In the Mode

Sundays at noon

Every week on In the Mode, listeners travel back in time to the Renaissance and medieval eras to hear early music performed on with attention to authenticity. Host and producer of In the Mode, Kristina Herrick, has been involved in the performance and research of "ancient music" since the 1980s, and each week  shares with listeners some of the most exciting recorded performances of early music, often including folk and modern music as it can be related to the ancient forms.

This week we will hear music played on an instrument that developed from the vihuela or Spanish guitar, it has 6 strings and frets, but is bowed, and held by the legs, someone called it a bowed guitar, we’ll explore the sound of the viola da gamba. CD Title                                             PERFORMER                       CD label Lawdes Deo                                        Hesperion XX                         ASTREE 8708 Odhecaton                                           Fretwork                                 HARMONIA MUNDI 907291 Four Seasons                            

The Lute was a most useful instrument in early times, it was important to have a lutenist at court to entertain, either to accompany singers telling tales, sometimes he was also the singer; the most important instrument for secular music in the Renaissance. There are many lutenists active today, and next time on In the Mode we’ll hear lute duets played by Ronn McFarlane and William Simms. 

We don’t usually hear music by Bach on In the Mode, he is just a little bit too young, but next time we will, because the recording featured is called Bach and Before.  Each of the composers featured were proponents of the stylus fantasticus, a term which had its roots initially in the improvisational and virtuosic style of organ toccatas and fantasias. We’ll hear Chatham Baroque perform music by Bach, Bertali, Schmelzer and Buxtehude.

CD Title: Bach and BeforePerformer: Chatham BaroqueCD label: Chatham Baroque CB002 

This time on In the Mode, hear music by Heinrich Schütz. He "created a new style of music after studying in Venice with Gabrieli and Monteverdi, a combination of his German experience with the Italian, and he influenced his countrymen Samuel Scheidt and Johann Hermann Schein with this new style. They were friends, with similar musical beginnings, Schein excelled in the madrigal style, Scheidt was more important as organist." 


Tapestry - Paramount Brass - Centaur 2355

I will feature early German composers on the next two programs of In the Mode, there aren’t as many known German composers of the Renaissance as there are French, Italians, Brits and Netherlanders, but we have 3 who were born a year apart and knew each other, Schütz. Schein and Scheidt, Schütz being the most influential after studying with Giovanni Gabrieli in Italy and adding instruments to church music.


CD TITLE                                          PERFORMER                                   CD label

The consort of viols called Parthenia is featured next time on In the Mode, an ensemble in residence at Corpus Christi Church in New York.  The CD featured is called Within the Labyrinth, exploring a collection of music intending to reflect the healing and spiritual aspects of the Labyrinth-walking experience.  We’ll hear a suite of dances by Samuel Scheidt, a couple of Brownings, a fun form from Renaissance England-- and more. 

CD Title: Within the Labyrinth

Performer: Parthenia

CD label: available at

In the Mode will feature the lute---a bunch of lutes next time, voices too. We usually think of the lute as a solo instrument, or accompanying a singer, often the lutenist was both.  This program shows that lutes were frequently brought together into ensembles, most often duets, but sometimes the groups were larger, trios and quartets might have played for dancing, and masques. 

CD title:  Three, Four and Twenty Lutes

Performers: Jakob Lindberg, Robert Meunier, Nigel North, Paul O’Dette

CD label: MHS 512204

Music of the Trecento next time on In the Mode.  14th century Italy was a strange time of contrasts-- wars, the black plague and the schism in the church with 2 popes –but at the same time a new creative surge in the arts was taking place.  Names that are still familiar; poets Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, the painter Giotto and in music too, the most important being Francesco Landini.  

CD title: Rosa e Orticha

Performer: Ensemble Syntagma

CD label: CARPE DIEM 16287

Wildcat Viols will play for us next time on In the Mode. Members of the trio are three of San Francisco bay area’s favorite early string specialists, Joanna Blendulf, Julie Jeffrey and Elisabeth Reed. We’ll hear them play music by England’s Henry Purcell, hailed as the English Orpheus, the motto, “a greater musical genius England never had."  

CD title: Fairest Isle

Performer: Wildcat Viols

CD label: Wildcat Viols Fairest Isle

This week on In the Mode, some especially beautiful choral music from the 16th to the 21st centuries.  We will hear eight completely different settings on the text O Magnum Mysterium which tells the wonderful story of the animals being the first to see the baby in the manger, from Byrd to Poulenc to Lauridsen, sung by diverse ensembles.  

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