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Texas Early Music Project
13915 Burnet Road, Suite 402 
Austin, TX 78728
(512) 377-6961

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13915 Burnet Road, Suite 402
Austin, TX 78728
United States

(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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Filtering by Tag: Danny Johnson

Saint Nick & the Reindeer Games

Danny Johnson

A shout out to  shoeboxblog.com  for the reindeer humor!

A shout out to shoeboxblog.com for the reindeer humor!

I am actually happy Meredith didn't ask me what my favorite reindeer games were. (See Meredith's TEMP Holiday Interview!) I've kept it a secret all my life. But since you're wondering now, I'll tell ya: Cupid & Casper skydiving from Santa's sled at 35,000 feet and playing havoc with Norad / UFO watchers all over the world! Donner, Dancer, and Sneezy playing sky frisbee with errant toy drones and making goofy faces at the cameras all the while! Rudolph and Snoopy sneaking into the movies on Christmas Day for a much deserved day off. 

Ok, that's all I got. Now everyone knows. But seriously, check out Meredith's interviews with Scott, Therese, and Jenny and check out the concert listing below! We hope to see you there!

-Danny

 
 

An Early Christmas

8pm, Friday, December 11, 2015
First English Lutheran Church, 3001 Whitis Ave., Austin, TX

 8pm, Saturday, December 12, 2015
First English Lutheran Church, 3001 Whitis Ave., Austin, TX 

3pm, Sunday, December 13, 2015
First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX

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.

It’s time for another Early Christmas! The TEMP Eurotour continues as we explore music and the intangible essence of Christmas from the cultural capitals of Europe from the 13th through 18th centuries. TEMP puts its unique stamp on joyful chants, carols, lullabies, motets, and ballads from Western Europe and the British Isles, where many of the musical traditions we hold dear at Christmastime originated, with innovative arrangements for solo voices, small chorus, harp, violin, flute, mandolin, viols, and lute.

The familiar theme of the Nativity from the shepherds’ perspective, including their wondrous and terrifying experience with the angelic host and their subsequent gathering around the manger to adore the Christ-Child, figures prominently in most early music Christmas repertoire. We will present several works with this focus, including our original arrangement combining elements of two Nativity pastorals from 1684 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier with soloists (Jenifer Thyssen & Meredith Ruduski) and choir with orchestra. Charpentier had a particular ease and love of this repertoire and the results are ravishingly beautiful. 

The theme of the Mother and Child is especially poignant, of course; among the Medieval pieces on the concert, one popular gem is Lullay, lullay: Als I lay on Yoolis night. Its transparent texture and gentle pacing makes the conversation between Mother Mary and the Christ-Child extremely touching, heightened by the polyphony of the choir of angels witnessing the event. Listen to this excerpt from the CD Noël: An Early Christmas:

The popular tune In dulci jubilo, which has origins in the 14th century, went through many variations and revisions in the next 300 years before it became the modern carol Good Christian men, rejoice. We will present a seamless suite with settings by the German composers Michael Praetorius, Hieronymous Praetorius, and Dieterich Buxtehude for 2, 3, 4, & 8 parts. Listen to this excerpt from the CD Swete was the Songe: An Early Music Christmas in Northern Europe & the British Isles:

Motets by Sweelinck and Victoria, and lively works from Spain and France round out our Eurotour before we turn our sights to the west: Our Christmas concerts are never complete without a little taste of Celtic and English influences! Our popular versions of the Christ-Child Lullaby (with its Scots Gaelic solo by Jenifer Thyssen and audience participation) and The Wexford Carol (Cayla Cardiff, soloist) and more are in the program this year, as well as other favorites from the Celtic traditions, including a few sung by the popular Irish Gaelic singer Abby Green. We are again proud to feature nationally acclaimed historical harpist Therese Honey along with featured soloists Jenifer Thyssen, Stephanie Prewitt, Meredith Ruduski, Jenny Houghton, Cayla Cardiff, David Lopez, Brett Barnes, and Daniel Johnson. Our instrumental soloists include Bruce Colson (violin), John Walters and Jane Leggiero (viols), Marcus McGuff (flute), Susan Richter (recorders), and Scott Horton (lutes). 

 Join Texas Early Music Project for a splendid and enriching evening of music.
Encompassing six hundred years of festive creativity and beauty, this music is
sure to delight your ears and warm your heart.


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On the road againnnn, from Compostela to College Stationnnnn

Danny Johnson

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And I'm glad we aren't on the road *this* weekend! Really? The strongest storm in history in the Western Hemisphere? Yikes! I hope it doesn't live up to its description ... At any rate, even though we're still dealing with earworms from the Medieval Pilgrimage concert, we are preparing for our annual (since 2010) pilgrimage to St. Thomas Episcopal Church in College Station to present a shorter version of September's popular concertConvivencia Re-Envisioned: The Three Worlds of Renaissance Spain. If you're in the vicinity and want to re-visit the concert or if you missed it the first time around, then check out the info below and come see us!  Or you could recommend it to your friends in College Station and environs.... News about the Christmas concert is coming up ... 

–Danny

Convivencia Re-Envisioned: The Three Worlds of Renaissance Spain

Sunday, November 8, 2015, 6:30 p.m.

St. Thomas Episcopal Church
906 George Bush Drive, College Station

Please join us for a concert that explores and celebrates the musical relationships among the three great cultures—Muslim, Jewish, and Christian—that co-existed peacefully on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. Islamic Spain during these times was an extraordinarily tolerant culture in which learning was prized. In the library of the caliph of Cordoba were at least 40,000 books; most Western monasteries were fortunate to have 400, or even 40! Many works on mathematics, astronomy, physics, and medicine had been translated from Greek, Persian and Hindu sources into Arabic, and these books were, during this time, being translated from Arabic into Latin through the combined efforts of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian scholars. Co-operation, Tolerance, Co-existence, Mutual Respect: These were the hallmarks of this extraordinary time. This year marks the fourteenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, and since that time we have experienced the brutality of the Islamic State, the horrors of the civil war in Syria, and, in our own country, Ferguson, Baltimore, Charleston, and more. The need for true Convivencia is greater than ever; these are qualities much needed in our own day.

This concert will feature Sephardic and Middle-Eastern songs and dances, along with 16th-century Spanish polyphony for voices and instruments, focusing on the intersecting issues of life among these three cultures: Love, dance, food and drink, dreams, secrets and prayers. Featured performers include santur and oud player Kamran Hooshmand (Iran), harpist Therese Honey (Houston), outstanding instrumentalists on psaltery, viols, Renaissance guitar, and other instruments of the period, and outstanding singers. The award-winning Texas Early Music Project is under the direction of Founder and Artistic Director Daniel Johnson. The concert will be followed by a Reception in the Parish Hall.

This concert is supported in part by generous grants from the Gilbert and Thyra Plass Arts Foundation and the Joe and Florence Ham Charitable Trust.

Tickets $10/$5 students, at the Door

For more information, please contact Bonnie Harris-ReynoldsOrganist & Music Director, St. Thomas Episcopal Church

St. Thomas: music@stthomasbcs.org
Phone: (979) 696-1726 or (979) 696-0452

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Earworm / ver de l'épi / Oorwurm / Ohrwurm

Danny Johnson

Still recovering from the exciting Medieval Pilgrimage concert (by which I mean finishing up my taxes, researching/working on music for the Christmas and Opera concerts and preparations for the upcoming Fall Texas Toot and the TEMP road trip to College Station on November 8 for a short version of September's Convivencia concert) and still having constant, but pleasant, earworms from last weekend's concert. Last night's earworm was the sinuous, interweaving melisma that Cayla and Erin sang at the end of each of the phrases of their duet. Today's is the refrain (again) from Los set goyts and the traded motifs from the duet that Nina and Jenny sang. I'm not complaining, mind you . . . I love it! I hope that you had similarly pleasing earworms!

Thanks to our special guests, our core and quasi-newbie singers and the band—and also to the audience who came to our new venue at St John's Episcopal and the audience who came to one of our "homes" (I think that pretty much covers everyone, right?) and especially our CD winner, Michael Praetorius. He's looking pretty good at almost 400. (You had to be there...)

 

Thanks to Robert Faires for his kind words (see the hard-copy version of the Austin Chronicle from the ides of October) and special thanks to the next Ohrwurm, whatever it might be...
And thanks for the oncoming Fall, which means that pumpkin *everything* can't be far behind!

We hope to see you at An Early Christmas, Dec. 11, 12, or 13!  Click on the image below for tickets or visit our Single Tickets page

-Danny

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September Songs

Danny Johnson

It might be a long, long time from May to September, but it really whizzed by due to the Texas Toot and the Amherst Early Music Festival and preparations for ... everything! But here we are! The first concert of the season in a few days and it's a doozy, with 2 videos created Dr. Roger L. Martínez-Dávila and guest performers from the east coast and the west coast. And it's all about Coexistence. Convivencia. It's been one of the most popular of our concert themes, so every 5 years or so we re-visit old [musical] friends and add a few new.

Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, 8:00pm (with pre-concert lecture at 7:00pm)
St. Martin's Lutheran Church, 606 W. 15th Street

Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, 3:00pm (with pre-concert lecture at 2:00pm)
Temple Beth Shalom, 7300 Hart Lane

Photo by Cecily Johnson

As a little informative teaser for our Convivencia Re-Envisioned concert, our multi-talented artist and Operations Coordinator, Meredith Ruduski, has created an entertaining and educational video about two instruments that will be featured in our program: the santur and the oud. Enjoy the video below!

Photo by Cecily Johnson

 

And to take the edge off the end of August, we had a lovely fundraising party on August 30 at the Wally Workman Gallery on 6th, produced/directed/nurtured by Meredith Ruduski. It was wunderbarlichkeit, thanks to Mer, the Board, and the performers: Meredith, Jenifer, Cayla, Stephanie, Jenny, Jane, Scott, and Marshall! 

Photo by Cecily Johnson

 

Onward! Vigilance! Convivencia.
-Danny

 

 

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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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Once again — From the top!

Danny Johnson

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Well, alrighty then. I, for one, would like to do our La Pellegrina concert about 10 more times in a few choice locations around the US—not to mention a few places elsewhere—but I think I would have to get some more sensible shoes if we did. Alas, I think we must be finished, because I don't see any rehearsals or concerts on my calendar. Drat. it was great fun, it was lots and lots and lots of work for the TEMP Board—good thing they're used to working hard to promote TEMP and work around problems that arise—and for Allison, Meredith, Jonathan, and Tiffany. Lots and lots of work. 

We might do this again. Who knows? But it can never again be the first time that it's been done in Austin, or in Texas, or in the U.S. [in at least 30 years and maybe longer]. That's a lot of 'first times' that the media missed, but, oh well. That's why we love Austin—there are always lots of artistic things going on. 

To all of the Board and staff and performers and supporters: A most solemn, sincere, and sacred Thank You! Grazie mille! We can all still continue to "Be a Medici - but Nicer" by supporting the arts and, of course, by not defenestrating people. 

And now on to the Madrigals. Eeeek. Only 6 weeks! 

Danny

P.S. You can pre-order the La Pellegrina CD here:
http://www.early-music.org/recordings/lapellegrina

P.P.S. Check out the Time Warner Cable News 8 Austin segment on La Pellegrina below! 

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Danny's Dispatch from the Amherst Early Music Festival

Danny Johnson

Greetings, TEMP-ites! I'm in New London, CT for the Amherst Early Music Festival and, looking at the weather in Texas, I was feeling a bit guilty, what with the temperature being in the mid-70s last week and dropping at night... but it warmed up substantially for a few days and we had the same kind of rain that's being soaking Austin. Summer has its way with us no matter where we are....

All of that takes a backseat to the energy, excitement, and profound musicality that we've enjoyed at the workshop. San Francisco’s Farallon Recorder Quartet (with Annette Bauer, a frequent TEMP guest artist) opened the concert series last week and charmed us all. The Baroque Academy Faculty concert was an eye-opener and ear-pleaser with some music and composers I had never heard of; knocked my socks off!

The Baroque Academy opera Der geduldige Socrates (The Patience of Socrates) by Telemann revealed a side of Telemann I had only dabbled with.  I've performed and taught his secular cantatas, but knew nothing about the opera.  It has some very nice arias, which were sung by some really good students. Quite fine!

Saturday was crazy with 6 concerts.  My Baroque Academy ensemble of 3 singers and continuo, hailing from Connecticut, Arizona, and Winnipeg, performed Schütz and did very well!  On the faculty concert, I performed 2 of my favorite things with some of my favorite people: "Da Jakob nu das kleid Ansah" by Senfl which I first learned as a junior in college, and "Anima mea liquefacta es" by Schütz, which has been a favorite for decades; TEMP regular Cayla Cardiff and TEMP guest Temmo Korisheli were some of the stars of the all-workshop Collegium's performance of "Musikalische Exequien".

The second week of concerts started with an exquisitely beautiful concert of viol and lute music, performed by Italy's Vittorio Ghielmi and Luca Pianca. Life-changing performances of Forqueray, Marais, and others, including a sonata by Andras Lidl who was previously unknown to me.  Simply amazing.

In the midst of this are classes, rehearsals, administrative duties, and an expected lack of sleep. Still, it's wonderful and I love it; this is my 32nd Amherst Early Music festival; I'm hoping for at least two more handfuls of them....

And, somehow at the same time, there is planning the upcoming TEMP season, working on the season brochure with TEMP Board president Wendy Brockett, who is here also, and scouting for some new guest artists to join us for concerts in Austin.

Off to the next event - more soon! Danny

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Q & A with Jane Leggiero

Danny Johnson

In celebration of the Christmas spirit, and in hopes of entertaining you, I posed a few questions to our performers.  What we learned from this endeavor is that TEMP has more than its fair share of amateur comedians and smarty-pantses.  Without further ado, I’ll let the performers speak for themselves.

Look for additional upcoming Q& A posts & happy holidays!

Jane Leggiero (official TEMP office elf)

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What is your favorite holiday music?

Danny Johnson: Still working on that one …

Claire Daniels: It is hard to pick favorites but I don’t ever tire of Handel’s Messiah. Sorry to be cliché! This is my first Christmas with TEMP though, and I really love the music Danny has picked for us to sing.

John Walters: I like lots. I like the old classics. I like new original music if it's good--my definition of what's good of course!  I loved finding new arrangements of Christmas for my school orchestras to play.

Cayla Cardiff: French carols, medieval English carols, Ariel Ramirez's "Navidad Nuestra", and Britten's "Ceremony of Carols."

Meredith Ruduski: 1940s and '50s crooner/jazzy stuff.

Scott Horton: Early 17th century like Gabrieli, Biber, etc.

Becky Baxter: The Chieftains recording entitled "The Bells Of Dublin" and that old Hershey's Chocolate kisses TV commercial where the animated kisses are pretending to be handbells ringing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." I still get a kick out of the last little kiss saying "Whew!" because it reminds me of how I will feel at the end of December after all the gigs are over!

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What is the worst holiday pop song?

Danny: “I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus”

Becky: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer

Cayla: UGH that hideous "Do They Know It's Christmas" monstrosity.  I know they meant well but the lyrics are so pathetic.  ("Where nothing ever grows/no rain or water flows/do they know it's Christmas time at all" - about AFRICA?!?!?  SERIOUSLY?!?!?!)

Scott: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

John: I don't know. I'm too fast at tuning it out if I think it's going to be bad.

Meredith: That 1980s "Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart" atrocity

Claire: I don’t really mind the Christmas pop music. However, I HATE any version of We Wish You a Merry Christmas and the 12 Days of Christmas. I don’t think I’ve ever heard any version that I liked, so why bother?

Jeffrey Jones-Ragona: Without a doubt, "Christmas Shoes."  The first time I heard that song, I no longer believed in puppies, the laughter of children, or anything good.

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How many concerts do you have during the month of December?  Does your spouse/significant other/cat remember what you look like by January 1?

Abby Green: Mid-December is finally when I have some time off.  My tour/travel/festival season is July thru December.  I hardly stop at all.  December is my light at the end of the tunnel.  I finally get to breathe and relax!

Cayla: Including school work: 10, not counting the three I'm supposed to be at but am sending a sub, and not counting church.

Claire: If I counted correctly, I will sing 10 concerts, even more than that if you count informal short concerts and short performances for school. My boyfriend is actually in LA filming a movie for almost all of December. I won’t really see him until after Christmas so I guess I’ll have to let you know…

Jeffrey:  Typically, one (different) one each weekend, and some weekends, I have had as many as three different concerts-- not the same concert given three times, but three *different* repertoires/events/ensembles.  Although one year it was all Messiah-- just three different orchestras, conductors and Choruses.  Of course, the weeks before are occupied with rehearsals.  It's not unusual for December 26th to be my first full day off since Halloween or earlier.  And no, I have to get reacquainted with my cats right after Christmas.  They are definitely inquisitive and mildly distrustful when I spend an entire day at my house.  Although I spend most of that day like they do--sleeping!

John: My wife gets more than me.  [She’s in the symphony]

Meredith: Regarding pets and loved ones: after they get through the initial barking and smell my hand, they remember that I feed them and do the "recognition wag," though my husband still acts a little weird if I make sudden moves or go around his food bowl.

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You get invited to a white elephant gift exchange.  What do you bring?

Claire: A white elephant, you say?!

Meredith: A white elephant, duh! [Y’all are a bunch of literalists! – ed.]

Danny: Another white elephant? Wait, they didn’t say this was gonna be on the test.

Scott:  Silver picture frame.  [Care to explain, Scott?  Are you secretly a werewolf? – ed.]

Abby: A sleeve of saltine crackers wrapped in really pretty paper.

Cayla: A FRUITCAKE.

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What’s the weirdest gift anyone ever gave you?

Cayla:  A FRUITCAKE.

Danny: A paisley elephant.

Abby: I can't think of any that stick out in my mind.  I have given many odd gifts...  my favorite this year is a fuzzy pink monster puppet.  The recipient is 30 and she is going to LOVE it.

Meredith: A box of tampons.

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What do you like to do in Austin at this time of year?

Cayla:  Shop for local stuff on South Congress!

Claire: Sing Christmas music! Especially descants!

Danny: Apparently, I like to give concerts! Oh, and I do like the weather, usually, except when it’s 80 or so….

John: It's family time.

Meredith: Take allergy medicine and go on hikes!

Scott:  Not be hot.

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From pipers piping to partridges in pear trees, which of the 12 days of Christmas is your favorite and why?

Abby: FIVE GOLD RINGS!!!!  Because of Miss Piggy's contribution in the Muppets' Christmas album.

Claire: I hate to be a scrooge, but bah humbug! Refer to #2. [Question about the worst holiday pop song.]

Scott: The 13th day upon which I rest.

Meredith: I think "seven swans a swimming," although I wouldn't want to clean up after them.

Becky: Five gold rings - I'm a jewelry hound.

Cayla:   Three French hens.  I don't know why.  They sound happy.

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On a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you freak out if it snowed right now?

Abby: If by "freak out" you mean throw a temper tantrum because I'm supposed to camp next week...I'd say a level 7 freak out, and a sad face.

Becky: I'm a Texas native. Nothing in Texas weather surprises me or freaks me out. Now, finding a snake or a scorpion inside the house is a whole other story.

Cayla:   2.  I'm not easily impressed.

Scott:  -1, i.e. not at al! Snow, snow, snow!!!!!!!!

Danny: In general, I'd give it a 4.5.

Meredith: 10!!!! That would be so awesome! Especially if the snow actually stuck to the ground. =D [I think Meredith would be freaking out in the good way! –ed.]

John: I love the snow. I'll be out making snowmen and having snowball fights.

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Specifically for out-of-towners:  What do you like about coming to work with TEMP?

Becky: TEMP has quite a few 'closet' stand up comedians. [This questionnaire proves that pretty well! – ed.] A great sense of humor in rehearsals is a blessing when you have a lot of music material to cover in a short amount of time. Specifically what I love about coming to work with TEMP for the December concerts is that I get my annual "fix" hearing Stephanie Prewett sing "Balooloo, my lammie." There is something exquisitely comforting about the way she sings it. At different times all through the year when I am having a tough day, the memory of her singing "Balooloo" will replay in my mind like being wrapped up in a warm blanket.

Abby: TEMP is awesome...no, really.  I get the chance to sing some amazing music with some of the most gorgeous voices I have ever heard.  Not only is the musicianship outstanding, but everyone is so NICE!  It is such an absolute honor to get to absorb some of this music and friendship even if only for a week per year.

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What is your favorite thing to do when you visit Austin?

Becky: Wheatsville Co-op, Instep (best shoe store in Texas, if not the world), and Blue Moon glassworks, Austin Flameworks, and Austin Art Glass to see the cool art glass and meet the wonderful artists.

Abby: Eat cheese enchiladas, hang out with friends, drink a margarita or three.

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