And those who attended Saturday afternoon’s BLEMF program by the Ensemble Lanier watched and listened to Brady Lanier, master of the viola da gamba and descendant of Nicholas, whose music, along with that of other composers in the family, was featured on the program.
Ensemble Lanier’s other members include the fine lutenist Everett Redburn, distinguished recorder artists Eva Legene and Sarah Cantor and soprano Christina Lynch. They excelled.
Lynch, in particular, was important because much of the music performed was vocal in nature. Her voice, beautifully trained for this music of old, was a stunning instrument to carry the tones, sometimes magically floating them through the worship hall of the First Presbyterian Church, at other times piercing dramatically to address matters of romance or romance lost. Example: “Lo here I burn in such desire that all the tears that I can strain out of my empty love-sick brain cannot allay my scorching pain.”
The music, whether sincere or poking fun, enticed, thanks to Lynch and her instrumental colleagues and also to the melodies and harmonies left to us by creative composers attuned to their society of some 400 years ago.