Welcome to The Newberry Consort Directors’ blog! This is our opportunity to give you a behind-the-scenes peek into how we work. In our blog we’ll also share with you what we think about the music we’ll perform. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for our mailing list here to find out when new blog entries are added.
The opening program for our 2012-2013 season, La Harpe de Melodie: the Subtle Musical Art of France, presents music that is a Consort specialty. We performed this repertory (called the Ars Subtilior, the subtle art) at our first concert in Ruggles Hall almost exactly 26 years ago to the day, and the ensemble has returned to it many times since then. It’s an appropriate and beautiful way to begin our second quarter-century.
One of the challenges of this repertoire is figuring out exactly what instruments should play each line. Nothing is designated in the scores, so we look at the range of the line and the character of the music to suggest whether it might be played on winds, bowed strings, or plucked strings. Shira, Tom, and Mark will bring an arsenal of instruments with them to Chicago, and we’ll spend a lot of time in rehearsal trying out different combinations until we find just the right sound. With everything from psalteries to fiddles to flutes and lutes, we’ll have plenty of options.
Next up: how Ellen deals with the poetry and singing in medieval French!