Madrigalia and the Pastyme Consort presented their annual Renaissance Music concert at All Saints Church in Carmel on Saturday, June 4. The audience was welcomed to All Saints Church with its wonderful gardens and pleasing acoustics for the outstanding evening of delightful musical selections by Thomas Morley, John Dowland, William Cornyshe, Orlando Gibbons and others. With musicians dressed in period costumes the audience was swept away into the gentle world of recorders, mandolin, harpsichord, treble and bass viol, violin, percussion and lovely singing voices giving us their love of the music from the Renaissance period. Jeff DeMarco is truly an outstanding artistic director with a generous vision for the treasures of the Renaissance world. DeMarco was equally comfortable directing singers and his consort, as well as joining the consort ensemble on his bass viol. He entertained his listeners in between his selections with wit, history and insight which added to the charming evening and impressed all with his knowledge.
The program was divided into ten groups of songs or instrumental pieces. There was a delightful flow to the variety and mix of a cappella singing, consort pieces with or without singers, antiphonal singing, solo singers and dramatic presentations. De Marco was again on target with the many subtleties of phrasing, tempi and nuances of the Renaissance spirit. We were entertained with an opening selection by the very capable consort, which set the standard for the evening to come. A cappella singing reflected joy and rhythmic energy of “It was a lover and a lass” from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” by Thomas Morley with words by Shakespeare. Jody Lee’s singing in “Where the bee sucks,” from Shakespeare’s “Tempest” was a pure delight with her soaring high notes and sophisticated ornaments easily maneuvered throughout her song. Shakespeare’s texts reminded us of timeless and current realities still present today. The dramatic scene from “Twelfth Night” with four men cleverly delivering Shakespeare’s messages was a surprise and delight to the listener. Perhaps a highlight of the evening was the antiphonal singing of the choir with the consort in Orlando Gibbons’ The Cries of London, part 1. The singers and instrumentalists participated in taking turns to deliver this entertaining piece. It is hard to determine what was the highlight of the evening. Perhaps another highlight was the consort performing “La Morisque” arranged by Tielman Susato or “Greensleeves to a Ground” by Godfrey Finger with Jackie Pierce and Shirley Tofte on violin. Throughout the evening there was a high standard of continuous dramatic, artistic and musical entertainment. Kudos to Jeff De Marco and his Madrigalia and Pastyme Consort for and outstanding evening of music!