Renaissance Cuple playing the Lute

Early Music History

The Journal celebrates its 30th anniversary and presents us with a gift

New to early music history? Or just not quite familiar with this very specialized field? Now is the chance to rectify it. This year the journal, Early Musical History, celebrates its 30th anniversary and current editor Iain Fenlon has been to the archives and dug out seven of his favorite articles. Free for all until 31st of August 2012.

One of the articles worth a (re)visit is by John Milsom, who in 1997 wrote a fascinating article on some hitherto unknown fragments of songs published by John Rastell. He was not only a leading figure in the development of law books and a significant figure in the publication of books on theology. He was also the first printer to create types for music.  The article demonstrates how there must have existed at least some market for songs and music published as broadsheets and used for public entertainment in the private wood-panelled Tudor homes, apart from the more refined court and elite circles.

Even though it is difficult to get a feeling for this more comely and less refined musical output, one might supplement the article with the recent album with Tudor Music by Stile Antico: “Tune thy Musicke to thy Hart: Tudor & Jacobean music for private devotion”. Her one may listen with joy to the music of not only Tallis, Tomkins and Byrd, but also a composer like John Amner and the simplicity of the work of Thomas Champion; most of them composing somewhat later than the milieu of John Rastell, but nevertheless giving the ears a sweet feeling for what it must have felt like to step into the homes of one of the wealthier burghers in London at that time.

Stile Antico is an ensemble of young British singers, now established as one of the most original and exciting new voices in its field. Much in demand in concert, the group performs regularly throughout Europe and North America. Their recordings on the Harmonia Mundi label have enjoyed great success, receiving the Diapason d’Or de l’année, the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik and twice attracting GRAMMY nominations.

Early Music History