The Baltimore Consort
was founded in 1980 to perform English instrumental music of Shakespeare's time. They were later joined by soprano Custer La Rue in a concert of Scottish music (1983). In 1985 a program entitled The Ballad Monger explored the relationship between "folk" and "art" music in England. Since then, the Baltimore Consort has concentrated on British. French, and Italian music of the 16th and 17th centuries, improvising and creating their own arrangements in historical style. They have toured extensively and have held residencies at the Walters Art Gallery and the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston.
Mary Anne Ballard (viols and rebec)
researches the Consort's programs. She also plays with the Oberlin Consort of Viols. Formerly, she directed or coached early music at the Peabody Conservatory, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania, where she founded the Collegium Musicum.
Mark Cudek (cittern, early guitars, viol)
is Director of the Peabody Renaissance Ensemble of Johns Hopkins University. He is also Founder and Director of the High School Early Music Program at the Interlochen Arts Camp and Instructor in Guitar at Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, MD.
Custer LaRue (soprano)
an award-winning graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, has specialized in singing medieval and Renaissance music as well as traditional ballads. Her CDs The Daemon Lover and The True Lover's Farewell have received wide acclaim. She also tours as a ballad singer.
Larry Lipkis (viol, recorder, gemshorn)
Composer-in-Residence and Professor of Music at Moravian College, also directs the Collegium Musicum. He often incorporates medieval or Renaissance music into his own works. A recording of his cello concerto, Scaramouche, was recently released on the Koch label.
Ronn McFarlane (lutes),
in addition to being one of America's finest solo lutenists, performs lute songs with soprano Julianne Baird. Formerly, he taught lute and lute history at the Peabody Conservatory. He has recorded four discs of solo lute music as well as four lute-song albums for Dorian.
Chris Norman (wooden flutes, bagpipe), "
the best traditional flute player in the country", plays with the trio Helicon and fiddler Alisdair Fraser. His Dorian solo albums include Man with a Wooden Flute, and The Beauty of the North, the latter featuring traditional music of Chris's native Nova Scotia.
The Baltimore Consort is represented by: Joanne Rile Artists Management, Inc. 100 Old York Road, Suite 1206, Jenkintown, PA 19046-3613 215-885-6400
Our title, Bright Day Star, is drawn from William Dunbar's stunning Advent poem on Rorate coeli desuper, which the 1928 editors of the Oxford Book of Carols set to a "little-known Scottish melody". In spite of its unfamiliarity, it is surely one of the finest Christmas texts in existence. Its imagery bathes the redeemed world in shimmering light and harmony. The bright day star is the sun, and the sun, the Son.
One cannot step into an elevator, fast-food restaurant, or airport between Thanksgiving and New Year's without hearing most of the tunes on our program. This traditional music, with roots going back many centuries, revives our spirits and evokes a festive mood. Although a connoisseur of the most elaborate polyphonic music of his time, Martin Luther recognized the power of these sturdy tunes to move us. They have been part of our cultural subconscious for centuries. They have not been lost and then unearthed in recent times, like so much "early music". They have been with us all along.