The Early Music Show: High Renaissance

Today’s edi­tion of our month­ly pro­gramme on Ear­ly Music focus­es pri­mar­i­ly, though not exclu­sive­ly, on the High Renais­sance peri­od, which is gen­er­al­ly regard­ed as occu­py­ing the peri­od between around 1490 and 1527.

The best-known com­pos­er of this peri­od – and pos­si­bly the best-known Renais­sance com­pos­er of all – is Michael Prae­to­rius (1571–1621).

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 is pre­sent­ed by Elrik Mer­lin and pro­duced by Radio Riel in con­junc­tion with the Alexan­dri­an Free Library Con­sor­tium of Sec­ond Life. You can lis­ten to the pro­gramme now at; out­side the US, tune to in-world, or sim­ply click here if your brows­er is con­fig­ured to launch a play­er auto­mat­i­cal­ly.

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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