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From Machaut in Acadia to Perotin in the Colosseum


The Acadian Machaut was a wonderful experience – the combination of Peter Togni’s exquisite additions mediated by Jeff Reilly’s constantly creative bass clarinet  was a recipe for some great music making. Singing with Suzie LeBlanc and Charles Daniels again was a joy (both have made unique contributions to the Red Byrd discography: Suzie in Ivan Moody’s Passion & Resurrection and Charles’ revolutionary Record of John especially). And it was great to hear Canadian mezzo Andrea Ludwig too. Canadian hospitality is legendary and it was also good to chat with audience members. There are people over there for whom Red Byrd’s Songs of Love & Death was a life changing experience, and even some who’d bought Being Dufay!


We resolved the pronunciation problem by using French Latin for the Machaut bits and Italian for the Togni interpolations. This worked really well, and makes it clearer for listeners which is which. Well, up to a point – very little is unadulterated Machaut as almost all of it is mediated by Jeff Reilly’s stunning playing, weaving between styles and centuries. We did four concerts in beautiful Nova Scotia, and then recorded it. Look out for the CD – and if we do more performances come and hear it. Much of it has that spine chilling quality that comes when you get great composers (one living, one dead, in this case) and imaginative & sympathetic improvisers sparking off each other. The Togni/Reilly partnership is a formidable one.


I arrived back to a request to join my old Hilliard Ensemble colleagues in the Colosseum in Rome on the 15th.  No details yet – all I know is that I have to leave Helsinki at the crack of dawn and it’s probably Perotin. I guess this time the Christians will score an overwhelming victory if the PA is anything like what they use for rock concerts. My last ancient Roman experience was also with the Hilliards in the  theatre at Ephesus. That was an unforgetable experience, and unamplified. The Roman acousticians knew what they were about.


Next on the agenda is the Conductus conference at Southampton. Chris O’Gorman and I will be singing in various musicological presentations as well as doing a short concert with Rogers Covey-Crump (and film) on Monday 9th. This will be the first live performance by we three medieval tenors,  we’ll follow it up in Germany with a full length outing in the great church at Otterberg on the 22nd. The Conductus II CD is now ready to go and will be out in time for Christmas…


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One Response to “From Machaut in Acadia to Perotin in the Colosseum”

  1. […] of their illustrious predecessors and came out refreshed and inspired.  I had a great time in Canada last summer doing the first performances of Responsio. The recording we made will be released next autumn on […]

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