Early Music In Context Lectures

An informal series of Lectures and Presentations on a variety of subjects related to early music – by performers, instructors and scholars. These lectures are free, and open to the general public.

Held at the UBC School of Music in Room 113 during the summer festival.

Semper Dowland, semper dolens – John Dowland’s quest for Eliza’s Grace

Ellen Hargis, Director of the Baroque Vocal Programme

Monday, July 27 at 5:30pm

John Dowland famously lamented being refused a post at the court of Elizabeth I, despite having a very successful career elsewhere. The texts of his songs testify to his frustration, as well as those of Robert Devereaux, Earl of Essex. We’ll also look at texts praising her virtues, her courtiers, and the cult of Elizabeth.

Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and John Blow’s Venus and Adonis – The birth of opera in English.

Matthew White, Artistic Director of Early Music Vancouver

Wednesday, July 29 at 5:30pm

While Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas can sound as innovative and fresh today as it must have sounded at its premiere, it is very closely modelled on Dr. John Blow’s Venus and Adonis. In this one-hour lecture, EMV Artistic Director provides background on Purcell’s life and career, discusses the many similarities between these two seminal English works and explores why opera as we know it today got off to such a slow start in England.

Between the Lines

Nigel North, Lute Professor at Indiana State University

Thursday, July 30 at 5:30pm

An illustrated talk on the connection between technique and rhetoric in 16th century lute music.

The ‘grand chant’ of the trouvères: performers in confrontation with medieval sources, transcriptions, performance traditions and early music orthodoxies.

Benjamin Bagby, Sequentia Ensemble for Medieval Music and Universite de Paris-Sorbonne

Monday, August 3 at 5:30pm

What are the obstacles that today’s performers face in trying to re-connect with orally-transmitted musical practices from 800 years ago? How do we gain access to that now-silent past? Looking at the documents provided by both medieval and modern ’transmitters’ (so-called ‘original’ manuscripts and modern editions) we musicians must ask how these might enable us to interpret and understand what was once a living musical practice. Or do these media and middle-men sometimes cloud our understanding?

Brahms and the Poets

David Gordon Duke, musicologist and music critic

Tuesday, August 4 at 5:30pm

Despite his great popularity, Brahms remains enigmatic: a stylistic conservative in a time of radical musical change, and a Romantic committed to Classical values. Brahms stubbornly defined his own way of creating music, holding to values he believed were of timeless significance. Brahms decided he had no talent for opera, yet his attitude to music with text is that of a composer acutely aware of the song legacy of Schubert and Schumann. In advance of Tyler Duncan and Erica Switzer’s EMV performance of Brahms songs, we will probe his strategies as a Lieder composer as an essential part of his search for musical quality