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Thread: The TC Early Music Listening Group - Selection Thread

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Default The TC Early Music Listening Group - Selection Thread

    The TC Early Music Listening Group is forming for the purpose of selecting works from the years 1100-1700 and then slowly, one work per week, doing an immersive exploration and discussion of those works.

    The idea is for each participant to nominate TWO works from this time frame which they are passionate about or which they believe would be significant works for this group to discuss (if you only want to nominate one, that's cool too). This thread will be used for that selection process. Once the selection desk has been open for 1-2 weeks (we'll have to play it by ear to see how many participants we have), we will decide on a weekly order of works to listen to, then the group will officially start and we'll be underway with our discussions! Ideally I would love to see at least 8-10 members participating, give or take some. There is no maximum cap on the number of participants. If you want to participate in the group but do not wish to nominate, that's perfectly fine! If this is what you're learning towards, please just pop in on this thread and let me know your intent so we can have a more accurate headcount of who's participating

    Why Early Music?
    Early music is commonly defined as all music in the Western classical tradition that was composed before the Baroque period in either the Middle Ages or the Renaissance. This is a field of music that I love listening to and studying, but which I am somewhat overwhelmed by and wish to know more about. It is also an area that does not seem to garner too much widespread appreciation or interest among classical fans. Oftentimes pre-Baroque music is seen as esoteric and archaic with little to appreciate for the contemporary listener. This group is for all music enthusiasts who either consider themselves knowledgeable fans of early music, or, like me, who are interested and want to know more about early music. I hope that this group can integrate historical background, casual musical discussion, and sharing of opinions so we can all join in to learn as much as we can about this fascinating but often-neglected area of music history.

    Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about the group, the submission procedure, etc. I'm expecting certain details and guidelines to clarify as we get a clearer picture of the scope of this group and who will be participating in it, but for now let's begin with the nominations and see where things go I will be turning in my two nominations within the next couple of days.
    Last edited by Allegro Con Brio; May-25-2020 at 23:51.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

    "Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe." - Douglas Adams

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    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    Thank you, ACB, for initiating this listening group and for moderating!

    If the cut-off date is 1600, it seems we're talking about Medieval and Renaissance music? Certainly not J.S. Bach (1685-1750) or Telemann (1681-1767). This is fine, but to be clear, it excludes Baroque music, which by some reckoning belongs to "early music."

    For this really early stuff, let me propose (along with example recordings):

    Praetorius, Michael (c. 1571-1621) Dances from Terpsichore. Pickett/New London Consort, 1985, L'Oiseau-Lyre
    Cornago, Johannes (c. 1400-after 1475) Missa de la mapa mundi. Hillier/His Majestie's Clerkes, 1991, Harmonia Mundi

    If even Praetorius is too late, then I'd sub in William Byrd (1540-1623) who has a lot of short harpsichord and ensemble works that are pretty widely available.

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    Walther: Under den linden (c 1200) ← gorgeous melody
    Gautier: Les Miracles de Nostre-Dame (c 1218–25) ← fascinating settings of popular songs of the day (imagine if a so-called "serious" composer did that today!)

    I've actually been working on a listening guide for medieval music that is similar to Trout's contemporary music list, so this is very timely. I'll share that in a few days if anyone is interested.
    Last edited by Portamento; May-25-2020 at 21:30.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simplicissimus View Post
    Thank you, ACB, for initiating this listening group and for moderating!

    If the cut-off date is 1600, it seems we're talking about Medieval and Renaissance music? Certainly not J.S. Bach (1685-1750) or Telemann (1681-1767). This is fine, but to be clear, it excludes Baroque music, which by some reckoning belongs to "early music."

    For this really early stuff, let me propose (along with example recordings):

    Praetorius, Michael (c. 1571-1621) Dances from Terpsichore. Pickett/New London Consort, 1985, L'Oiseau-Lyre
    Cornago, Johannes (c. 1400-after 1475) Missa de la mapa mundi. Hillier/His Majestie's Clerkes, 1991, Harmonia Mundi

    If even Praetorius is too late, then I'd sub in William Byrd (1540-1623) who has a lot of short harpsichord and ensemble works that are pretty widely available.
    The cutoff date is actually something that I’m still mulling over. I thought 1600 would be a pretty agreed-upon end date to the Renaissance period, but then I remembered Monteverdi and Gesualdo who mostly wrote in the first couple decades of the 17th century - composers who might be quite valuable to this group. Then there are more “transition” composers like Buxtehude, Byrd, Charpentier, Couperin who might be worth exploring. You know what, the more I think about it we should extend the cutoff to 1700. That way we have no danger of intruding on the territory of full-on Baroquers like Bach, Handel, Telemann and Vivaldi; and still have lots of great music to explore. On the last page of this thread is a chronological list of the TC Most Recommended Pre-1700 Works. I think it would be a shame to leave out the last hundred years of that timeframe, which I still think is generally underappreciated.

    The cutoff has now been extended to 1700.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

    "Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe." - Douglas Adams

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    Senior Member BlackAdderLXX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    If you want to participate in the group but do not wish to nominate, that's perfectly fine! If this is what you're learning towards, please just pop in on this thread and let me know your intent so we can have a more accurate headcount of who's participating
    I'm interested in this group and would be interested to learn more about early music but as I'm not very knowledgeable I'll probably just lurk and listen (like I do in the SQ thread). I'm glad you settled on a topic and I think the format is excellent. Best wishes.
    "Snobbery of any flavor...tastes terrible."

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Well, we may have already come across a hitch in the plan since the percentage of members here who are knowledgeable enough about early music to nominate seems to be relatively small. I honestly feel the same way, which is exactly why I wanted to participate in a group! I almost feel that, if after a couple more days, nominations are slim, we can just work our way through the TC Most Recommended Pre-1700 Works (about halfway down the second page on that link) with some guidance from the knowledgeable niche aficionados here. Off the top of my head I recall the members Science, Mandryka, and caracalla having lots of great expertise to contribute towards early music, but it’s totally their initiative as to whether they want to participate or not.
    Last edited by Allegro Con Brio; May-26-2020 at 03:06.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

    "Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe." - Douglas Adams

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    The cutoff date is actually something that I’m still mulling over. I thought 1600 would be a pretty agreed-upon end date to the Renaissance period, but then I remembered Monteverdi and Gesualdo who mostly wrote in the first couple decades of the 17th century - composers who might be quite valuable to this group. Then there are more “transition” composers like Buxtehude, Byrd, Charpentier, Couperin who might be worth exploring. You know what, the more I think about it we should extend the cutoff to 1700. That way we have no danger of intruding on the territory of full-on Baroquers like Bach, Handel, Telemann and Vivaldi; and still have lots of great music to explore. On the last page of this thread is a chronological list of the TC Most Recommended Pre-1700 Works. I think it would be a shame to leave out the last hundred years of that timeframe, which I still think is generally underappreciated.

    The cutoff has now been extended to 1700.
    Very good!

    .....
    Liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Well, we may have already come across a hitch in the plan since the percentage of members here who are knowledgeable enough about early music to nominate seems to be relatively small. I honestly feel the same way, which is exactly why I wanted to participate in a group! I almost feel that, if after a couple more days, nominations are slim, we can just work our way through the TC Most Recommended Pre-1700 Works (about halfway down the second page on that link) with some guidance from the knowledgeable niche aficionados here. Off the top of my head I recall the members Science, Mandryka, and caracalla having lots of great expertise to contribute towards early music, but it’s totally their initiative as to whether they want to participate or not.
    I think it would be fine to let us nominate works. I think a lot of us have learned more about early music than we knew when that list was made.

    Unfortunately, I can't be counted on to participate regularly. I don't even have time to do a good job of keeping up with the TC recommendations project.... But I support this project and hope it goes well!

    Fortunately, Trout, pjang23, Bulldog, mmsbls, Nereffid, Highwayman, and quite a few others know as much or more about "early" music as I do.
    Last edited by science; May-26-2020 at 03:40.
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    Monteverdi Missa in illo temporae

    Machaut Puis Qu'en Oubli

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    If nominations are being accepted, I will nominate:

    Dufay: Nuper rosarum flores -- Dufay's most famous work, and perhaps the most famous isorhythmic motet

    Dufay: Missa Ecce ancilla Domini -- a little off the beaten path but one of Dufay's greatest works, and a fine example of a cantus firmus mass
    Liberty for wolves is death to the lambs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Well, we may have already come across a hitch in the plan since the percentage of members here who are knowledgeable enough about early music to nominate seems to be relatively small. I honestly feel the same way, which is exactly why I wanted to participate in a group! I almost feel that, if after a couple more days, nominations are slim, we can just work our way through the TC Most Recommended Pre-1700 Works (about halfway down the second page on that link) with some guidance from the knowledgeable niche aficionados here. Off the top of my head I recall the members Science, Mandryka, and caracalla having lots of great expertise to contribute towards early music, but it’s totally their initiative as to whether they want to participate or not.
    We could always do a hybrid selection process. People who want to nominate can do so and then to fill in the gaps we start working through the TC list. We could still assign people to each week, then they could do a little leg work before hand to introduce the work and maybe give a touch of historical background.

    Also, as I’m looking at Early Music albums, it seems many works are very short, so recommending a standard length album in it’s entirety might be a good option to make available.

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    Josquin de Prez, Missa Pange lingua <-- because it's awesome
    Claudio Monteverdi, Madrigals Book VIII <-- more awesomemess

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post

    The cutoff has now been extended to 1700.
    Very bad idea - you’ve got a period which includes Abelard at one end and Georg Muffat at the other - it’s a nonsense.

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    I don't think the Baroque ought to be included. Early music, for me (and it is one of my most favorite periods) would extend from the chant period to the late Renaissance. I'd suggest that Palestrina to be the last composer, chronologically, included.

    I may have missed it, but if it hasn't already been suggested, my nomination is: Machaut: Messe de Nostre Dame

    Also to consider, which cover more than one composer or anonymous:
    Gregorian Chant
    Music of the Trouveres & Troubadours

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    Making it too wide might indeed be counterproductive. Another cut-off point might be to limit it to composers born before 1550. That would give us at the end not only Palestrina, but also Lassus, Byrd, and Victoria, while disqualifying the likes of Monteverdi and Gibbons.
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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