We had a wonderful week this July at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, working on English lute songs from the early seventeenth century. If you've ever heard John Dowland's famous song "Come again" and wondered why the lines "To see, to hear, to touch, to kiss, to die / With thee again, in sweetest sympathy" annoyingly don't rhyme, the first concert of our 2019-2020 season will be one to watch out for! We worked intensively at Avaloch on applying Original Pronunciation (the historical pronunciation of English around 1600, the time of Shakespeare) to lute songs by Dowland, Campion, and others. Learning to sing in a new language is always challenging—and learning a new dialect of English is perhaps just as difficult, because we have to change so many of our old habits around diction and vocal production when vowels are different from usual! Having a whole week to work at Avaloch was immensely helpful to immerse ourselves in this new sound world.
Huge thanks go to all the administrators and staff of Avaloch for having us back for our third residency. It's always intense, refreshing, delicious, and inspiring!