Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The Folger Theater, which has been offering up the riches of Elizabethan drama for several years, has now undertaken to do the same for early music.
In their debut at the Shakespeare Theater Monday night, The Folger Consort, which will be a resident ensemble for early music there, concentrated on English music of 1400 to 1600.
This is a soft concert. The instruments are of the recorder, viol and lute families of soft sounding initmate insturments, in contrast to the more raucous, outdoorsy-sounding krummhorns, sackbuts and the like, and the players are experts.
The musical director is Christopher Kendall, a Lutanist who provides the sort of backbone to the ensemble that the harpichordist of a later period provided.
Scott Reiss played a variety of recorders with sparkle and virtuosity and Warren Luther and Tina Chancey were equally fine on assorted viols.
Soprano Ann Monoyios, a replacement for the indisposed Janet Steele, proved to be a marvelous artist. Her accuracy and flexiblity made Forest's "Qualis est Dilectus" a lovely experience, and everything else she sang she made something special.
The group's musicologist is violist Robert Eisentein. in the tradition of the best early music performers, he has sought to strike a balance between the intimate requirements of the early music idioms and the realities of the concert situation, and, on the whole, he succeeds quite well.
Nowhere in this extensive program were the performances anything but faithful to what is known of the practices of the day. Ornamentations, where appropriate, was both lavish and skilled and the arrangements were restrained.
The opening. "The Battle of Otterburne," a haunting set of folk tunes, was beautifully managed as a coherent single peice. The tender "Edi Beo Thu Hevene Quene", gracefully sung was followed by an energetic and engaging reel-like variations for soprano recorder and drone, and other elaborations of what is often just a single line of melody were tastefully done.