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by Daniel Hathaway

Broken-ConsortMusic from nunneries is the source for two fascinating concerts of early music by distinguished ensembles this month. On March 20, the Newberry Consort will celebrate the new gallery organ at the Church of the Covenant with late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century music from Spanish and Mexican convents.

Last Friday evening, the Boston-based Broken Consort visited the Helen D. Schubert concert series at St. John’s Cathedral in Cleveland to present a program of medieval Spanish music called “Burgos, 1275” featuring music from the royal Las Huelgas Convent, selections from the monophonic collection of Marian songs, the Cantigas de Santa Maria, and improvisations on Sephardic and Arabo-Andalucian tunes that brought all three of the prevailing Iberian cultural streams into the mix. It was an era in which three religious traditions flourished side by side and seem to have gotten along well. Their respective music certainly meshed perfectly during this concert, providing the five excellent singers and instrumentalists with a wealth of built-in variety and contrast. Read the rest of this entry »

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