It was in November of 1621 that the Pilgrims of the Plymouth colony celebrated the first Thanksgiving. Existence was pretty bare bones in Plymouth in those days, and there certainly wasn’t much going on musically. I find it fascinating to think about that, and then to think about what was going on in Europe at the same time.
By 1621, for example, the new musical form known as opera had been around for about twenty years, the instruments of the modern violin family were already almost 90 years old, and the system of writing music in major and minor keys had been firmly established for several decades. And it was in 1626, while the Pilgrims were still shivering in their cabins, that the first permanent orchestra in the Western world was established, in somewhat better-heated buildings, at the court of Louis XIII of France. That orchestra was Les 24 Violons du Roy—the 24 Violins of the King.
A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.