Musica da Camera's Continuum

Sundays at 6 a.m.
  • Hosted by Milton Scheuermann and Thais St. Julien

The first Continuum broadcast was in February, 1976, and was hosted by Milton Scheuermann. Thais St. Julien joined him on the second, and the two have continued to co-host the weekly program ever since. During the past 41 years, they’ve produced over 1900 programs! Continuum has been a winner of the Early Music America/Millennium of Music National Radio Competition, and received the KXMS Fine Arts Radio International Award (Classical Radio Programing with Educational Content).

In addition to presenting a variety of recorded music of the middle ages, Renaissance and Baroque from the Musica da Camera’s 4,000 CD collection, the co-hosts have interviewed a number of internationally known performers, including John Reeves White (director of the New York Pro Musica) David Munrow (director of the Early Music Consort of London), Anonymous 4, and members of the Boston Camerata, and Sequentia. The program has also featured recordings of live early music concerts of both Musica da Camera and guest artists.

La Folia is one of the most important anonymous melodies of the 15th & 16th centuries. It has been reported to have variations composed for it by over 400 composers over the years. Probably the most notable variation of the La Folia is by Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713). This week on Continuum you'll hear this composition and others from a few notable composers extending into the present day.

Continuum presents a live recording of a recent Musica da Camera concert about Love. The music is of diverse places and times and includes selections by medieval composers Petrus de Cruce, La Comtessa de Dia, Guillaume de Machaut and, of course, the ubiquitous Anonymous. The concert was recorded in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in New Orleans. The program is from the Musica da Camera's CD, Love Is Where You Find It, Belle Alliance BA007.

Continuum presents dance music that may have been heard in The Garden of Mirth (a garden of love) from the 13th Century poem, The Romance of the Rose, a medieval French poem styled as an allegorical dream vision. It is a notable instance of courtly literature. The work's stated purpose is to both entertain and to teach others about the Art of Love. At various times in the poem, the "Rose" of the title is seen as the name of the lady, and as a symbol of female sexuality in general.

Continuum presents harpsichord music by the Baroque French composer and harpsichordist, Francois Couperin (1668-1733). His most intriguing harpsichord work without a doubt is "The Mysterious Barricades". Music historians and scholars have never been able to give a reason for the name of the composition. Perhaps Couperin had a future vision of the many streets in uptown New Orleans that were closed by barricades and repaired as a result of hurricane Katrina in 2005. New Orleans born harpsichordist Skip Sempe performs these interesting compositions.

One of the most famous gifted musicians in the field of early music is the Catalan viol player, Jordi Savall. He is truly a master of the instrument. On this Continuum you’ll hear his extraordinary playing of historical Celtic music. Joining him is the outstanding medieval harpist, Andrew Lawrence-King . Both the viol and harp are rarely heard together in performance. This it truly a remarkable and memorable CD. The CD used is: The Celtic Viol (Jordi Savall, Andrew Lawrence-King et al) - AliaVox AVSA 9878.

Dancing in the Middle ages was one of the most popular pastimes. There are some medieval and Renaissance dances that have come down to us. Unfortunately quite a few of the popular dances were not written down because it was assumed that everybody knew them. On this Continuum you’ll hear some of the 45 or so dances that we do have available from early written sources. Recordings used are: A Dance in the Garden of Mirth (The Dufay Collective) - Chandos CHAN 9320, and Istanpitta II (New York’s Ensemble for Early Music) - Lyrichord LEMS 8022.

Terpsichore was the Greek Muse of the Dance. The name also refers to a collection of Renaissance dances collected by the 17th century Michael Praetorius. This Continuum presents a recording of some of these dances performed by the Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra of Paris under the direction of New Orleanean Skip Sempe, The recording used is Terpsichore, Paradizo PA0011.

Continuum presents music performed by the medieval music Ensemble Altramar, founded in 1991 in Bloomington, Indiana. The ensemble specializes in music of the medieval Era, sharing historical repertory. Altramar, in the Occitan language of the troubadours, was the name given to the Near Eastern lands that lay “over the sea;” the lands where Crusade and trade resulted in the rich cultural interchange of East and West. Recordings by Altramar used are: Nova Stella  - Dorian DIS-80142, Saint Francis and the Minstrels of God - Dorian DIS-80143, and Crossroads of the Celts - Dorian DOR-93177.

This week on Continuum you'll hear a recording of a live New Orleans Musica da Camera concert from October 5, 2014. It is “A Voice Still Heard - Medieval Sephardic Song”, recorded at Ursuline Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Chapel in New Orleans. This is a repeat of a concert give by Musica da Camera in 1990 at Gates of Prayer Synagogue in New Orleans and broadcast nationally over American Public Radio. The recording is on the CD, A Voice Still Heard - Belle Alliance BA 011.

This week Continnum presents music from the first music publication of the Italian printer, Ottaviano dei Petrucci (1466-1530), who was the first to publish in 1501 a collection of music of the period  printed 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. Pro Musica) - Universal UMD80565.

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