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The Medieval Lady

Elizabethan Conversation was founded in 1982 as a lute duet specializing in the music of Shakespeare's time. The ensemble now performs various repertoires.

Susan G. Sandman is an early music performer and musicologist who received her B.A. in music from Vassar College and a Ph.D. in musicology from Stanford University. A Professor of Music at Wells College in New York's Finger Lakes region, she teaches music history courses and directs the Wells Consort, a student group that performs on Period instruments. Dr. Sandman is published in journals in the areas of early music and women composers, and researches the music for programs and recordings by ELIZABETHAN CONVERSATION.

Derwood Crocker began private music study during his childhood. His skills in design and traditional woodworking led to the making of musical instruments, and he has been a full-time craftsman/musician since 1965. The Crocker workshop has produced hundreds of instruments, many of them one of a kind, for performers nationwide. His instruments are in the collections of numerous colleges and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He performs in ELIZABETHAN CONVERSATION and lectures on the history of early instruments for workshops and seminars.

Soprano Andrea Folan earned degrees in voice and German from the Oberlin Conservatory and College and did graduate work in performance practice at the Mannes College of Music in New York. Her special interest in the German Lied repertoire with fortepiano has led to extensive performances in the U.S. and abroad with acclaimed fortepianists, including Malcolm Bilson, in recital series and at festivals, including Festival Flanders (Brugge, Belgium), and the Boston Early Music Festival. Andrea recently released a solo CD of Haydn songs with fortepiano to critical acclaim. Her early music credentials include performances with the Folger Consort and Apollo's Fire, among others. She is a founding member of The Publick Musick and is also an active oratorio specialist. She maintains a private voice studio in addition to her duties as a vocal coach at Cornell University.

Performance Practices

Manuscripts of medieval songs contain only melody, with no indication of instrumentation. We chose to use psaltery, fiddle, lute, symphonia, and organetto, instruments common in the 12th and 13th centuries. In keeping with early practices in performance, we have added our own counter-melodies, ornamentation, and, where manuscripts are ambiguous, rhythmic interpretation. The later songs appear more complete in manuscripts. Single-line melodies are replaced with multipart compositions. We perform them in the English lute song style, with voice, lute and bass viola da gamba. Lute realizations for the three Mary Harvey songs were supplied by Dr. Sandman."

-Susan G. Sandman




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