Musica da Camera's Continuum

Sundays at 6 a.m. on 89.9 WWNO & 8 p.m. on Classical 104.9
  • 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 42 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.

Continuum presents a program of early music performed by the 41 year old Ensemble Gilles Binchois, named after the Netherlandish composer who was one of the earliest members of the Burgundian school and one of the three most famous composers of the early 15th century. The French ensemble was founded in 1979 by Dominique Vellard. A quite varied program will be heard including the famous Mass of Notre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377), the first mass composed by a known composer.

Continuum presents selections from recordings of early performances of early music, namely the ensemble Studio der Frühen Musik and harpsichordist Colin Tilney. Studio der Frühen Musik (an American ensemble) was the prime early group performing early music from 1960-1980 and making many LP and CD recordings. Colin Tilney is an English keyboard performer on the harpsichord and pianoforte and one of the first keyboardists to record on the harpsichord.

Neo-Medieval is a term used by modern-day musicians who perform medieval music in a purely contemporary style. One thing this could mean is the possibility of using contemporary instruments and not the ones in use at the time of composition. Also, vocal selections could be extended to elongated elaborated interpretations of the original music. This Continuum presents three modern day American ensembles performing early music in the Neo-Medieval style.

Continuum this week will present a special New Year's program of early music, both sacred and secular and also festive. The sacred music is primarily from the Manuscrit du Puy which brings together a varied group of Aquitanian monodic and polyphonic chants for the New Year from the 12th to the 16th centuries. The secular music will be spirited French estampie dances of the 14th century. Performing will be Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Theatre of Voices and Ensemble Tre Fontane.

On this Continuum you'll hear a special program of early Christmas music performed by the New Orleans Musica da Camera. This is music from their CD, Natus Est, directed by Continuum hosts Milton Scheuermann and Thais St. Julien. A wide variety of early and some relatively recent music is on the program, including a very spirited medley of New Mexican dances. Included also are selections from the Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alfonso X (1221-1284).

French composer, Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764) was one of the most important composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. He was a dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord. This Continuum presents music composed for his funeral by another recognized French composer of the same period, Jean Gilles (1668-1705). Recording used: Rameau’s Funeral (Capriccio Stravagante et al directed by New Orleans born Skip Sempe) - Paradizo PA0013.

During the Renaissance period dancing was one of the most favored past times. On this Continuum you’ll hear music composed by three masters of that time. A Renaissance dance can be likened to a ball. Knowledge of court dances has survived better than that of country dances as they were collected by dancing masters in manuscripts and later in printed books. Recordings used are: Danses Populaires Francaises (The Broadside Band) - Harmonia Mundi HMA 1951152, and William Byrd - Virginals & Consorts (Capriccio Stravagante) - Auvidis E 8611.

The title of this Continuum, “Diminuito”, refers to a Renaissance style of early music performed by embellishing a melody through improvisation, much as a jazz group might do today. Renaissance musicians improvised tunes familiar to audiences of the time. It is performed by Rolf Lislevand, a Norwegian performer of early music specializing on lute, vihuela, baroque guitar and theorbo. He plays solo as well as with his own early music ensemble. The CD is Diminuito (Rolf Lislevand Ensemble) ECM New Series 2088.

The nightingale was a complex symbol for medieval writers. Her song was a reminder of both the joys and sorrows of earthly love. She is referred to very often in medieval songs, motets and polyphony. On this Continuum you'll hear some of this music in a recording of a live Musica da Camera concert. The program is from the Musica da Camera's CD, Praise To The Nightingale, Belle Alliance BA005.

This Continuum presents a program of the music of Bach. Two of the six Suites for Solo Cello will be performed by the outstanding cellist, Tess Remy-Schumacker. And excerpts from the motet repertoire of the composer will round out the program. The music is from the two CDs: Suites for Cello Solo: Nos. 1, 2 & 3 (Tess Remy-Schumacker) Xolo1011, and Johann Sebastian Bach Motetten (The Hilliard Ensemble) ECM 1875.

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