Over the past two years, I’ve been listening to a lot of instrumental medieval music. Or, I should say, the modern interpretations of it. Several aspects of it attract me, especially the timbre of the instruments. I love the smoothness of the recorder and the fuzz of the hurdy-gurdy. The melodies have a pleasing purity that never fails to inspire me.
The appeal of such music to modern audiences comes as no surprise. To start, there is the visual attraction of exotic instruments and the costuming of conscientious performers who care enough to dress up. But at its root, much of the music is ultimately folk music, sharing the same basic sociology that has driven subsequent vernacular forms such as jazz and rock. The Salt Lake-based ensemble Dorian Mirth (formerly Vis Sit Tecum Musicorum) exemplifies this populist spirit. This self-described “Renaissance garage band” has been playing together since 2000 and performed at TheOneRing.net’s 2003 and 2004 Oscar parties in Hollywood. You can see pictures of Dorian Mirth wearing smashing costumes and getting cozy with movie stars and buy their album Pluck, Rattle and Blow (which reminds me somewhat of Atrium Musicae’s classic Musique Arabo-Andalouse) at their website: http://dorianmirth.com/
I discovered Dorian Mirth through Gina Strack (Webmistress, Publicity, Recorders, Percussion), who is a professional colleague of mine. She and two other members, Rachel and Melonie, graciously agreed to answer some questions about the group (regrettably, their director Kierstin was unable to take part). They cover diverse topics such as recording, performing, and web development. Oh, and where you can buy a crumhorn.