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In Stile Moderno: Lute Songs of John Dowland and Contemporaries
November 15, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Boston-based early music ensemble In Stile Moderno returns to Brattleboro on Friday, November 15 at 7:30 pm for the ﬁrst concert of its 2019–2020 season, with “Come Again: Lute Songs of John Dowland and his Contemporaries,” a concert of songs for lute and four voices from early seventeenth-century England.
The concert will be held at the Brattleboro Music Center, 72 Blanche Moyse Way, Brattleboro, VT. Tickets are $20/$10 and are available at instilemoderno.com or at the door.
Motivated by a desire to experience the music of John Dowland as it would have originally been performed, the ensemble’s founders, Brattleboro native Nathaniel Cox (lute) and Agnes Coakley Cox (soprano) invited Boston-based singers Sophie Michaux, Corey Dalton Hart and Adam Jacob Simon to form a four-voice ensemble for this concert. Together, the singers have worked to integrate the use of historical pronunciation of English (the “accent” that would have been heard in the London of Shakespeare’s time) into their singing, and to read from a facsimile of the original sheet music—which requires the four singers to sit around one table.
Although often performed as solos, many of the lute songs of John Dowland and his contemporaries have four vocal parts, explains Coakley Cox. “Hearing these songs in the rich texture of a four-voice ensemble really brings them to life, and using the original pronunciation adds a new color—more direct, earthier. Words which wouldn’t rhyme in modern pronunciation suddenly rhyme. It’s a fascinating way to look at English music.” The songs, interspersed with several lute solos performed by Cox, range from melancholy to light-hearted and fantastical.
In Stile Moderno was founded in 2012 and is dedicated to making rarely-heard works of the seventeenth century accessible and relevant to modern audiences. 2019–2020 marks the group’s second season in Cambridge, MA and Brattleboro, VT.