Welcome to the wonderful world of early music!
Whether it’s your first time at a classical music concert or a seasoned pro who wants to expand their early music vocabulary, we've compiled information to help you see yourself at Ars Lyrica.
👠🎩 Dress code
For each of ALH’s concerts, we have a step-and-repeat background for official photos as well as a roaming photographer who will be taking candid photos during intermission and the VIP post-concert reception. Wear something comfortable that makes you feel confident inside and outside the concert hall.
There is a box office and will call table in the lobby, and for every ALH concert there will also be a PR table where you can purchase CDs and learn more about the organization, subscriptions, and special events.
The Grand Lobby Bistro offers full meals as well as snacks and drinks. You may bring your drinks into the concert hall as long as there is no ice in your cup!
The closest light rail stops are Main Street Square (line 700) and Theater District (lines 800 and 900).
Parking is $25 at the valet (Lexus drivers get free valet parking) and $15 at the Hobby Center Parking Garage.
The run time of ALH concerts is normally 1.5 to 2 hours with intermission. There is often a pre-concert discussion with special guests, and there is always a VIP post-concert reception for subscribers! Check each concert’s event page to see if there will be a pre-concert discussion.
+ Essential early music vocabulary
- Early music: an umbrella term for music written from the Renaissance to the early Classical eras.
Baroque: an era of classical music that encompassed the years 1600-1750. During the Baroque period, there was a resurgence of interest in ancient Greek and Roman culture and philosophy. Since one of the revitalized pillars of their culture was the idea that music served as a powerful tool of communication and could affect listeners' emotions intensely, Baroque composers started writing music with their Greek and Roman ancestors' philosophies in mind: their music displayed the power they had over their listeners' emotions.
When you come to an ALH concert, imagine you're listening to this music for the very first time 300 years ago. Free from the church, patrons of the arts (including a blossoming middle class that had never existed before) could now experience music in a way they had never heard. The sadness, joy, raucousness, and beauty of Baroque music was new, suprising, and intense. What an incredible experience! And it's one you get to re-live at every ALH concert you attend.
- Continuo: a group of instruments in the orchestra that provide the bass line for the rest of the ensemble. The use of a continuo was especially prominent in the Baroque era. In the two example photos, there are white arrows pointing to each member of the continuo. On the left, the members are harpsichord, bassoon, clavichord, cello, and bass. On the right, the members are harpsichord, cello, theorbo, viola, and bass. Everyone else is either a soloist or a part of the orchestra, not the continuo.
- Historically-informed performance: performance that takes into account sources including art, original manuscripts, treatises, costume, and instruments available at the time in order to recreate an authentic interpretation and experience.
- Period instrument: an instrument that was used in a historical time period.
+ Dancing at the Palais vocabulary
- Palais-Royal: A palace in France where the Duke of Orleans hosted court gatherings and extravagant parties for the French elite. He commissioned dozens of operas, ballets, and instrumental works and hosted performances of the premier musical compositions of the time (mid-1600s to early 1700s).
- Suite: a collection of musical pieces that can be played one after the other. Dance suites are made up of dance pieces like menuets, gavottes, and gigues.
- de rigueur: in style at a certain time.
- Baroque dance: Other than its obvious classification as dance in the Baroque era, Baroque dance was characterized by its grace and delicate style. Royals and elite members of society would learn and partake in dances at parties and gatherings as well as spectate during theatrical performances.
Our e-series #NewcomerQuestions answers the burning questions we have about the world of early music.