The Early Muse with Ian Capps

12 hours ago

Saturdays at 6PM on HPR-2

There is a wonderful richness and variety in Western music before the year 1700. The Early Muse is a weekly one-hour program conceived by HPR's Charles Husson and music volunteer Ian Capps, author and host of the program. Its aim is to bring to life for listeners the 500 formative years of European music from Medieval chant and troubadour songs, through the rich polyphony of Renaissance sacred and secular music, and into the Baroque 'revolution' of the 17th century with its invention of the opera, oratorio, ballet and orchestral music as we know it today.

Each program has a theme: the life and work of an individual composer or 'school'; the development of different instruments and musical genres, such as opera, the ballet or the mass; music for special occasions, such as Christmas and Columbus Day; or just music of love, war and nature.

"I've chosen 1700 as a cut-off date largely because music from the 18th century onwards is already broadcast far more often," says Ian. "Bach, Handel and Vivaldi are heard almost every day, and are also great favorites of mine, but many of their most talented predecessors are lost in the mists of time."

The last 50 years have witnessed a glorious revival of this music through research, live performance and, of course, recording. Research in monasteries and ancient libraries has been particularly important for music of the Renaissance and earlier, since music publishing was not widely established until the late 16th century.

About the Host:
Ian Capps is host and author of The Early Muse, a weekly program of Hawai'i Public Radio which explores the development of Western music over the 500 years from the 12th to the 17th centuries. He has been an active volunteer in HPR's Music Department since coming to the Islands in 2002, initially helping to catalog the huge CD and Vinyl library on line and latterly joining in the semi-annual pledge drives as a co-host and guest.

"The world of music to the year 1700 is an inexhaustible treasure house," says Ian. "I was weaned on Byrd and Tallis, growing up in the so-called 'cathedral tradition' of English vocal performance. And I've been a devotee of all things early music ever since - from Medieval to Renaissance, and on to the glories of the 17th century Baroque 'revolution'. It feels wonderful to have lived through the revival of our early Western musical heritage. Today thousands of recordings and hundreds of artists preserve it all for broadcast on the radio."

Born and raised in London, Ian graduated from Oxford University and worked as an editor and executive for Reuters and other global news organizations, living and working in many different countries over nearly 40 years. He retired in 2001 after 9 years as President and CEO of the New York based PR Newswire. He and his wife, Jeannette, a native of Hawai'i, met while singing Renaissance music in New York and now sing with the Honolulu Symphony Chorus.

"As an amateur singer, I have been lucky enough to work with outstanding groups in major cities around the world and with many individuals who have moved on to successful musical careers," adds Ian. "Early on in my travels I discovered that music, as a universal language, is a great introduction to a new society. And that the voice is the easiest instrument to take with you wherever you go."