From the Library: The Early Music Show—Music of the Renaissance

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Monday, 3 August, 2009

In today’s programme of music of the Renaissance period from across Europe, we will be featuring the music of Michael Praetorius (1571–1621), today perhaps the best-known composer of the period.

Born Michael Schultze (“Praetorius” is a Latinised form of the name) and the son of a German Lutheran preacher, he was an exceptionally prolific composer. He wrote a great many works for the Lutheran church including a collection of over a thousand chorales and sacred songs.

He also composed a wealth of secular music, of which unfortunately much is probably lost. However what we do have is marvellous: Terpsichore (pronounced “Terp-SIC-oree”), published in 1612, is a compendium of over 300 instrumental dances of which some are well-known even today, and pieces from this immense work form the backbone of modern performances of Renaissance music. We will be hearing diverse selections from this work today.

Praetorius was also a prolific writer, and his most important work of which we are aware is the 3-volume Syntagma Musicum, an extraordinary compendium of information on musical instruments and practice of the High Renaissance. This work has been extremely important in informing the instrumentation and performance of Renaissance music in modern times.

In addition to the work of Praetorius, we’ll be hearing a comprehensive selection of music of the period from across Western Europe.

Today’s programme on Radio Riel is presented by Elrik Merlin and produced in conjunction with the Alexandrian Free Library Consortium of Second Life. You can tune in now at .

For more information on the Alexandrian Free Library, current exhibits and the work of Consortium members in general, please visit the Alexandrian Free Library website, or one of their branches in-world.


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