Texas Early Music Project

I went to see a concert of women composers by the Texas Early Music Project with music by Barbara Strozzi, Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre, and Caterina Assandra among others.  Some of the pieces were arranged by director Daniel Johnson, who conducted as well. 

There was lots of vocal music.  Some of the soloists: Meredith Ruduski, Stephanie Prewitt, and Gitanjali Mathur astounded me.  The ensemble will do an early music opera concert in September which I very much look forward to. 

It's amazing how much sound and depth come out of two viols, a theorbo and an organ.  Scott Horton doubled on the baroque guitar in "L'Eraclito amoroso" which sounded like a rock song... sort of.  The vocalist, Cayla Cardiff seemed that comfortable with it, although the program notes inaccurately describe Barbara Strozzi as the first singer songwriter - should be the first European singer songwriter.

My two favorite pieces on the concert were "O dulcis Amor Jesu" by Assandra, and Anne Boleyn's "O Deathe, rock me asleepe"  In the first, I felt architecture.  I saw violet in the chromatic imitations.  In a concert mostly golds and red-browns, this was unique.  In the second... the text and the text setting were very moving, especially the last repeated "I die." 

There are four more early music concerts in Austin in the next three months, each by a different ensemble.  I'm excited about the organ concertos by La Follia Austin Baroque in July.  Texas Early Music Project will be doing Telemann's opera, Pimpinone next January as well as five other concerts next season.  Oh, and I found out about the concert because it was mentioned on KMFA, our local classical music station, which also broadcasts the Austin Lyric Opera once in a while. 


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