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Sunday, March 8, 2015


The 1497 death of Prince Juan, son of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, was indeed a catastrophe.  His succession was to have united the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon into a new kingdom of Spain.  In addition, his marriage to Margaret of Austria, the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, ensured that Spain would emerge as a Catholic superpower.  All of those dreams changed with the prince’s death.

The Basilica of Saint Mary.

Warm up before the concert.

Very little is known about Prince Juan’s funeral, and even less is known about the music performed for it.  We do know that composer Pedro de Escobar was at the court of Isabella I at the time, and we have pieces of his music that have survived.  From this, Jordan Sramek, Founder and Artistic Director of The Rose Ensemble, was able to piece together what most likely was Escobar's Requiem, and what may have been the requiem performed for Prince Juan’s funeral.

The stairwell leading to . . .

. . . The pre-concert lecture.

As you will well remember I am a huge fan of The Rose Ensemble, and last weekend I had the opportunity to hear them perform The Requiem of Pedro de Escobar, as their candlelight concert at the beautiful Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis.  The evening was truly spectacular.

 Dark Horse Consort opened the concert from the back balcony.

The Rose Ensemble takes the stage.

In addition to the program notes, we were treated to a more in depth introduction to Pedro de Escobar, his music, and the historical time period of these events, at the pre-concert lecture.  We also met The Rose Ensemble’s special guest instrumental group, Dark Horse Consort, who introduced us to the sackbut, and early ancestor of our modern trombone, and to the cornetto, a fairly antiquated instrument rarely seen nowadays.  I always love the pre-concert lectures as they give us a wealth of information and background on the performance we are about to see.

Dark Horse Consort.

The Rose Ensemble with Dark Horse Consort.

The choir area behind the Basilica's altar.

Prior to last weekend, I knew very little about Prince Juan or Pedro de Escobar, but now I’m please to say I find myself caught up in the intrigue and mystery of this wonderful time period.  The Rose Ensemble’s performance of The Requiem of Pedro de Escobar – which may or may not have been performed for the royal funeral - was amazing, and I left the performance feeling inspired as always.

What I wore to the concert:    
               Shirt:  Polo Ralph Lauren
               Sweater:  L.L. Bean
               Bow Tie:  Mill City Fineries
               Gray Flannel Pants:  Vintage
               Shoes:  Allen Edmonds Shelton
               Socks:  Polo Ralph Lauren

               Phone Case:  Fossil
               Watch:  Timex
               Watch Strap:  Brooks Brothers

***Do you have a favorite choral music group?

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