Day 1 treat (Dec. 1, 2014):
This year’s Christmas concert will include an excerpt from the opening scenes of the 12th century “Play of Herod.” I can still recall the way I felt when I first performed it with the NY Ensemble for Early Music at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in 1988. The performance venue was a historically old church with little or no AC; it was a very hot day on our premiere, and with the stage lighting it was 109°F on stage. Add to that the layers of costuming we all had, and it was downright dangerously hot for the performers. They provided a little relief for subsequent performances. The other thing I recall is that, since we were supposed to perform the parts of shepherds as well as the ‘innocents’ to be massacred at the end of the show, I was instructed to shave my beard for the show, and so I did, for the first time in about 18 years. When I showed up in NY for the first rehearsal, they were all amazed that I had actually done it because—get this—I had to then wear a fake beard for the first part of the show when I was a shepherd.
TEMP audiences: don’t fear! We promise it won’t be 109°F in the venues for the concerts and we promise that no beards will be shaven for these performances.
Join us for An Early Christmas in Europe in 12 days!
Day 2 treat (Dec. 2, 2014):
TEMP audiences who attended our Madrigal Mystery Tour concert might recall that we assiduously avoided ‘fa-la-la’ sections. The upcoming TEMP Christmas concert includes a piece that is about as close to a ‘fa-la-la’ as we’ll get this year. Falalalanlera is a 16th-c. Spanish piece that comes in two versions: a secular one that is *maybe* by Mateo Flecha and a sacred one that is *probably* by Bartomeo Cárceres. Both versions were published in different collections a few years apart, in the mid-16th century. *BUT* that’s not the important part: I was introduced to it by Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras at the Hesperion XX workshop in Austin in 1984—holy cow, that was 30 years ago—and I still recall Montserrat dancing in her chair while we students rehearsed it for the concert. The refrain is infectious and fun and she was not shy about letting us know that it made her happy and it made Jordi happy and, man, did that make us happy! Let us try it out on you!
Texas Early Music Project: An Early Christmas in Europe.
In 11 days!