Early Music Ensemble
The University of Louisville Early Music Ensemble is dedicated to the performance of music from the medieval, renaissance, and baroque eras. In addition to a choral group (anywhere from 15-25 people), students play in ensembles using the university's collection of over 50 historical instruments including recorders, baroque and renaissance flutes, krummhorns, viols, lute, theorbo, and various medieval instruments such as harp, rebec, and organetto. The EME has two special subsets of activity: harpsichord instruction, and a violin band/Baroque orchestra. Harpsichord players have two instruments for their use, a Flemish single and a French double, with students meeting in a weekly class format and playing baroque sonata literature as continuo players. The string ensemble of violins, violas and cellos specializes in dance music, canzonas, and orchestral music of the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. The various components of the Early Music Ensemble typically join forces for one major concert each term, with numerous special demonstrations and other performance opportunities throughout the year both on and off campus. In addition to performing in the two recital halls at the School of Music, the EME appears frequently in the Chapel of Our Lady and St. Philip, built in the 1890s as a copy of a Roman church and recently decommissioned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville. The chapel lies in the historic Old Louisville district, a few blocks north of the Music School on the main U of L campus.
The Early Music Ensemble's repertory varies considerably from year to year, based on the number and interests of participants. In addition to a wide selection of motets, secular polyphony, and various instrumental pieces, the group has offered complete performances of the Messe de nostre dame (Machaut), Missa l'homme arme sexti toni and Missa Ave maris stella (Josquin), Missa carminum (Isaac), Jephte (Carissimi), and Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. Other program themes have included a multimedia presentation to investigate concordances between music, art, and architecture of the 15th-17th centuries; the intermedii for the performance of Il Commodo during the Medici wedding of 1539; The Roman de Fauvel; "A Day in the Life of Henry Unton" (a typical day's worth of music in the life of an Elizabethan gentleman); and "Music for the Sinking of the Spanish Armada."