Happy New Year, and happy news!

Happy New Year to all our friends!! We are now barely ten weeks away from the release of Lucrezia Borgia’s Daughter, and we have more exciting news to share. Today, Laurie spent several hours at Broadcasting House with the delightful Donald Macleod, plying him with five-hundred-year-old gossip about nuns and noblewomen, and generally chewing the fat about all things Ferrara. Some judicious editing might well be needed, but once the producer has worked his magic, we will have a Composer of the Week series to be proud of: on the music of the women of Ferrara. The series will be aired on BBC Radio 3 during the week of International Women’s Day, and Lucrezia Borgia’s Daughter will be the focus of the programme on the day itself. We couldn’t wish for a better platform for the release of the recording – we are thrilled, of course!

Announcing our new recording

cd71x-lucrezias-daughter-cover-lo-resWe are delighted to announce that our forthcoming CD, Lucrezia Borgia’s Daughter, will be released on Obsidian Records early in 2017.  We are particularly pleased to be working with Obsidian, a label that has established itself as a leader in bringing together the highest standards of scholarship, musicianship, and production to their releases.  We hope that this is the beginning of an exciting and fruitful relationship!

Our research contributes to award-winning book

Eroticism in Early Modern Music (Routledge, 2015) - coverOh, we are so full of good news this week!  Shortly before the recording sessions, Laurie learned that a book she co-edited with the wonderful Bonnie Blackburn, Eroticism in Early Modern Music, has been chosen as Best Collaborative Project in the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women‘s 2016 awards. Both Laurie’s introduction, ‘Encoding the musical erotic’ and her contributed essay, ‘”Non è si denso velo”: hidden and forbidden practice in Wert’s Ottavo libro de madrigali a cinque  voci (Venice: Gardano, 1586)’ were informed by our research into the performance practice of Ferrara’s concerto di dame, and recorded on our 2002 disc, Dangerous Graces.  Laurie travelled to Bruges to accept the award during the meeting of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, and then travelled more or less straight from Belgium to Cuddesdon, pausing at home only to swap suitcases and reorganise to accommodate the celebratory chocolate. Of course.

Recording accomplished!

Musica Secreta has just spent a week at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, recording motets from RISM 1543/2, Musica quinque vocum motteta materna lingua vocata – thanks to development funding from Arts Council England, a generous grant from the Ambache Charitable Trustand our amazing Crowdfunder supporters.  Our fabulous Celestial Sirens joined us for a day, so not only were we able to make the most wonderful music with a group of committed and talented women, we were also able to catch up with old friends.  And we made new friends with the Cuddesdon Sisters, whose beautiful and inspiring chapel was the venue for our recording, and whose lovely new home was our lodging for the week.  We couldn’t have been made more welcome, and we couldn’t have chosen a better acoustic in which to record this special music. More….

Musica Secreta and Triora Musica join forces

In mid-July, Laurie and Deborah ran their first week-long course of female-voice polyphony, with optional morning yoga on the terrace, at Deborah’s house in Triora – part of Deborah’s summer workshop series Triora Musica.  The building, Casa Convento, is an ex-convent (very appropriate); participants (and tutors) stayed in well-appointed cells with views out over the Ligurian mountains. It was a lovely week, with heat, sun, thunderstorms, and breezes – and lots of pizza and prosecco after a hard day’s work. We kept cool in the afternoons by rehearsing in the town’s churches, including the tiny fourteenth-century church of San Bernardino, which nestles in the terraces below Casa Convento.

Lucrezia Borgia’s Daughter

We are so proud of everything that has happened this weekend.  The concert at the Brighton Early Music Festival was intense and uplifting, and we have been overwhelmed by the immediate generosity of our friends, raising over £1000 in the first forty-eight hours of our crowdfunding campaign. Keep an eye on the updates on the campaign website, http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/lucrezia-borgias-daughter – we will be post news there as well.  We’ve joined Facebook and Twitter, too!