JWG (jwg) wrote,

Music is important to me: early music - The Quadrivium

I had moved into what is now our house - but then just the 2nd and 3rd floor apartment and wanted a piano, but there wasn't really room so I decided to build my own harpsichord from a Zuckermann kit. It was pretty easy to build - it had a plain case unlike some of the pictures on the web site. So now I had a keyboard.

A few times a friend came over to play recorder with me playing the harpsichord. Which reminds me of a trip to Phoenix with my boss on a plane that had a piano in the back - we had brought music so we we played a few duets while flying. Some time ago after not playing it for a while I gave it away.

I got interested in playing the recorder so I bought one and went to a Boston Adult Education class. The instructor suggested that we go to the American Recorder Society - Boston chapter meeting in Cambridge. So I did. At those we all met in a big room and there was usually a mini-concert and then we divided up into little groups, consorts, to play the recorder. For several time the leader of the group I was in was Buffy Berg. Once the once the mini-concert was by a group called the Quadrivium, an early music group - Buffy was a member of it. Buffy then suggested to me that the leader of the Quadrivium, Marleen Montgovery, had classes in her house and I should go there - we did singing, recorder playing, and bowing stringed instruments and once in a while had an infornal concert. It was lots of fun.

And then Marleen suggested to me that I should join the Quadrivium. So I did and thus began a period of fascinating times. We had rehearsals every Wednesday night and gave concerts in December and May at local churches and the Gardner Museum - and occasionally trips to other places. And twice we were in the Revels. I remember one December when between our rehearsals, Revels rehearsals (both the Cambridge and Hanover shows), and the performances there was a 3-4 week period where I had something just about every night.

In 1973 I missed a couple of rehearsals early in the season because I took a trip to the Greek islands. I took my music with me and I remember once finding a spot on the Acropolis where there weren't other people and practiced.

Quadrivium did a range of early music: medieval, rennaissance, and early American plus Morris and sword dancing and other such things such as little humorous playlets. Marleen was an incredible person - very creative, somewhat disorganized, but a great leader. We were often surprised with annoucements about new music we were doing for a concert shortly before it or that there was to be another concert date. My role was mostly singing but played the recorder a bit and once a krumhorn. I remember doing Bean Setting, a Morris dance and a sword dance too. I bought a better recorder and some rennaissance recorders as well.

We made a record. Marleen suggested we meet at midnight in the Lexington church where we rehearsed so there would be minimal traffic noise. On the chosen night it turned out there was broken pipe and the DPW was there making much noise and said they would be there a while so we had to reschedule. Note the cover is a photo taken in the Gardner Museum courtyard (where you aren't allowed to go).

One of the members had constructed a harp at a workshop but wanted to sell it. I bought it and got to play it occasionally - O'Carolan pieces - for solos in concerts. I still have it, but don't play it - should try again.

At some point Marleen moved away - we tried to continue with several other directors who had been in the group but it wasn't the same so it ended. Sadly she died a few years later - we did have a very nice memorial event.
Tags: music, nostalgia, personal, quadrivium

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