Collegium Musicum takes listeners back to ancient Rome
Led by Dr. Lindsay Johnson, a UMBC ensemble plays samples of music from 800-1750 A.D. Photo by Kristina Soetje.

Collegium Musicum takes listeners back to ancient Rome

Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque are not typically the answers you would get when asking a college student what musical genres they are interested in.

UMBC’s Collegium Musicum embraced their rare interest and put their hard work on display with “Roman House Music: Early Music from Rome’s Local Music Scene” at Linehan Concert Hall on Thursday April 26.

Led by Dr. Lindsay Johnson, the ensemble is devoted to learning Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music. Of course, with mastering music from a different time period, comes the mastery of instruments and styles from the period as well.

Sackbuts, a harpsichord and an organ were all a part of the concert, going to show the devotion the group has for their craft. Each musician had to tirelessly practice such unique instruments in order to gain an understanding of how to play them well.

The show consisted of seven songs, each sampling style from the time period of 800-1750 A.D. The amount of performers per song varied with there being as little as two, then expanding up to six musicians performing at once, making for intricate pieces that relied on precise timing to maintain the cohesion between the instruments.

Furthermore, between some songs, musicians would come out and give an introduction to a song, providing a short insight into the composer’s career and style, as well as the meaning of the song.

Between this and the artists smiling faces, it was apparent that each performer was genuinely interested in the time period. They went beyond the notes and sheet music and learned even deeper about the music they played, showing the crowd their true passion for their craft.

As a whole, the concert was enjoyable, as it brought back sounds from forgotten genres and left the crowd with a positive impression on songs from the past.

In a way, it was an educational experience, as it is rare that one gets to hear such unique instruments, as well as the historical music performed by the ensemble. The sound set a theme for the auditorium, allowing listeners to get a feeling for what music and arts were like in the early Roman era.

Collegium Musicum was a pleasant surprise, putting on an entertaining show that was informative, as well as fun to watch. Seeing performers that are truly passionate about their music gives viewers a deeper appreciation for the concert.

It is also refreshing to see artists express themselves through the specific instruments and genres that they enjoy playing, as, for them, that is the purest form of expression.

The chance to gain perspective on a historical culture was an added bonus, making the ensemble one to pay attention to next time they have a show at UMBC.