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Wednesday, February 27, 2013


As I mentioned before, I am a HUGE fan of the Rose Ensemble, a choral group based here in the Twin Cities.  While I am not always able to attend all of their concerts each year, I always make a point to attend their Candlelight Concert which takes place each February.  Over the years, it has become one of my favorite winter events.

 The Rose Ensemble

On Saturday, February 16, some friends and I attended this year’s performance.  Once again, the concert was held at the Basilica of St. Mary here in Minneapolis, which offers an appropriate environment for this music. The acoustics there are quite lovely as the music resonates throughout the space.

 The Basilica of St. Mary

An hour before the performance, Jordan Sramek, Founder/Artistic Director of The Rose Ensemble, conducts a pre-concert workshop giving history and background to the music that will be performed that evening.  These education sessions are very informative and provide an excellent context for us as we approach the music we will be listening to.

Setting up for the concert

Warming up

I was looking forward to this concert of music from the Rhineland, as it was sure to feature some pieces from Hildegard of Bingen – a “kindred spirit” for me.  While there were a couple of Hildegard’s songs in the line up, the concert centered heavily the work of Frauenlob (Heinrich von Meissen) who I was not familiar before that evening – another good reason to attend the pre-concert lecture.

Frauenlob conducting his music

Frauenlob, a nickname, means “praise of women” or more likely “praise of Our Lady”.  The music we heard that evening was written to honor Mary and show her great love and devotion - although at times the text was rather uncomfortably sensuous in it praise.  As Jordan reminded us, the folks of this era hadn’t met the Victorians yet.  Frauenlob was so loved by women because of his chivalrous devotion to them, that it’s said the woman of Mainz carried his beir to the cathedral when he died in 1318.  Women also restored his tomb in 1783, and erected a monument to his memory near his tomb in 1842.

As always, the Concert was superb, and my friends and I had a wonderful time.

For the evening, I wore yellow cotton buttoned down shirt with a red cashmere sweater vest, which I paired with green corduroy pants from Lands End.  The finishing touches included a rep striped bow tie from Brooks Brothers with matching rugby striped socks, also from Brooks Brothers, and cordovan cap toe shoes.

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