Composer John Stone’s song cycle “Daybreak in Alabama” (which I premiered and recorded with John—see Audio page) was the subject of a seminar on Monday, 2/23, at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ. John was present and answered questions about the cycle after hearing four students sing the songs. It’s great that these songs are getting more attention!
The Play of Daniel (a production of GEMS, NY)—in which I sing the role of satrap and play medieval lute—returned to the Twelfth Night Festival at Trinity Church Wall St. at the end of December 2014, and it was another success with enthusiastic audiences and a glowing review in the New York Times. I’ve been with this production since its launch at the Cloisters in 2008, and I hope there will be more shows to come! The Play of Daniel was created by singers at Beauvais Cathedral in the twelfth century, and I recently found a great website, called Mapping Gothic France, that has a lot of info about Beauvais Cathedral, including 360-degree panoramic photos (move your mouse slowly to scroll)—check it out here.
On November 6, 2014, I gave a concert of medieval songs, self-accompanied on lute, on the Midtown Concerts series at St. Bartholomew’s Church, NYC. I hope to take this program to many other venues! Here’s what I wrote for the Midtown Concerts blog about it: When people think of medieval song, they may think of monks chanting (definitely one part of medieval music), or often they’ll think of a guy in tights playing a lute and singing “Greensleeves,” and that’s actually renaissance era. So I thought it would be fun to put together a program to introduce audiences to the witty, brilliant poetry and compelling melodies of medieval secular song. The period of music lumped under the heading “medieval” spans one thousand years. For my “Medieval Songs 101” program on the Midtown Concerts series, I’ll be performing songs covering nearly two centuries from Europe and England, in five different languages. The program will include music of the troubadours, trouvères, and minnesingers (I’ll explain more about those terms during the show), plus a song by Guillaume de Machaut. You’ll hear songs by Gace Brulé, Martin Codax, Adam de la Halle, Walther von der Volgeweide, and many others. I’m also doing what is generally considered to be the first sestina (a poetic form), “Lo ferm voler q’el cor m’intra,” by the troubadour Arnaut Daniel.