Baltimore Consort Returns to Waco Feb. 25

Feb. 18, 1997

by Richard Veit

After an absence of five years, the enormously popular early music group, The Baltimore Consort, makes a return trip to Waco and the Baylor University campus at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, with a Distinguished Artist Series concert in Roxy Grove Hall.

The Baltimore Consort is comprised of six performers-Mary Anne Ballard (viols, rebec), Mark Cudek (cittern, viol, Baroque guitar), Ronn McFarlane (lutes), Larry Lipkis (viol, recorder), Chris Norman (flutes, bagpipe, pennywhistle) and Custer LaRue (soprano). Their program, titled "A Trip to Killburn: Playford Tunes and Their Ballads," focuses on John Playford's "The English Dancing Master," an anthology of top tunes from 17th-century England.

The distinction between art music and popular music existed in Elizabethan times and thereafter but was not so finely drawn as it is now. The same performers and listeners who enjoyed fine motets and masses in church or elegant viol consorts in their homes could also appreciate a ballad tune heard on the streets. Thus, tunes in "The English Dancing Master"-first published by Playford in 1651-were used for country dancing as well as for ballad settings and artful concert pieces.

The Baltimore Consort was founded in 1980, originally to perform English instrumental music of Shakespeare's time. Three years later, soprano Custer LaRue joined in a concert of Scottish vocal music, and she has been a featured member of the Consort ever since. They have toured extensively throughout the United States, and six of their compact discs are now available on the Dorian label. Three have achieved ranking on Billboard magazine's Top Ten List.

General admission tickets for this concert by The Baltimore Consort are priced at $10, but students, Baylor faculty and staff, and senior citizens will be admitted for $6. For more information, call the Baylor School of Music at 755-3991.

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