|The American soprano, Judith (Anne) Nelson (née
Manes) (September 10, 1939 - May 28, 2012), was the daughter of musical
parents. She studied music at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota,
where she became a leading singer in its noted choir, and obtained her
BA Music degree in 1961. On August 5, 1961, she married Alan H. Nelson.
When she moved with her husband to Berkeley in 1962, she sang with the
UC Berkeley Collegium and the Berkeley Chamber Singers. Her principal voice
teachers were Thomas Wikman in Chicago, James Cunningham at Berkeley,
Singher in Santa Barbara. She also studied piano for 12 years. She
sang with music groups of the University of Chicago and the University
of California at Berkeley.
An Alfred Hertz Memorial Fellowship of the University of California at Berkeley in 1972-1973 enabled Nelson to travel throughout Europe. She made her debut in 1973 in Paris, and began her career as a soloist, traveling in England and continental Europe. She joined the Five Centuries Ensemble, and met Geneviève Thibault de Chambure, who became her Parisian “angel.” She was a founding member of Concerto Vocale, with René Jacobs, William Christie, and Wieland Kuijken, and a soprano soloist with Christopher Hogwood’s Academy of Ancient Music. She made her operatic debut in Brussels in 1979, singing Drusilla in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione de Poppea with Alan Curtis, a performance repeated at the historic La Fenice in Venice.
Nelson performed and recorded extensively as a soloist throughout North America (including Mexico), Europe, and Asia in concerts, operas, and for radio and television. She was acknowledged as one of the world’s leading singers of the Baroque repertoire as the early music revival began. She sang with most of the major Baroque ensembles and orchestras including the Academy of Ancient Music, Concerto Vocale, the Bay Area’s American Bach Soloists, the San Francisco Bach Choir, Toronto’s Tafelmusik, Joshua Rifkin and The Bach Ensemble, and Massachusetts’ Aston Magna Festival.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, Nelson was one of the founders of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, and was on its Board of Directors. She sang and recorded often with the orchestra, and its first office was located in her home. She sang on Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra’s debut recording, of George Frideric Handel’s Apollo and Daphne, as well as in other works by Handel and Purcell. On stage, she sang several operas, including Handel’s Teseo at the Boston Early Music Festival, and Sant’Alessio at the Nakamichi Festival in Los Angeles. With harpsichordist Laurette Goldberg and actress Rella Lossy, she formed the Elizabethan Trio. The singer Anna Carol Dudley was invited to join the group, renamed Tapestry. They toured every year with performances combining Renaissance and Baroque music with literature from various countries. Joshua Kosman wrote, “In music of Bach, Handel and countless other composers of the 17th and 18th centuries, Nelson brought a blend of technical panache and expressive fluency to her performances. The graceful elegance of her singing, combined with an ability to traverse the most challenging passages with complete assurance, made her regular appearances count among the reliable delights of the Bay Area's musical life.”
Nelson performed with major symphony orchestras, including the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Although she was particularly noted for her performance of Baroque music, she also introduced compositions by American and English Composers.
She has some 70 recordings to her credit, including LPs, cassette tapes, and CDs, many on the Harmonia Mundi and L’Oiseau-Lyre labels. Her recordings with such conductors as Hogwood and John Eliot Gardiner helped usher in a new era of historically informed performances of Baroque music. Of particular note is her role as first soprano on the Hogwood recording of Messiah, recorded in Westminster Abbey in 1980 for BBC TV, and now released on DVD on the Kultur label [shown above]. The classical performance magazine Music (January 2012) ranks that release as number 25 in a list of “The 50 Greatest Recordings of All Time.” Other notable recording include: Belinda in Dido and Aeneas (Chandos) Handel's Alceste and La Resurrezione; Haydn Canzonets and Cantatas. She also performed on radio in France, Belgium, Holland, Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Austria. Scandinavia, several Promenade Concerts on the BBC, and on Television.
In September 1989, in recognition of her contributions to music, St. Olaf College conferred upon her the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts. She died peacefully on May 28, 2012 at the close of a 12-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was 72.
-- Edited from the Bach Cantatas website [Text only - photos added from other sources]
-- Throughout this webpage, links refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website. BD
|John Jenkins (1592-1678) was a long-active
and prolific composer, whose many years of life -- spanning the time
from William Byrd to Henry Purcell -- witnessed great changes in English
music. He is noted for developing the viol consort fantasia, being influenced
in the 1630s by an earlier generation of English composers including
Alfonso Ferrabosco the younger, Thomas Lupo, John Coprario and Orlando
Jenkins composed numerous 4, 5, and 6 part fantasias for viol consort, almans, courants and pavanes, and he breathed new life into the antiquated form of the In Nomine. He was less experimental than his friend William Lawes. Indeed, Jenkins's music was more conservative than that of many of his contemporaries. It is characterized by a sensuous lyricism, highly skilled craftsmanship, and an original usage of tonality and counterpoint.
Little is known of his early life. The son of Henry Jenkins, a carpenter who occasionally made musical instruments, he may have been the "Jack Jenkins" employed in the household of Anne Russell, Countess of Warwick in 1603. The first positive historical record of Jenkins is amongst the musicians who performed the masque The Triumph of Peace in 1634 at the court of King Charles I. Jenkins was considered a virtuoso on the lyra viol. King Charles I of England commented that Jenkins did "wonders on an inconsiderable instrument."
When the English Civil War broke out in 1642 it forced Jenkins, like many others, to migrate to the rural countryside. During the 1640s he was employed as music-master to two Royalist families, the Derhams at West Dereham and Hamon le Strange of Hunstanton. He was also a friend of the composer William Lawes (1602–1645), who was shot and died in battle at the siege of Chester.
Around 1640 Jenkins revived the In Nomine, an archaic form for a consort of viols, based upon a traditional plainsong theme. He wrote a notable piece of program music consisting of a pavane and galliard depicting the clash of opposing sides, the mourning for the dead, and the celebration of victory after the siege of Newark (1646).
In the 1650s Jenkins became resident music-master of Lord Dudley North in Cambridgeshire, whose son Roger wrote his biography. It was in these years, during the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell, in the absence of much competition or organized music-making, that Jenkins took the occasion to write more than 70 suites for amateur household players.
After the Restoration he obtained a place as a musician to the Royal Court. However, the viol consort was less fashionable in the court of Charles II.Something of Jenkins's own temperament is indicated by his setting the religious poetry of George Herbert to music. Like Joseph Haydn, he was a pious, reticent, and private person. Workmanlike and industrious in composition, he wrote dances by the cart-load, according to Roger North, an English lawyer and amateur musician.
© 1994 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on March 16, 1992. Portions were broadcast on WNIB in 1994. This transcription was made in 2019, and posted on this website at that time. My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.