Milton G. Scheuermann Jr.

Host of Continuum

Milton has been the co-host (with Thais St. Julien) of Continuum since 1976. He is a true New Orleanean, born on Mardi Gras day, attending P. A. Capdau Grammar School and Warren Easton High School. After completing the five year program of the Tulane School of Architecture in 1956 he was drafted into the Army. After a two year stint in the combat engineers in Germany he returned to New Orleans to work with the architectural firm of Goldstein, Parham & Labouisse, becoming an associate in the firm of Parham & Labouisse after Mr. Goldstein’s death. He was appointed University Architect for Dillard University in 1972 and retired from that position in 2002.

Milton was a faculty member at the Tulane School of Architecture for 56 years, retiring in 2015 as Adjunct Professor of Architecture. He taught courses in drawing, photography, calligraphy, visual presentations and two courses that he designed himself; Architecture & Music and Architecture & Mysticism. Both courses involved his passions for music and magic.

Milton has taught piano since an 8th grade student at Capdau School. He studied piano for 16 years with Gordon Kirst, pianist at the original Roosevelt Hotel. While in Germany with the combat engineers he frequently performed as a pianist, and he also bought a Renaissance style recorder. After returning to New Orleans he began playing in a recorder ensemble, the Woodvine Recorder Consort, started by the then new South African Council General, Vere Stock. His growing love for early music culminated in the formation of New Orleans Musica da Camera in 1966. The ensemble is now the oldest continually performing early music ensemble in the world.

Many of the instruments used by Musica da Camera were constructed by Milton from original manuscript drawings. The ensemble now has the pleasure of owning well over 100 early instruments, including seven harpsichords, housed in its own building on Laurel St. in uptown New Orleans. In that building is Musica da Camera’s office, library of over 9,000 books and scores of early music, 4,000 CDs, rehearsal space and living quarters of Thaïs St. Julien (with her 3 cats), Milton’s co-director for Musica da Camera.

Equal to his passion for early music (particularly medieval and early Renaissance) is his passion for the music of Richard Wagner. He is an expert on Wagner with a deep knowledge of all of the composer’s operas, both German texts and scores, knowing all of them from memory. While still in high school, he taught himself German so that he could understand Wagner's librettos.

His third great passion is magic, as a performing art. He is a member of the Knights of Slights, and former or current officer of local chapters of the Society of American Magicians and the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Mentalism is his specialty; his performances have often made audience members more than a little uneasy about the transparency of their thoughts.

When not doing any of the above, he sleeps very soundly at night.

Ways to Connect

This week on Continuum you'll hear the music that was used in the 1972 movie, "Henry VIII And His Six Wives", performed by the Early Music Consort of London under the direction of the legendary David Munrow. Included in the performers is Christopher Hogwood on harpsichord and regal, a Renaissance reed organ. Henry VIII was also a prolific musician and composer. His most famous composition was the song, “Pastime With Good Company”, heard on this program. This is the movie sound track originally issued on an LP in the early 1970s but re-mastered for CD.

“Sumer Is Icumen In” (also called the Summer Canon and the Cuckoo Song) is a medieval English round song of the mid-13th century. This rota is the oldest known musical composition featuring six-part polyphony and is possibly the oldest surviving example of independent melodic counterpoint. It is featured on this week's Continuum along with other 13th century English music. CD recordings used will be Sumer Is Icumen In (The Hilliard Ensemble) - Chandos CHAN 9396, and Miri It Is (The Dufay Collective) - Harmonia Mundi HMA 1951154.

This week, Continuum features The Queen’s Delight, a special music program devoted to the 17th century English ballads and dances of the time of Elizabeth I. You’ll hear music by John Dowland, William Byrd, Thomas Robinson and, of course, the inimitable Anonymous, performed by members of The King’s Noyse early music ensemble. Also included are songs and dances from Shakespeare performed by The Broadside Band.

The unicorn is a legendary animal that has been described since antiquity. But it is also the name of an outstanding early music group from Europe, The Unicorn Ensemble, heard on this Continuum. The musicians are from Austria, Italy and Germany and specialize in playing historical instruments in fascinating programs, full of variety and played with artistry and great refinement.

Continuum this week presents part two of a program devoted to music from Ottaviano Petrucci's historic music publication, "Harmonice Musices Odhecaton," the first printed sheet music document, published in 1501. Petrucci (1466-1530) was the first to publish a collection of printed music of the period using movable type. Included in the selections are chansons, frottole, popular Italian dances & sacred music from that printed collection. Recordings used are: Petrucci - The First Printer of Music (N.Y. Pro Musica) - Copy of LP Decca DL 79435 and Praetorious / Susato (N.Y.

Continuum this week presents a program of dances from medieval times to the present performed by a wandering minstrel ensemble called "Wolgemut". They perform historical music on original instruments such as the medieval bagpipes, shawms and bombastic drums as well as quiet instruments like the flute, medieval fiddle and harp. Founded in Berlin, Germany, they have performed throughout the United States and Europe since 1997. They pride themselves on providing high quality entertainment guaranteed to leave the audience "in a good mood", which happens to be the translation of Wolgemut!

On Continuum this week will be a special program devoted Gregorian Chant, from a ten-CD set of the History of Music. Specifically, this volume covers musical Europe in the era of Gregorian unification. Gregorian chant developed mainly in western and central Europe during the 9th and 10th centuries, with later additions and redactions. Although popular legend credits Pope St. Gregory the Great with inventing Gregorian chant, scholars believe that it arose from a later Carolingian synthesis of Roman chant and Gallican chant.

This week on Continuum you’ll hear two very different performances of the earliest known song cycle, Cantigas de Amigo, (Songs of a Friend) by the mid 13th century Galician-Portuguese troubadour composer, Martin Codax. These love songs were composed to be sung by women. This is one of the few collections of medieval compositions by a known composer, of whom almost nothing is known. But, obviously he is very special to his present countrymen since Martin Codax wine is one of the best being produced in Galicia today!

The "La, La, La, La"  name of this week's Continuum program is based on the names of the four CDs featured on the program, all beginning with "La". These are four very different selections of early music, each with a different early music ensemble. The CDs used are: La Folia (Jordi Savall et al) - Alia Vox AV 9805; La Messe  des Fous (Barry Hayward Consort) - BNL112746; La Dolce Vita (King's Singers & Tragicomedia) - EMI CDC  7 541 91 2; and La Bele Marie (Anonymous 4) - Harmonia Mundi HMU 907312.

The instrumental consort music of English 17th century composer Anthony Holborne will be featured this week on Continuum. You'll hear many of his dances, including pavans, galliards and almaynes with interesting titles including "The Honeysuckle" and "The Fairie Round." The outstanding performances will be given by The King's Noyse under the director of David Douglas. Recording used is: My Selfe - The Music of Anthony Holborne (The King's Noyse) - Harmonia Mundi HMU 907238.

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