Celebrating Early Music and Early Music Performance


My personal choice for this month is the album:


The Sacred Mysteries

The Rosary Sonatas for violin and continuo

Leah Gale Nelson, Violin

Daniel Swenberg, Theorbo

Dongsok Shin, Organ

For me, listening to this album is a completely mind-blowing and moving experience.  

 I could fill several pages with commentary about this wonderful collection; however in this instance, I recommend a visit to http://www.leahgalenelson.com for a detailed 0verview of this groundbreaking performance.


Ireland's Enchantment by Emerald Baroque

Directed by Bridget Cunningham


Ireland's Enchantment is an oasis of beautiful Irish music exquisitely portraying both the delights and laments of the music of the Irish people. All the members of Emerald Baroque have a classical music background, yet with Irish music in their heritage this gives rise to an authentic performance, rather than a crossover of genres. They are all leading exponents of early and Irish music, and together, they produce a unique sound - haunting, enchanting and inspiring.

A little birdie has told me that a further Irish Early Music project is in the pipeline, so keep your eyes and ears peeled – it’s bound to be well worth a listen!



Handel in Ireland

Harpsichord by Bridget Cunningham

Recently released on Rose Street Records – RSR 002


What were George Frideric Handel and his Irish contemporaries up to in Dublin during 1741 and 1742?  Well now I know - and so will you when you listen to this beautiful gem of an album by Bridget Cunningham.

Bridget is both a musical scholar and performer.  On this CD, she has taken what could be described as a musical Polaroid of Dublin and the Kingdom of Ireland at that time, transforming it into a showcase of her musical prowess and erudite personal perspectives.

 Dublin was, at that moment, the second largest city in the British Isles.  After listening to track after track of Bridget’s superlative delivery, it’s hardly surprising that the social elite of the time would, by its patronage, attract world-renowned composers and performers into its gracious social order.  

Bridget dispatches tunes by G. F. Handel, T. Roseingrave and C.T. Carter with an effortless aplomb; and the two traditional Irish melodies to conclude the set are simply drop-dead gorgeous.



Previous Albums of the Month

Istanpitta by the New York Ensemble For Early Music. 

Have you ever wished that you were present at a very special happening or occasion – have you yearned to be a fly on the wall?  This album ticks all of those boxes for me; and I would imagine that its recording might have resembled the sort of party I enjoy. 

This album, Istanpitta (Lems 8016), is a vibrant and often hauntingly melodic collection of Medieval Dance arrangements; and New York’s Ensemble for Early Music clearly thrive under the expert direction of Frederick Renz.  However, the icing on the cake must be the addition of guest artist, Glen Velez on the frame drums for several tracks.  Listen to track one, Saltarello and Trotto and be prepared for a very special musical event, the sound simply exploded from out of my speakers into the room and all I wanted to do is get up and dance.

So the next time these guys throw a bash, I sincerely hope they remember to send me an invitation!