Program notes for Celestial Sirens II by Ellen Hargis

Program notes for Celestial Sirens II by Ellen Hargis

The sound of an all-female vocal ensemble, by turns earthy, sensual, angelic and otherworldly, has fascinated listeners for centuries. Nowadays, we love Anonymous 4, female barbershop quartets, and The Supremes. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Concerte delle donne...

Spanish Latin: Gilding the Lily

One of the best tools in a singer’s arsenal is text.  Words convey meaning, of course, but how we sing them give us endless possibilities to make articulation, color, phrasing, and rhythm beyond the musical notation.  In the field of historical performance, we...
Putting Humpty-Dumpty Together Again

Putting Humpty-Dumpty Together Again

I’ve been reveling in visual and aural beauty while transcribing the music for our upcoming concert “Celestial Sirens II” from the original manuscripts at the Newberry Library.  Every page of the vellum tells a story.  There are lovingly repaired...
Medieval Strings Part II:  Plucks

Medieval Strings Part II: Plucks

The Wonderful World of Medieval Stringed Instruments:  Part II Plucked stringed instruments also abounded in the Middle Ages. The most popular one was without a doubt the harp.  Our idea that angels play harps came from the many depictions of the instrument in...
David Douglass on Medieval Strings

David Douglass on Medieval Strings

The Wonderful World of Medieval Bowed Strings By David Douglass   When I first held a medieval stringed instrument in my hands I felt I had entered a whole new world, one full of adventure and promise. My, how different it was!  The year was 1972, I was in the...

Singing in French: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

First off, I have to say I LOVE singing in French.  This is crazy, because in voice studios we are taught that French is one of the hardest languages to sing – and then there’s the grammar! But whether it’s because French was my first foreign language, or...