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Valley Public Radio Staff
In the Mode
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.
It was only in the last century which wasn't very long ago, that performers started attempting to play ancient music they way it may have sounded originally, thus opening a whole new field of research, going backwards instead of into the future. Obviously, there is no way to hear how it sounded, but through paintings and literature, we can imagine the sound by seeing what instruments looked like, and descriptions of sounds in writings of the time. Some ancient instruments exist, and makers are creating good replicas today. We have manuscripts of old music, at first painstakingly copied by hand, then the invention of the printing press began a flood of accessible music after Petrucci printed the first collection Harmonie Musices Odhecaton (One Hundred Songs of Harmonic Music) in 1501.
Since about the 1950s, performers of and audiences for early music have grown consistently, charmed by the beauty and power of this music, the public and players alike falling in love with the tranquil eloquence of old instruments and playing styles. The Studio der Frühen Musik, Sequentia, New York Pro Musica, and the Early Music Consort of London were some of the first ensembles to record authentic performances of early music. Since then, a growing number of increasingly good ensembles are researching, performing and recording early music.