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Workshop in Provence
Shakers in New Collaboration
The Shaker Communitiy
of Sabbathday Lake Maine (the only still-extant Shaker community) made a very
rare public appearance with the Boston Camerata last November 21, at Boston's
historic Faneuil Hall. The occasion was a Thanksgiving-season program of Shaker
songs, entitled "Gifts of Thanks." Much of the music was recently transcribed
by Joel Cohen from priceless original manuscripts at the Shaker Library. Along
with songs from the widely-acclaimed Simple Gifts
recording, Camerata and the Shakers (assisted by the Youth pro Musica and the
Harvard University Choir) sang a number of newly edited and beautiful works in
what were probably their first performances in this century.
A Simple Gift
Well, not a gift exactly
-- but we have received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for live
performances of Simple Gifts, the award-winning
program of Shaker chants and spirituals.
A word to the wise:
If your community, school, or institution is interested in presenting Simple
Gifts in 1998-9, the time to contact us is now.
just (September 97) finished recording another early-American music program, to
be entitled Village Harmony on its release sometime next year.
Not a spiritual album this time -- we decided it was time to look at secular music
from the American past. Included are marches, patriotic songs, ballads, and an
R-rated version of Yankee Doodle (no kidding, it was a raunchy song).
CD's on the HMV Chart
Our spies in Cambridge,
Massachusetts report that over the summer months no less than three
of our current CD's were gracing the Classical bestseller chart at the HMV store,
was number three;
Jeu d'Amour by Anne Azéma was number four;
Carmina Burana (the most recent release) began
as number ten, and rose to number two!
The Boston Camerata's
at the Morelia (Mexico) Music Festival,
July 19, 1997
from La Jornada
of sound from the Boston Camerata...fantastic voices...spectacular...an authentic
magic...one of the most outstanding concerts in the history of the Festival...angelic
singing...The public, enchanted, responded with an ovation of loud applause
and stamping of feet."
Voz de Michoacan (Morelia):
exchange of energy between the performers and the audience made for a unique
atmosphere... The musicians of the Boston Camerata appear to emanate a kind
of luminous halo."
is the question. It's also the title of the Camerata's recent recording project
for Erato. We made it last May at the somewhat-screwball-yet-charming Music Hall
in Methuen, Ma. (The photo at the left shows some of us on a break between takes)
Our previous venture into Elizabethan repertoire, Farewell
Unkind: Songs and Dances of John Dowland was a critical hit in Europe, The
Dowland CD won top-level disctinctions from Répertoire and Le Monde
de la Musique, plus a nomination for the Grand Prix des Discophiles.
This one, too, will contain some choice songs by the great Dowland, as well as
works by Pilkington, Daniel, Ford, Robert Jones, and other outstanding songwriters
of the Shakespearean age. Expect a 1998 release for this anthology.
Workshop in Provence
in Medieval song is now a memory, but what a memory! A week of troubadour songs
in a spectacular setting (see above)...We hope to continue this activity. See
you in beautiful Coaraze next year?
Camerata soloists Azéma, Cohen, and Lepkoff inaugurated a major exhibit of medieval
tapestries with a special concert in Avignon last June. The event took place
inside the fourteenth-century Pope's Palace, one of the more awesome monuments
of Provence (or anywhere else, for that matter). Ever since the Middle Ages,
Avignon has been reputed as something of a rough-and-tumble city. The poet Petrarch,
who made his living as a bureaucrat in the Papal court, just hated
the place; but then, he was a notorious old grump. At any rate, just for the
record, Joel Cohen reports that someone in Avignon stole his motor scooter.
Everything else about the concert went well, however. The same musicians will
be playing some of the same beautiful music in western Massachusetts next fall
(please check our schedule page for details.)
of French courtly airs circa 1610, entitled Douce Beauté, brought the
house down when we performed it at the Versailles opera a couple of seasons
back. Last April we recorded the program for Erato, at the aforementioned Methuen
(Ma.) Music Hall, a late-nineteenth century Temple of Music with a monumentally
outsized organ (not used by us), and excellent acoustics (used by us). Look
for a 1998 release date.
rather wonderful," said the normally staid London Times on May
25. The latest, and probably the most unusual production in Camerata's history
is a new release in Europe and the U.S. (where it has quickly risen to number
5 bestseller on the HMV classical chart). "Angels" features soloists
and instrumentalists from the Boston Camerata, members of the Harvard University Choir
(directed by board member Murray Forbes Somerville), the Youth Pro Musica (directed
by board member Hazel Somerville), the Boston Shawm & Sackbut Ensemble,
and -- last but by no means least -- a beautiful, unearthly web of synthesized
sound created by composer Tod Machover . The underlying repertoire consists
of medieval songs and chants, together with early American hymns and spirituals.
There are also some newly-transcribed Shaker songs, never publicly performed until
now. But Camerata director Joel Cohen insists that this is not an early music
record. What is it then? You can click here for a synopsis
of the program. But, dear reader, in the last analysis, you will have to find
out for yourself....
N.B. If your neighborhood
Angel Mart is out of stock and you want to buy the CD from us, you can do so
from our discography page.
Game of Love:
Our own Anne Azéma's newest traversal of medieval French song repertoire is now
available on CD . Erato released the recording right about the time that Anne
and colleagues Lepkoff, Kammen, and Tindemans were scheduled to perform the same
music in the Boston area, and on a national tour. The new recording is number
six on the classical bestseller charts at HMV, Harvard Square, Cambridge, and
has just won a perfect "10" from the French record review Répertoire.
Accolades in France.
Anne's first CD, The Unicorn , also recorded with musicians who frequently
collaborate with Camerata, was nominated for the Grand Prix des Discophiles
in France, and won Anne a commendation as an outstanding new artist of the
year from Gramophone. The new program, "The Game of Love," was heard
on May 2 at the First Church in Cambridge, as the last event in Camerata's 1996-7
intown series. You can read Anne's biography, and view a photo of the rest of
her face, by clicking on Anne Azéma's home page.
The awards kept on pouring in last year, and continue into 1997. Of course,
worldly glory needs to be taken with a grain of salt -- at least, that's what
we kept on telling ourselves. But the current rain of distinctions indicates
(so we believe) that indeed we are doing something right. We also hope that
our circle of friends and supporters will share, along with musicians and
board members, our good feelings about these honors. Congratulations to us
THE BOSTON CAMERATA'S
AWARDS & DISTINCTIONS 1996-7
- June: "10,"
Repertoire (Paris) for Anne Azéma's "Le Jeu d'Amour"
- April: Florence
Gould Foundation grant for presenting American music in France
- March: National
Endowment for the Arts Awards, for U.S. performances of Shaker music
"10," Répertoire (Paris): Carmina Burana
Dowland, "Farewell Unkind," nominated for the Grand Prix des Discophiles
Critic's Choice, Gramophone (London): Simple Gifts
Top Ten music events, The Boston Globe: Johnny Johnson in concert
Best Early Music Recording, The Boston Globe: Trav'ling Home
- October: Top
rating, BBC Music Magazine: Trav'ling Home
- October: Joel
Cohen nominated for Mass. Cultural Council award
- October: Boston
Camerata nominated for Mass. Cultural Council award
- June: "Choc,"
Le Monde de la Musique: Dowland, Farewell Unkind
- June: "10,"
Répertoire (Paris): Dowland, Farewell Unkind
- May: "Choc",
Le Monde de la Musique: Simple Gifts
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