo.

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The earliest source of the song was a broadside ballad by Richard Jones in 1580; several more versions appeared shortly, with variants of title and text. There are references to the song in Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and by the end of the 17th century, the song had developed many variants in melody, harmony, and meter in versions by William Cobbold and John Playford. Of course, the more popular version for Christmas is “What Child is This” with lyrics by William Dix written around 1865. The version we use is The old yeare now away is fled from the mid-17th century.

There are modern versions/variations by performers as varied as Jacques Brel, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Presley, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and…well, lots more.

And it’s concert time. In a few hours. Today.
An Early Christmas in Europe.


This 12 Days of Christmas factoid-per-day thing has been fun. Please join us for our next installments: the 44 Days of Super Bowl, the 185 Days of SXSW, and the 21 Days of Halloween.

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 11

Danny Johnson

DAY 11 TREAT (DEC. 11, 2014):

All hail to the days that merit more praise
Than all the rest of the year…

Loreena McKennitt sings it; and it’s on virtually every Anglophile Christmas or Solstice or Winter-related recording. I know of no reason we shouldn’t do it also! This traditional tune, first known as “When Phoebus did rest,” was set and arranged by John Playford for his country dance primer, The English Dancing Master, in 1651. Related versions of it are also found in the Samuel Pepys’s collection of broadsides under the title “A pleasant Countrey new ditty: Merrily shewing how To drive the cold winter away” and a version is also found in Thomas d'Urfey’s “Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy.” It remains one of the more popular English ballads in its several incarnations.

Considering where we live, I for one am not so eager to drive the cold winter away, though I don’t have to deal with 6-foot snow-storms, either. At any rate, it’s a great song, David Lopez sounds wonderful in his solo verse, and evocative visions of hot chocolate and hot cider and maybe a hot toddy or two prevail!

Drive the Cold Winter Away, just not too quickly, ok?
An Early Christmas in Europe. In 2 Days. In Austin. It’s 63°F.

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 10

Danny Johnson

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DAY 10 TREAT (DEC. 10, 2014):

It’s the Christmas season, and yet I’m a mean, mean man. Or at least a mean, mean maestro.

I’m making the singers perform in all these languages for the Christmas concert: Medieval French Latin, pre-vowel shift 14th-century English, Renaissance Spanish, 17th-century German Latin, 17th-century French, 17th-century Dutch & Flemish, Italian Latin, Gaelic, and even some English.

I'm getting coal from Santa, I just know it.
An Early Christmas in Yurp in 3 Days.

 

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 9

Danny Johnson

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DAY 9 TREAT (DEC. 9, 2014):

During our Christmas concert, you might find yourself thinking, “Oh, that’s ‘He shall feed His flock’ from Messiah,” and you would be sorta right. Quando nascete ninno is one of the many songs that peasant bagpipers from the mountains played in the streets of Naples and other cities during the days before Christmas; it is thought that the young George Frideric Handel heard this during his time in Italy in 1707–1709. But don’t worry, it won't be leading into a full‑blown Messiah concert for Baroque flute and bray harp, though that would be interesting...

 An Early Christmas in Europe in 4 Days • BYO Bagpipe.

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Days 7 & 8

Danny Johnson

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DAY 7 TREAT (DEC. 7, 2014):

Christmas in Killarney

This year we'll have Dennis Day and the Jack Benny Orchestra joining us for ... wait, what's that? 

Oh, sorry, the TEMP Board tells me its not to be. Instead, just one of the pieces we have representing Ireland is Ye sons of men, which has become one of the mainstays of the TEMP Christmas concerts. Like most of the traditional pieces, its origins are murky. 

The poem comes from Father William Devereuxs collection of texts from 1728; the tune is probably traditional; at any rate, it was usually sung during the main mass on Christmas Day. The tradition was passed down through the Devereux family, and was transcribed from a 1980 recording sung  by Jack Devereux, who was then 80 years old. 

Its an amazing tradition and an amazing piece.

6 more days. Be there or be on the next boat to Killarney.

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DAY 8 TREAT (DEC. 8, 2014):

For this year’s Christmas concert, we’re performing an a cappella choral work for 8 parts by a composer who is new to us. Giovanni Bassano (c. 1558-1617) was the nephew of the famous Bassano family who moved from Venice to London to be musicians in the court of Henry VIII. I had been aware of him as one of the most famous cornettists in Italy and through his books detailing ornamentation and theory—references I've used in teaching Italian performance practice.

It turns out that he was also a fine composer, and we’re performing his double choir motet Angelus ad pastores in just a few days!

But: the real reason I’m telling you this is because our September performance of La Pellegrina brought a lot of new patrons to us. One of those new patrons is a member of the Bassano family, and still has ties to Italy.

It's a small world!

An Early Christmas in Europe. In 5 Days.
Be there or be on a gondola to Killarney since you missed the last trains to Venice and Clarksville. 

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 6

Danny Johnson

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DAY 6 TREAT (DEC. 6, 2014):

It's the 6th Day. Must be time for French music. Let’s consult The New Oxford Book of Carols, shall we?

Words and languages change. In the late Middle Ages, nouvel an indicated the New Year, the time when carols were most usually sung. That phrase became corrupted to nouel and by the 16th century to noël, and the current use of a noël as a Christmas song was established. Nouvelet can mean both ‘news’ and ‘newness.’

Noël nouvelet, meaning a newly made song for both the New Year and the newly born infant-King, will be performed in 7 days.

That’s all the nouvelet for now. Good night and good luck.
TEMP: An Early Christmas in Europe

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Day 5

Danny Johnson

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DAY 5 TREAT (DEC. 5, 2014):

It’s the 5th Day so this must be about rings. Let’s see: Three rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, seven for the Dwarf-lords…oh wait, that’s a completely different carol.

On the second day [Dec 2] we talked about Falalalanlera and today we’ll return to the concert’s Spanish repertoire. Riu, riu, chiu is based on the traditional call of Spanish shepherds and, like Falalalanlera, has a secular version as well. I recall working on this when I was in the 7th grade at Goliad Jr. High in Big Spring. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who learned it at a young age. Remember The Monkees? Yes, it’s true! Just watch YouTube below. The harmonies are a little different, but it’s really sweet!

See ya. Eight days to go. Eight rings to … oh, no, wrong carol again.
TEMP: An Early Christmas in Europe • Be there or be on the last train to Clarksville

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12 Days of TEMP Christmas: Days 3 & 4

Danny Johnson

DAY 3 TREAT (DEC. 3, 2014):

Alright, hands up! How many remember Gaudete, the wonderfully gnarly and spirited version that the British folk-rock group Steeleye Span recorded in the 70s? Yes, their pronunciation left choral conductors and educators a little, um, exasperated, but it was mind-bending and really crossed all sorts of cultural lines. TEMP is performing it for the first time at this year’s Christmas concert. I can’t wait! Though the pronunciation will be more in line with historically informed performance, it will still be spirited and raucous.

An Early Christmas in Europe in 10 days. Except we’ll be in Austin.

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DAY 4 TREAT (DEC. 4, 2014):

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Our guest harpist, Therese Honey—the fabulous Therese Honey—is playing Nos galan in our Christmas concert. Great, one might think. What the heck is that? 

It possibly originated in Wales in the 16th century, but there are no remnants of the Welsh version of the words. The tune was first printed in 1784 and then became a Welsh folk carol for the New Year. The one they call “Haydn” included the melody in a vocal/piano piece, though it might have been written by one of his students.

The lyrics as we know them were first published in New York in 1881 and really have nothing to do with the original carol. Yes, it’s “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly” but, since it’s a flashy harp solo with amazing variations, there will be no falalalalalalalas heard.

That is all. As you were. See you in 9-11 days, depending on which concert you come to!

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