November 4, 1997
The Orlando Consort Brings “The Birth of
the Renaissance” to Middlebury College’s Center for the Arts
Praises for the Orlando Consort:
“The balance of intellect and musicianship is just about
perfect, and fits the repertory like a glove.” — Gramophone
“Perfection was reached by the Orlando Consort. The intonation
was impeccable, the tone was rich and refined, and the timing
faultless. The concert was pure food for the gods and the whole
audience was breathless.” — N.R.C. Handelsblad, Holland
The Orlando Consort, founded in 1988 by the Early
Music Centre of Great Britain, will present “The Birth of
the Renaissance,” on Saturday, November 15, at 8 p.m. in
the Concert Hall of the Center for the Arts at Middlebury College.
A pre-concert talk will be given by John Milsom, Christian A.
Johnson Professor of Music, at 7:00 p.m. in the Concert Hall.
The Orlando Consort has rapidly achieved a reputation
as one of the most expert and consistently challenging groups
performing a 500 year-old repertoire. The four musicians-a baritone,
two tenors and a countertenor-will give the Middlebury audience
a tour of some of the great musical masterpieces of the 15th
Century, a period of time at the fulcrum of the Middle Ages and
the Renaissance when patronage of the arts became increasingly
more important to the strengthening courts of Europe. “The
Birth of the Renaissance” is Orlando Consort’s
mixture of the astonishingly beautiful music of artists emerging
from an era of anonymously composed pieces, to a time where individuals
gained fame through the courts’ rivalry for patronage.
“The Birth of the Renaissance” will include
the Ave Maria coelorum of Guillaume Dufay, a singer in
the papal choir who became one of the most famous and sought-after
composers of the mid-1400s; De plus en plus, composed by
Gilles Binchois whose economic harmonies and clearly defined structure
was blended with an unforgettable grace that stamped the Burgundian
court style on music all over Western Europe; and Vultum tuum
deprecabantur, a collection of seven short motets by Josquin
des Prés, the unchallenged pre-eminent French composer
at the end of the century, and one of the greatest single influences
on composers throughout the upcoming 16th Century.
The Orlando Consort have appeared in sell-out concerts
at the prestigious Utrecht Early Music Festival in Holland; the
London Early Music Festival; and other festivals in Ireland, Germany,
Spain, Belgium, Italy and Austria. During the 1996-97 season,
they performed in two of London’s most notable venues, Wigmore
Hall and the Purcell Room; and in 1997 made their North American
debut with headline concerts at the Boston Early Music Festival.
The Consort have made a number of recordings, and won the 1996
Gramophone Magazine Award for Best Early Music for their album,
“The Music of John Dunstable.” They are also recipients
of the American Musicological Society’s Noah Greenberg Award.
The American Record Guide praises the Consort, saying “Such
a generous and varied sampling, most previously unrecorded, performed
by sensitive singers who are both artistic interpreters and sensitive
assimilators of the latest musicology, clearly recorded, with
full texts and musical translations - all this adds up to a major
contribution to the medieval discography, as well as a fascinating
Professor Milsom’s pre-concert talk will focus on
Johannes Ockeghem, courtier and diplomat, singer and composer.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of Ockeghem’s
death, and the Orlando Consort will perform several of his pieces
during the concert following the talk, including his intimate
and heartfelt composition of Ave Maria.
To order tickets, call the Middlebury College Center
for the Arts Box Office at 802-443-6433. General admission is
$9; admission for Middlebury College faculty, staff and seniors
is $7; and $4 for Midd students. Sponsored by the Middlebury
College Concert Series.