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

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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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Blog

Explore more than 700 years of musical transformation

And then after the opera, TEMP Goes to the Blanton!

Danny Johnson

When: Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, at 5:30pm
Where: Blanton Museum of Art, UT Austin
             200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.,
             Austin, Texas 78701
Admission: FREE!

Paid parking is available in the Brazos Garage on Brazos Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Parking is $4, bring your ticket with you to the museum.

The Blanton Museum of Art's Beat the Rush is a series of gallery concerts in which musicians perform in response to the paintings, drawings, and sculptures on display. This month, Texas Early Music Project presents a program of music from and about 12th- and 13th-century Europe, in conjunction with the Blanton's exhibition The Crusader Bible. An ensemble of vocalists and musicians performing on instruments from the time period (vielle, rebec, harp, gittern, psaltery, and percussion) will perform troubadour works from southern France and trouvère songs from northern France (including one written by Richard the Lionheart after he was kidnapped while returning home from the Third Crusade) as well as music from northern Iberia, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and the original Carmina Burana manuscript.

Codex Buranus ("Songs of Benediktbeuern"), f94.

Codex Buranus ("Songs of Benediktbeuern"), f94.

Enjoy these audio teasers from our newest CD, Unrequited Love: Troubadours of France & Spain:

For more information, visit the Blanton Third Thursday page and the Crusader Bible page.

Y'all come!
-Danny

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On the 50th Day of Christmas my true love gave me ...

Danny Johnson

An opera for St. Valentine's weekend!

 
Image: A promotional graphic for Dido & Aeneas, courtesy of SDSU Opera.

Image: A promotional graphic for Dido & Aeneas, courtesy of SDSU Opera.

 

And it's not just any opera; it's created (by Purcell, et al.) for 17th-century England and then re-purposed for you! You'll understand when you see it. Meredith (Ruduski) is the producer (and one of the six singers) and we have been planning a lovely and loving tribute to Purcell's music in a very non-intimidating manner. 

We hope you had a sweet, lively, restful, meaningful, I-just-want-some-time-off, tasty, football-filled (or not), Force-filled (or not) musical, let's-get-on-with-the new-year-already, enchanting Holiday season, no matter what you call it!

Thank you for your support with those end-of-year donations! You keep us going, you know!

Here is more news about the February opera!

-Danny

 
 

London City Limits: Opera on the Thames

Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 8PM
&
Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 3PM
Both at First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive

Admission $30 general; $25 seniors (60+); $5 students (at the door only)
Tickets available in advance online or by cash, check, or credit card at the door.

For more information, call 512-377-6961 and leave a message,
or email info@early-music.org.

The next stop on our Eurotour includes the stages and opera houses of 17th-century London as we pay homage to Henry Purcell, one of the most important composers in the history of music, with a comedic-yet-tragic, dramatic-yet-hilarious pastiche of beautiful Purcellian operas as well as some extraordinary gems from his predecessors Robert Johnson and Nicholas Lanier, who were pivotal composers in the earlier 17th century. Our tale, which will surely touch both your heart and your funny-bone, will be performed by a small period orchestra and six of TEMP's acclaimed soloists.

The best opera tells a story that is, if not totally (or even the slightest bit) believable, at least is one that we can connect with—either through the characters or the music. With this in mind, we weave a plot around music from Purcell’s operas The Fairy Queen, King Arthur, Dido & Aeneas, The Tempest, and some of his songs and dialogues. Our lively, witty, and loving pastiche of beautiful music contains some of the most popular and should-be-popular works from the world of early Baroque opera.

Some of the leading lights of early music, rising stars from New York Peter Walker (baritone) and renowned countertenor Ryland Angel, join TEMP core members Jenifer Thyssen & Meredith Ruduski (sopranos), tenor Jeffrey Jones-Ragona, and baritone Brett Barnes for this unique production. Violinists Stephanie Raby, Bruce Colson, violist Bruce Williams, Jane Leggiero (cello), Scott Horton (theorbo), and Austin Baroque Orchestra director Billy Traylor (harpsichord) comprise the period orchestra.

As an early Valentine present, treat yourself and your sweetie(s) to the beauty, brilliance, and passion of some of the most accessible opera excerpts in an intimate setting. We’ll tell a story that will warm your heart, make you laugh, and put your toes to tapping. The passion! The jealousy! The love! Will there be a happy ending? We aren’t sure, but there will be no recitatives and there will be super-titles!

For more information, call 512-377-6961 and leave a message, or email info@early-music.org.

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On the 12th Day of Christmas: Parting is such sweet sorrow; time for hot chocolate!

Danny Johnson

 
 

A Loth to depart was the common term for a song sung, or a tune played, on taking leave of friends in Elizabethan times. The popular tune, of unknown origin, was treated to a number of settings, both vocal and instrumental, and the tune and text were referred to in a number of plays in the 17th century. In modern times, the New York-based early music group Ex Umbris sang an arrangement of Loath to depart by Grant Herreid at the end of their performances. Our friend and colleague Tom Zajac was a co-founder of Ex Umbris; about thirty musicians and two hundred congregants sang and played Loath to depart for Tom at his memorial service in New York City, November 6, 2015. We are including Loath to depart near the end of the concert as a tribute to Tom and also as a reminder that we love the Christmas concert and are loath that it's coming to a close!

c. 1600 Cambridge University MS Dd.2.11 fol 9 (lute tab).

c. 1600 Cambridge University MS Dd.2.11 fol 9 (lute tab).

Sing with thy mouth, sing with thy heart,
Like faithful friends, sing Loath to depart;
Though friends together may not always remain,
Yet Loath to depart sing once again.

And, I’m loath to say, we are the end of our 12 Days of Christmas factoid per day thing; it has been fun. We think you’ll enjoy the concerts even more, of course.

Please join us at An Early Christmas. www.early-music.org

Click to buy tickets to our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

Click to buy tickets to our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

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On the 11th Day of Early Christmas: A Favorite Through the Centuries

Danny Johnson

 
 

And here we are: It’s time to talk about the Lady Greensleeves, beloved cousin to the beloved Mr. Green Jeans, from “Captain Kangaroo.” They made popular the immortal hit, It’s not easy being green. Raise your hands if you believe this.

The earliest source of the song we know as Greensleeves 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, John Playford, and others. Of course, the popular version for Christmas is What Child is This with lyrics by William Dix written around 1865. Our version is based around the mid-17th century version, The old yeare now away is fled and variations by Playford and Cobbold. Here is a excerpt of the song from our CD Stella splenends: An Early Music Christmas:

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

An Early Christmas in 2 days. In Austin.
Alas, my love: Be there!

Click to buy tickets for our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

Click to buy tickets for our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

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On the Tenth Day of Early Christmas We Went to Ireland Again. A Little.

Danny Johnson

 
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This has become one of the most popular of the pieces we do an a regular basis; we haven’t done it since 2013 so here it comes again with slightly newly arranged parts…

It is known as The Enniscorthy Christmas Carol to much of the world except that when it was first printed in the Oxford Book of Carols in 1928 it was called The Wexford Carol. Things get really confusing in the world of traditional / aurally transmitted music sometimes. (Shhh. It might also be that the text is of English origin; I think I would be careful where I spread such rumors, though.) The melody is indeed of traditional Irish origin and is probably not very old: mid-19th century, maybe? Our arrangement goes through stages: from quietly meditative to a sort of early 19th century string quartet / or trio with voice style  to a reel with harp, flute, mandolin, violin, continuo, and voice. Really fun.

But the real reason we’re talking about this today is that I first arranged it in 2010 for Cayla Cardiff to sing and, man, does she ever sing the ifreann out of it! Here's a teaser audio from our CD Swete was the Songe:

As coincidence would have it, today is Cayla's birthday! Wish her  Lá breithe shona duit and come hear her sing!

In 3 more days. TEMP: An Early Christmas.

Click to buy tickets to our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

Click to buy tickets to our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

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On the 9th Day of Early Christmas my Director Gave to Meee: A Weather Forecast?

Danny Johnson

 
 

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 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 d'Urfey's multi-volume set Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy. It remains one of the more popular English ballads in its several incarnations.

December is seene apparel’d in greene
And January, fresh as May…

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 (listen to the audio teaser below!), the choral parts are fresh, playful, and a little innovative, and evocative visions of hot chocolate and hot cider and maybe a hot toddy or two prevail!

The old and young doth carol this song,
To drive the cold winter away.

This song is also available on our CD Swete was the Songe: An Early Music Christmas in Northern Europe and the British Isles.

Drive the Cold Winter Away, just not too quickly, ok?

TEMP: An Early Christmas. In 4 Days.

It’s still early in the week, but the Friday forecast is 79F. In Austin. We must have some cold winter before we can drive it away, no? 

Click to buy tickets for our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

Click to buy tickets for our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

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On the 8th Day of Early Christmas I Was Wondering Where This 12 Day Thing Started!

Danny Johnson

 
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Seriously. When did this start? Was it the original Black Friday, but a more sophisticated 12 days than 28 - 29 or so? They (“they” being the interwebs) say it might be a derivative of a French folk song—name & date unknown—but The Twelve Days of Christmas was published in London around 1780 in a children's book, Mirth without Mischief. There have been several versions through the centuries, but the version we are used to is the 1909 arrangement by English composer Frederic Austin, which has had a few variations, too. Like most counting songs, this one gets more difficult to keep track of, especially if you’re partying hardy. No, TEMP is not performing this on a Christmas concert. I just thought that we should get to the bottom of this burning question. 

Those of a certain age surely remember Alvin and the Chipmunks version. I know, I'm sorry I brought it up. 

Tomorrow. More.

TEMP: An Early Christmas in 5 Days. Be wise, guys:
get your 8 tix in advance at early-music.org and
be sure to buy 9 TEMP cds at the concerts.
That’s it, I’m out of numbers. 

Click to buy tickets for our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

Click to buy tickets for our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

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On the 7th Day of Christmas We Had some News about News of the French Carol Sort!

Danny Johnson

 
 

It's the 7th Day, so it must be time for French music. Let’s consult the New Oxford Book of Carols, my favorite reference book from late October through early December!

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. Our a cappella arrangement for 4 parts (sung by women) has been a fave for the last 6 or 7 years, even though there are often a few little tweaks from year to year. I’m not sure if the audients hear the changes but the performers do! Here's an audio teaser from our CD Stella splendens: An Early Music Christmas:

That’s all the nouvelet for now. Good night, and good luck.

TEMP: An Early Christmas in 6 Days.
Be wise, guys: get your tix in advance
at early-music.org

Click to buy tickets for our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

Click to buy tickets for our Christmas concerts on Dec. 11, 12, & 13!

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