Newsletter 11 November: Ciaramella in A Piper’s Noel

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Houston Early Music

presenting the world’s finest period ensembles and soloists … bringing to life music from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance to the Baroque and Classical periods. Experience with us early music played on original instruments, by musicians reviving performances of the past.

Our Next Concert will be:

Mon. Dec.13, 2010

A Piper’s Noel

7:30PM, Christ Church Cathedral
1117 Texas Avenue
Houston TX 77072

6:45 p.m. pre-concert lecture by Adam Gilbert

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For our Christmas offering, we present the exciting young American ensemble in a concert of carols, hymns, lullabies and instrumental pieces from Renaissance England, France, Spain, Italy and Germany. Featuring the talents some of the foremost early musicians performing works from humble pipers’ tunes to grand Renaissance polyphony with voices, shawms, sackbut, recorders, and bagpipes.

See detailed Program, Notes, and Artist Biographies

See all articles about this concert

Houston Early Music presents a Renaissance musicale that is a must-see holiday event for Houston audiences.  On Monday evening, December 13, Christ Church Cathedral will resonate with enchanting sounds and the musical imagery of early Christmas when world-acclaimed ensemble Ciaramella takes the stage.

Ciaramella’s name is derived from both the Italian shawm and a 15th-century song – When she opens her mouth, she knocks men flat – about a beautiful girl whose clothes are full of holes. This ensemble will truly do just that, as the rich and intricate counterpoint of A Piper’s Noël captivates the hearts of all who hear. The work brings forth the great tradition of combined bagpipes and shawm (early oboe), as well as early representations of modern instruments that include flute (recorder), bassoon (dulcian), trumpet (slide trumpet), and trombone (sackbut).

Adam Gilbert, co-founder of Ciaramella, says of this work, “Its inspiration is derived from the representation of angels announcing the birth of Christ. We see the bagpiper, or shepherd, so amazed at the angels that he puts down the bagpipe made of goat or sheepskin. This represents the putting away of carnal cares. These rustic instruments were used throughout the Baroque era, as heard in themes from Handel’s The Messiah.”

Ciaramella brings to life Renaissance classics with the ease of jazz musicians improvising on a theme, revealing the origins of carols we know and introducing forgotten popular gems. With the addition of four male voices, Ciaramella blends traditional dance melodies with added embellishment and improvisation, classical motets, and popular tunes. The focus is authentic music that will range from toe-tapping to cerebral to five-hundred years of jazz.

Ensemble members are Adam Gilbert, Rotem Gilbert, Debra Nagy, Doug Milliken, Greg Ingles, and Erik Schmaltz. This year they plan to record A Piper’s Noël, as well as a collection of traditional and improvised Spanish dances.  More information about this exciting group can be found

You do not want to miss this performance that begins at 7:30 p.m., with a 6:45 p.m. pre-concert lecture by Adam Gilbert.  The performance takes place at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Ave. (77002).


Tickets are available online at Buy Tickets and at the door: $35 for general admission, $30 for seniors, and $10 for students (with student ID.) Free admission for children under 15.

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Houston Early Music
P.O. Box 271193 Houston TX 77277-1193
Phone 713-432-1744


tca_black_h NEAlogoTAGLINEbw Houston Early Music is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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