Aug 26, 2015
It’s been quite a summer. In June, John Mark Rozendaal and I recorded a CD of François Couperin’s suites from Concerts Royaux, on five and six-string pardessus and two 17th century Turner viols (thanks for the loan, Alice Robbins) with Charles Weaver on theorbo; with any luck it will be out before Christmas. In early July, while I was touring with Toss the Feathers in France, I zipped over to Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland, to give a paper on improvising to silent film at the International Society of Improvised Music Conference (you can read that paper on my website). There were improvisers from as far away as Hong Kong and Melbourne, a very stimulating gathering.
Then I flew home in mid-July to work with Wayne Hankin on a very special presentation of Carmina Burana in Chautauqua, NY. Wayne arranged little-known works by Carl Orff for 10 mobile early musicians, pieces that were interspersed with the larger movements for chorus and orchestra. Together with 50 dancers, a children’s choir, students from the conservatory program and solo singers, we gave a performance much closer to Orff’s original intention, including slides projected on the ceiling of the 4000-seat amphitheater.
As usual my French group, Toss the Feathers performed Scottish and Irish music from original sources in a wide variety of venues, from a converted stable at a small farmhouse in the Dordogne to the magnificent 16th church in the medieval town of Chalencon. We were particularly touched by our reception at the Festival of Early and Sacred music in Froville; five encores and more than 60 recordings sold (that’s Rira, our newest)!
Upon my return in August I changed back to my CD producer hat and resumed work with an old friend, marvelous soprano Rosa Lamoreaux, who is in the midst of recording not one but two CDs destined for pre-Christmas release. I’m very pleased that we were able to raise over $19,000 for the project from generous friends, students and fans through an Indiegogo campaign.
And finally, when I thought things were settling down, a call from composer Brian Keane brought me to Connecticut last weekend to record some tracks with Grant Herreid for Ric Burns’ Thanksgiving PBS film, The Pilgrims.
Back home, I’m preparing for the debut of our new Hesperus Viol Consort in November, putting together a tribute to honor Scott Reiss on the 10th anniversary of his death that will air on the syndicated early music radio show Harmonia in December, and trying to get more exercise so I can fit into my winter jeans. See you in September!