MORE THAN A THOUSAND YEARS separate us from the oldest Western music preserved in manuscript form.
We cannot say exactly how the obscure diagrams guided ancient monks in the distinctive singing we know as Gregorian chant, but scholars find in them hints of the immeasurable, tantalizing wealth of beautiful music that followed, evolving with exuberant elaboration and invention through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and well into the 1700s.
FROM UNISON CHANT TO MINUETS, the offerings of this vast treasury we call Early Music wield powers and pleasures that strike the ear and spirit as rewardingly as those of any music that has followed.
The appeal is enriched, of course, by an aura of great age and by seeming echoes of Medieval courts and cathedrals, rustic concerts of lute and bawdy song, and the gowned-and-bewigged ballrooms of the Baroque.
Also vital to Early Music’s charm has been the ironic effect of its eclipse by music that came after. Early Music’s reliance on tradition and memory rather than detailed notation, and the age’s general disregard for music of the past were among the reasons it all but vanished in the shadow of newer forms and styles. Its revival, beginning in the 1960s, has thus been fueled by a mystique of lost artistry as well as by its countless, often exotic distinctions from the music that for more than two centuries has dominated programming in classical concert halls.
THE ROMANCE OF REDISCOVERY, the ongoing rescue of forgotten music and performance practices, and the reappearance of period instruments assure an ever-refreshed life for the glories of long unheard sounds. A growing audience has fostered corresponding growth in a spirited community of specialized music-makers and presenters. Organizations both national and local serve in promoting concerts in which accomplished performers render superb, precisely researched interpretations of treasures drawn from six hundred years of Early Music.
Early Music Now, one of the oldest and most respected of such presenting organizations, is further distinguished by its “Across Borders, Across Time” philosophy, which has introduced Milwaukee audiences to internationally renowned ensembles from countries around the globe, including Japan, Tibet, Egypt, India and Cuba. We bid you welcome, and invite you to explore and enjoy Early Music through our current offerings – online and in concert.