The Manitoba University Consort: Medieval music from Canada’s heartland, 1963-1970

It’s hard to imagine, but one of the centres of the Early Music movement in the 1960s was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on the Canadian Prairies. Manitoba is not often thought of as a place with its finger on the pulse. Sitting in the middle of the country, with a long distance (not to mention Lake Superior and a lot of rocky hills) separating it from the traditional centres of Canadian culture, it’s usually considered a backwater.

However, the province has long punched above its weight musically. Winnipeg, the capital, has played host to three important orchestras (one sadly defunct) and a world-renowned ballet company. There’s a strong history of chamber music, opera, musical theatre, and Gilbert & Sullivan productions. The province is served by three university music schools of solid reputation, three university-adjacent schools offering lessons to children and amateurs, and countless private schools and teachers. For decades, the province has played a key role in Canada’s musical development.

An important but little-studied example comes from the Manitoba University Consort, a group founded in the early 1960s by Winnipeg musician and bassoon teacher Christine Mather and featuring Peggie Sampson, the prominent Canadian cellist and professor of music theory. Aside from intersecting with important moments in the country’s musical history and touring internationally to unanimous acclaim, the consort was a pioneer of the performance of medieval, Renaissance, and early Baroque music using replica instruments, authentic performance practices, and transcriptions from scholarly editions.

Although the consort was a professional ensemble, it was centred in Winnipeg and drew its strength from the vibrant local musical ecosystem that existed at the time – which included the University of Manitoba’s new School of Music. The consort disbanded in 1970, but it set the stage for the ensembles that would develop in Canada in the 1980s, when the Early Music revival kicked into high gear.

The Manitoba University Consort with an array of instruments. Photo from the “Old Music from the New World” pamphlet.

The group played on replica instruments built by artisans in Germany, Switzerland, England, and a few from the United States, after originals mainly in European museums. Their impressive collection of instruments included around 20 recorders of various sizes, a lute, a psaltery, a portative organ, bells, crumhorns, a dulzian, a racket, shawms, and several viole da gamba.

“Most of the instruments belong to me and I believe they must be one of the largest and most complete collections in the world,” Mather said in an interview with the Ottawa Journal.1

Some of the other members owned their own instruments as well – particularly Peggie Sampson, who largely abandoned the cello after 1970 and launched a new career as a viola da gamba soloist.

The ensemble’s repertoire covered the 12th to 18th centuries, and featured music by the big name medieval and Renaissance composers (Machaut, Landini, Dufay), some more obscure figures (Oswald von Wolkenstein, Louis de Caix d’Hervelois), and even a few Baroque stalwarts (Bach, Telemann, Buxtehude). They covered the gamut from instrumental music to accompanied songs, and from solo works to full ensemble pieces. The majority of their repertoire is represented on their four CBC recordings (see Discography).

Aerial view of University of Manitoba campus, 1960s. Image from University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections. Used with permission.

Origins: “The old, fashionable”

Christine Mather came to Winnipeg from Scotland in 1962. As a bassoonist she had studied at the Royal College of Music with Archie Camden, played in various orchestras throughout Scotland, and taught at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow. In Winnipeg she played numerous chamber concerts and played principal bassoon in the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra, but her main activity was teaching.

Mather was a conventional orchestral wind player up until mid-1963, when she heard a recording of medieval music and was taken with the unusual sounds. She gradually became more involved in Winnipeg’s early music community, and eventually decided to start a professional-quality ensemble to play medieval and Renaissance music.

This is not an easy task – aside from needing to find open-minded people with a volunteerist spirit, you need musicians who are willing and able to play a variety of unfamiliar instruments. Mather had cellist Peggie Sampson, her close friend and a fellow Scot, play the viola da gamba in the consort. Sampson, who taught music theory at the University of Manitoba and played in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO), had an impressive musical pedigree and was ideally suited for this unusual project. She became an indispensable member of the ensemble.2

Alan Williams, then the principal oboist of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, played recorder. Joyce Redekop-Penner played the spinet and other keyboard instruments. Orville Derraugh was the ensemble’s only singer.

Mather played crumhorn and treble viol. The group debuted on the radio, performing for broadcast four times in the fall of 1963. Their first public appearance was at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Winnipeg on Jan. 4, 1964, billed as a “Twelfth Night recital”.

This concert was evidently a low-key affair, since their second concert, at the University of Manitoba’s John A. Russell Architecture building on April 4, is the one mentioned as their first performance in several sources. For this second debut concert they were joined by Shirley Williams, the WSO’s piccolo player and the wife of Alan, and singer Phyllis Thomson.

This concert was attended and reviewed by the great Canadian music critic Ken Winters, who then worked for the Winnipeg Free Press. The first paragraph of his review gives a good sense of the contemporary attitude toward medieval music:

Old music is sounding new these days. Odd fusions of elegance and innocence, of ingenious freedom and primitive caution, of bristling texture and slick harmony, of spirituality and vulgarity – these are fresh to ears grown used to the familiar consistencies of classic and romantic music and impatient with the high-handed intractabilities of modern. Ease of access and novelty of timbre are the sweet and sour of music on the far side of Bach, and both suit the musical palates of a surprising number of today’s concertgoers.3

Winters praised the performances, though he criticized some of the textual choices and noted some dull spots in the program. He also had some reservations about the staying power of medieval music:

No doubt some of the interest was pure curiosity, and when we all are used to the quaint looks and sounds of dulzians, crumhorns, recorders, viols, tambours, spinets, and other such charming relics of their eras, our interest will wane a little; for the old music itself is not invariably all that gripping. Just now, however, the instruments and the music are like new, and they amuse more of us more readily than do the latest musical offshoots of electronics, higher mathematics, and chance.4

In other words, audiences hungry for novelty and averse both to pop music and the avant garde music of the time had nowhere to turn but the distant past.5 Many reviews of the Consort’s performances noted how fresh the music sounded, in some cases likening it to the pop hits of the day. The ground was ripe for an early music group, and Christine Mather founded one at just the right time.

New personnel: “Anything that blows”

It was in the next year that the consort coalesced into its final form. With the opening of the School of Music’s new building, Mather’s role at the University of Manitoba expanded and the consort’s operations were brought under the School’s umbrella. The group began to perform under the name Manitoba University Consort.6

School of Music, post-construction, 1960s. Image from University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections. Used with permission.

This meant Mather now had access to library resources, a performance venue, office staff, and a decent-sized built-in audience. In the 1964-65 academic year, the consort continued to perform and broadcast – and, in May 1965, it received a donation of five recorders from the Jewish Women’s Musical Club of Winnipeg.

During this time the ensemble also lost Alan and Shirley Williams, who returned to the United States. Mather found a keen young student, Paul Palmer, to play recorders and other wind instruments. Unable to find a second recorder player, she took up wind instrument duty herself and asked Harold Vogt, a WSO violinist, to play the treble viol. In this configuration the ensemble continued for the rest of its existence, with the occasional substitution of keyboard players and singers.7

Palmer was the sole student in the group, and while he was the least experienced, he proved to be one of the key members. As a wind player he frequently played the most audible – and the most finicky – instruments. Palmer was a bassoon student of Mather’s who had enrolled in the first year of the nascent University of Manitoba School of Music as a general music student. Mather quickly brought him on as a member of the consort.

“I was lucky that I had a built-in ease with anything that was blown and had a reed,” Palmer said, “I think that’s what gave Christine the confidence to hire me. At 17 I’d come to her for bassoon lessons after spending my high school days playing clarinet and saxophone and after my first six months was playing the first movement of the Mozart bassoon concerto in the music festival. […] So I’d proved I was a quick study I suppose.”8

Palmer was a frequent doubler – he played “anything that blows,” according to a promotional pamphlet for the ensemble.9 This meant becoming familiar with a wide range of old woodwind instruments.

I loved working away at the shawm, rauschpfeife, racket and getting a level of mastery with the entire family of recorders. The sopranino was hard for me both because of my fairly wide digits not easily fitting on the wee thing, and also playing in the upper stratosphere actually requires a different technique to when you’re playing in the mid-range.

Palmer pointed to tuning as a major difficulty in playing these instruments, especially when mixing instruments from different families.

Early music groups were often criticized for their low level of technique and for playing out of tune. It is much easier to tune a recorder to another recorder than to a rebec or lute or cornetto. And of course it was in those early days only just being granted that we ‘shouldn’t’ be playing with equal temperament. No trouble for the singers (except those with ‘perfect pitch’). But it was tricky for everyone else, including the keyboard players who had to decide on the temperament and then figure out how to make it so. We had lots and lots of slow practice in pairs and as a group.

View of stage in Eva Clare Hall at the University of Manitoba’s School of Music, where the Manitoba University Consort performed several times. 1960s. Image from University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections. Used with permission.

Touring internationally: “Old music from the New World”

The 1965-66 academic year brought the ensemble to a new prominence. It received two grants from the Canada Council – one for a tour of five cities in Western Canada, and one to give a concert at the Aldeburgh Festival in England under the invitation of Benjamin Britten, the festival’s founder.

This trip grew into a full-scale tour of Great Britain, with 15 engagements over 40 days across England and Scotland. The ensemble performed at the four Royal Schools of music, at several schools and universities, and in London. The tour included performances in some very old venues such as Aylesford Priory in Kent, The Vyne in Hampshire, Dartington Hall in Devonshire, and a 17th-century house near Hampstead Heath.

“For the first time we will be playing early music in buildings which have stood for centuries, and where perhaps the music was composed and played hundreds of years ago,” Mather said in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press ahead of the tour.10

These concerts were favourably reviewed by the British press. The Daily Telegraph praised “the sensitive and finely disciplined performances of these scholarly and versatile players led by Christine Mather,”11 while the Guardian described them as being “completely in sympathy with a most enchanting, but rarely aired period of musical history.”12

Reviews also made reference to the music’s freshness and foreignness. According to the Daily Telegraph review, “as soon as we crossed into the early 15th or earlier centuries still, the break with modern sensibilities seemed complete and not only because the ornithological coloraturas in Wolkenstein’s ‘Der Mai’ were irresistibly lunatic.”13 A second Guardian review said that “to a modern listener the music zig-zags sharply between slow and soulful music on the one hand and hysterically jolly music on the other with hardly anything in between.”14

Nation-building with music

By comparison, 1966-67 was a relatively quiet year. The ensemble’s first public concert since the British tour was Nov. 30, 1966. This was a new program of Scottish and English music selected for St. Andrew’s Day. The Winnipeg Free Press review was mildly critical, although it praised the Scottish selections. Another concert, with a different program, followed in March 1967.

However, the highlight of the year came in June. The Manitoba University Consort was one of 19 chamber groups to perform at the theatre of Canada’s Katimavik pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. This meant giving four afternoon concerts (May 30 to June 2) to a potentially huge audience of people from around the world.15 One of these performances was recorded by the CBC and distributed on disc as part of the Music from Expo series (see discography). Excerpts from this disc were broadcast across Canada and elsewhere in the world for many years thereafter.

It would be hard to exaggerate the importance of the CBC in boosting upstart ensembles like the Manitoba University Consort. In the present environment when few young people ever see a reason to tune into CBC radio, it’s not easy to imagine the role it played in Winnipeg’s lively musical scene until the 1990s or so.

The CBC had its own radio orchestras in several cities, and they gave regular live performances over the radio. This meant many opportunities to hear good programs performed live – which in turn meant a need for new music by local composers. Many important Manitoba composers earned money and acclaim from CBC commissions, which would be heard by a fairly large audience and possibly replayed or recorded and released on disc. Newspapers published CBC radio listings for the day, so listeners knew what programs were coming up and could deliberately choose to tune in for something they wanted to hear. All these resources provided an infrastructure for Canadian performers and composers to flourish, even in such out of the way places as Winnipeg.

“It was gratifying to be asked to record for the beloved CBC,” Palmer said. “It seemed to give us an uplift in credentials. If the CBC deemed us worth recording, then people guessed it was worth a trip out to our concerts. Also I’d guess that people hearing us on the radio made organizing in-Canada tours possible.”

There was also a demand for smaller groups to fill chamber music slots on the radio with live sessions. This was seen as an opportunity for low-stakes experimentation – as evidenced by the Christine Mather Consort making its debut in broadcast months before feeling confident to do a public concert. Paul Palmer noted that in some ways a broadcast performance was easier.

As ever it was a little disconcerting knowing that some little flub would be heard over and over again! I do remember that the in-studio recordings were relaxed and the staff very supportive. They seemed to enjoy overcoming the difficulties of recording such very different kinds of timbre, with instruments most of which had little range in volume. The concert hall live recordings were sometimes disappointing in that the acoustics of the instruments were not really enhanced like they could be in the studio.

The Manitoba University Consort in a CBC studio. L-R: Paul Palmer, Christine Mather, Peggie Sampson, Harold Vogt, Joyce Redekop-Penner. Photo by Stan Pommer. From Archives of Manitoba.

In addition, the support of the Canada Council was crucial. The ensemble received over $20,000 (in 1960s dollars) in grant money for various projects during their short existence, and without this money it’s hard to imagine them going on costly tours of places like Britain and Europe, or even Eastern Canada. In addition, members of the ensemble received scholarships and bursaries from the Canada Council for various projects of their own which, even when they had little to do with the consort, must have helped their overall musical development.

One last factor must be mentioned – the environment of patriotism, optimism, and unity in Canada in the 1960s. Expo 67 – and, later, the opening of the National Arts Centre – were major, nation-defining cultural events, and the Manitoba University Consort was able to participate in both of them. Other groups and performers from the Prairies were involved as well, as a glance through the Expo 67 program will show. Programs were eclectic, running the gamut from organ recitals to Gordon Lightfoot, and represented musicians from all over Canada.

The overall impression one gets of this period, at least by looking at arts and culture events, is that they had a more coherent idea of the Canadian nation than we do now, and that Western Canadians were willing to sign onto it and Eastern Canadians were willing to welcome them.

On break

The subsequent year, 1967-68, was probably the ensemble’s busiest. The group received nearly $10,000 in grant money from the Canada Council for two tours: one of Manitoba and BC in fall 1967, and one of Britain and Europe the next summer. The fall tour included concerts at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria and, oddly, a trip to California to give a concert at the Hertz Auditorium of the University of California, Berkeley. This was their only performance in the United States.16

The British and European tour in the summer included 14 concerts and four radio recording sessions. Highlights of the tour included performing at music schools in London, Manchester, Scotland, West Germany, and Switzerland. Additionally, they gave concerts at a German health spa, a 14th-century church in Westmoreland, and The Vyne. The consort recorded for broadcast in London, Frankfurt, Zurich, and Geneva. The tour ended with an appearance at the CBC summer festival in Montreal – perhaps where their 1968 album was recorded.

By now the consort had amassed a pile of positive reviews, made three of its four CBC recordings, performed for hundreds of people in several countries, and received a significant amount of funding from arts granting bodies. It’s easy to imagine the ensemble pivoting to a new level of success: becoming increasingly full-time, producing more recordings, and touring the United States.

But Christine Mather had become increasingly oriented toward academia and away from orchestral playing since she moved to Winnipeg. In 1968 she finally decided to take the plunge: on a year-long leave from the University of Manitoba, she enrolled in the University of Michigan to study for a Ph.D. in musicology.17

At the same time Paul Palmer, now graduated and married to Peggy Hawkins (another wind player who performed with the consort on one occasion), travelled overseas to study at the Schola Cantorum in Switzerland – funded in part by a bursary from the Canada Council. Palmer studied treble viol with August Wenzinger and recorder with Hans Martin Linde.

The ensemble received two notable press mentions during this period: a writeup in the Canadian academic bulletin Renaissance and Reformation18 – bringing them to the attention of scholars of the period from outside of the musical world – and the announcement that the consort would be one of the groups to perform at the inauguration of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

However, two key members of the ensemble leaving at this pivotal moment took the wind out of the consort’s sails. The 1968-69 year saw no performances until the summer. The next year the ensemble gave concerts with renewed energy, but it was clear that the core members were going places. Keeping the group together beyond 1970 would prove impossible.

The National Arts Centre opened in June 1969, and a festival of several concerts was held to celebrate the occasion. The Manitoba University Consort christened the centre’s Salon, a smaller room intended for chamber music, with two concerts of two different programs on June 5 and 6. Both concerts sold out and were well-received.

In the 1969-70 year, the consort focused its efforts on a program of freshly transcribed music Mather had become familiar with during her time at Michigan.19 A grant from the Canada Council paid for a tour in Eastern Canada. The performances were all at universities, and overall the ensemble’s activities during this year had a valedictory character – no more CBC recordings or big international tours.

After the summer the members of the group went their separate ways: Mather to a post at the University of Victoria (taking her large collection of instruments with her), Sampson to York University (where her personal papers, including extensive documentation of the consort’s activities are kept in the archives), and Palmer to a U Vic master’s program. Palmer eventually dropped out of the M.Mus program and enrolled as an M.Ed student, though he continued to teach and perform on the recorder. The other members of the ensemble, all Winnipeggers with active careers outside of Early Music, stayed put and refocused on other things.

Though its recordings made little lasting impact, the Manitoba University Consort was an important ensemble in at least three ways. First, the consort did what it did at a time when few others were performing the same kind of music to the same standard. This upstart ensemble from the middle of nowhere would have been in the same class as important ensembles like the New York Pro Musica Antiqua, and an important precursor to Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra.

Second, the group’s two big-name members went on to be movers and shakers in the Canadian music world. Christine Mather became an academic administrator, heading up music departments at Wilfrid Laurier University, the University of Calgary, and the University of Western Ontario and serving in an administrative capacity at the Banff School of Fine Arts and the Victoria Conservatory of Music. Peggie Sampson continued to teach at York and, as Canada’s premiere gamba soloist, to influence the Early Music specialists that would follow in her footsteps.

Finally, the consort represents an important case study in the success of music in Western Canada. As I’ve shown, in order to thrive, the consort depended on a great deal of musical infrastructure that existed in Winnipeg – and other major Canadian cities outside the Toronto-Montreal axis – at the time. Although Winnipeg’s music scene is no less vibrant today, much of that infrastructure is gone.

The CBC Symphony Orchestras have folded, and no one tunes in to the radio to hear live music anymore. Newspaper concert listings and reviews are not nearly as comprehensive as they once were, and nothing has arisen to replace them. For Winnipeggers, I believe thinking about the Manitoba University Consort gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve lost, and to consider what we might do to bring it back again.

Notes

  1. Pat Nigra, “Rackets, Crumhorns, and Shawms blow at National Arts Centre,” Ottawa Journal, June 7, 1969, 22.
  2. In the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, Sampson is listed as a co-founder of the group. However, Mather was anxious to correct this in a letter to the editors: “Peggie Sampson was a founding member but not actually the founder. Also most of the collection and transcription of music for the Consort was done by me – I also drove the tour bus and built some of the instrument crates! […] Of Peggie it would be true to say that the excellence of her musicianship and performance was one of the great strengths of the group” (Library and Archives Canada, page 56).
  3. Kenneth Winters, “The Old Fashionable,” Winnipeg Free Press, April 6, 1964, 7.
  4. ibid.
  5. Richard Taruskin made a similar observation in 1990: “What Early Music has been doing is busily remaking the music of the past in the image of the present (necessary because we unfortunately have so little use for the actual music of the present), only calling the present by some other name.” Text and Act (Oxford University Press, 1995), 169.
  6. The name was never used consistently, and I’ve found references to the group as the University of Manitoba Consort, the Manitoba Consort, and the University of Manitoba Consort of Ancient Instruments. “Manitoba University Consort” is the most commonly used version and the one used on all their recordings and broadcasts. Christine Mather said in a response to editorial questions by the editors of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada: “Manitoba University Consort and Manitoba Consort were both used” (Library and Archives Canada, page 17).
  7. From this point on, Victor Martens and Phyllis Thomson were the ensemble’s main singers, though on one occasion they performed with mezzo Heather Ireland. Joyce Redekop-Penner continued to be their main keyboardist, but they gave many concerts with U of M professors Douglas Bodle and Lawrence Ritchey as well.
  8. Paul Palmer, unpublished interview with Tom Ingram, 2017. All direct quotes from Palmer are from this source.
  9. Christine Mather, “Old Music From the New World: The Manitoba University Consort presents music of the 12th to 18th centuries performed on instruments of the period,” 1966[?]. A copy of this document is preserved in the University of Alberta library. It appears to be a promotional brochure after the ensemble’s English tour of 1966. Citation details on this document are from the University of Alberta catalogue.
  10. Lynne MacFarlane, “The Consort is Packing its Crumhorns and Shawms,” Winnipeg Free Press, April 30, 1966, 24.
  11. Peter Stadlen, “Delightful Renaissance Music,” Daily Telegraph, June 11, 1966, 12. This review covered the consort’s performance at the Aldeburgh Festival.
  12. Max Paddison, “Chamber Concert in Manchester,” The Guardian, May 20, 1965, 9. This review covered the consort’s performance at the Royal Manchester College of Music.
  13. Stadlen, “Delightful Renaissance Music.”
  14. Edward Greenfield, “Aldeburgh Festival Concert,” The Guardian, June 11, 1966, 6.
  15. Artist bios and a performance schedule are given in Theatre and Bandshell Performances (Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1967).
  16. Paul Palmer, personal communication, 2017.
  17. Mather’s PhD research was completed in 1971 and published as Christine K. Mather, “Cadential Structure in the Lieder of Heinrich Isaac” (PhD diss., University of Michigan, 1971).
  18. “The Manitoba University Consort,” Renaissance and Reformation 5:1 (1 Nov. 1968), 4.
  19. Mather’s work at Michigan dealt with the work of Heinrich Isaac, a musician at the court of Maximilian I. The Manitoba University Consort’s final program was called “The Triumphs of Maximilian” and featured music by Isaac and others associated with Maximilian. For more from Mather on this musical circle, see Christine K. Mather, “Maximilian I and his instruments,” Early Music 3:1 (Jan. 1975), 42-46.

Discography

Manitoba University Consort. CBC Transcription 1966, SM-17.

  • Anon. – Estampe (12th century).
  • Adam de la Halle – Tant con je vivrai; Adieu commant amouretes; Fines amouretes.
  • Anon. – Two motets on the tenor “In Seculum,” and a Rondel.
  • Guillaume de Machaut – Two ballades: Amours me fait désirer; Ma chière dame.
  • Anon. – Danse royale.
  • Francesco Landini – Two ballate: Chi più le vuol saper; Gran pianto a gli ochi.
  • Anon. – Estampie (13th century).
  • Two Villancicos from the Cancionero de Upsala.
  • Guillaume Du Fay – Rondeau: Adieu m’amour.
  • Diego Ortiz – Recercàda II sobre Doulce mémoire; Recercada II sobre un canto ilano.
  • Francisco de la Torre – Danza: Alta.

Manitoba University Consort. Music at the Canadian Pavilion, Music from Expo. CBC 1967, Expo 8.

  • Dieterich Buxtehude – Sonata no. 2 in G, violin, viola da gamba, continuo.
  • Heinrich Schütz – Bringt her dem Herren (sacred concerto, SWV 283).
  • Louis de Caix d’Hervelois – Les petits doigts.
  • Marin Marais – Two Gavottes.
  • Baldassare Donato – Dolce mio ben.
  • Michael Praetorius – Five dances from Terpsichore, or The muse of dance.

Manitoba University Consort. CBC Transcription 1968, SM-66.

  • John Jenkins – Fantasia in D minor, violin, viola da gamba, continuo.
  • Heinrich Schütz – Ich will den Herren loben (sacred concerto, SWV 306).
  • Luzzasco Luzzaschi – O Primavera (from Madrigali per cantare et sonare a uno, e doi, e tre soprani, Rome, 1601).
  • Antonio de Cabezon – Fabordon y glosas del octavo tono.
  • Giorgio Mainerio – Three dances from Il primo libro di balli: Tedescha e saltarello; Schiarazula marazula; Ungarescha.
  • Three carols from the Ritson manuscript: Sing we to this merry company; Spes mea in Deo est; In every state.
  • Music from the court of King Henry VIII: I am a jolly foster; Where be ye, my love; Without discord; Pastime with good company.

Orchestra. CBC Winnipeg Orchestra, Manitoba University Consort. [Title is strange but correct according to the album cover.] CBC Transcription 1969, SM-130.

Side 1 (orchestra) recorded in Winnipeg, 1969. Producer: Tom Taylor. Recording engineer: William Car.

Side 2 (consort) recorded in Winnipeg, March 1969. Producer: Tom Taylor. Recording engineer: John Gillam.

Personnel: Paul Palmer (solo recorder, viol, krummhorn); Christine Mather (director, recorder, lute, krummhorn); Peggie Sampson (solo viola da gamba); Lawrence Ritchey (harpsichord, percussion); Harold Vogt (violin, viol).

  • Orchestra
    • Baldassare Galuppi – L’Eroe cinese (overture).
    • Jean-Philippe Rameau – Castor and Pollux suite.
    • Arthur Honegger – Pastorale d’été.
    • Pino Donati – Tre acquarelli paesani.
  • Consort
    • Georg Philipp Telemann – Trio sonata in E minor for alto recorder, violin, continuo (from Musique de table; oboe part played on violin).
    • Marin Marais – Suite in D for viola da gamba and continuo.
    • Michael Praetorius – Dances from Terpsichore.

Other recordings. There may be an unpublished BBC recording of the 1966 Aldeburgh Festival concert. Music from this concert was broadcast as far afield as Melbourne, Australia in 1969, so a recording must have existed at one time. I have been unable to determine whether this recording survives, or whether there are any other BBC recordings of the consort.

Additionally, newspaper sources indicate that the consort recorded for broadcast in Frankfurt, Zurich, and Geneva. Whether these recordings survive is unknown.

Bibliography

  • Expo 67. Theatre and Bandshell Performances. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1967.
  • Greenfield, Edward. “Aldeburgh Festival Concert.” The Guardian. June 11, 1966, 6.
  • Library and Archives Canada. Encyclopedia of Music in Canada fonds, R15415-0-2-E, box 70. Folder 3022, drafts and editorial notes for “Manitoba University Consort” entry. 58 pages.
  • MacFarlane, Lynn. “The Consort is Packing its Crumhorns and Shawms.” Winnipeg Free Press, April 30, 1966, 24.
  • Mather, Christine K. “Cadential Structure in the Lieder of Heinrich Isaac.” PhD diss., University of Michigan, 1971.
  • Mather, Christine K. “Maximilian I and his instruments.” Early Music 3, no. 1 (Jan. 1975), 42-46.
  • Mather, Christine K. “Old Music from the New World: The Manitoba University Consort presents music of the 12th to 18th centuries performed on instruments of the period.” Winnipeg?: University of Manitoba?, 1966?.
  • Paddison, Max. “Chamber Concert in Manchester.” The Guardian. May 20, 1965, 9.
  • Palmer, Paul. Unpublished interview with Tom Ingram. July 2017.
  • Stadlen, Peter. “Delightful Renaissance Music.” Daily Telegraph. June 11, 1966, 12.
  • Taruskin, Richard. Text and Act: Essays on music and performance. Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Watson, Lorne. “Manitoba University Consort.” In Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981. Also available online from Historica Canada (without discography).
  • Winters, Kenneth. “The Old Fashionable.” Winnipeg Free Press, April 6, 1964, 7.

Acknowledgments

This article required a tremendous amount of research, and I am indebted to many people for their assistance. In particular, I would like to thank:

  • Bronwen Brown of the Edinburgh Central Library for her help in digging up a concert program in her archives.
  • Katrina Cohen-Palacios and the staff of the Clara Thomas Archives at York University for their help in accessing documents from the Peggie Sampson fonds.
  • James Kominowski and Elizabeth-Anne Johnson of the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections, for helping to find old photos of the University of Manitoba.
  • Darren Yearsley of CBC for permission to reproduce recordings of the Manitoba University Consort for private study.
  • My colleagues at the University of Manitoba Libraries, and in particular the Document Delivery team for fulfilling numerous requests.
  • Karen Smith from Dalhousie University, Felecia Clifton from the University of North Dakota, and Deborah Wills from Wilfrid Laurier University for information on the Manitoba University Consort’s recordings.
  • John Blyth of the Brandon University Music Library for suggesting some new angles of investigation.
  • Paul Palmer for generously providing his thoughts and recollections.