The Several Lives of Tom Binkley: A Tribute
David Lasocki — Early Music America, Fall 1995, pp. 16-24
Tom Binkley, performer, teacher and recording artist, was one of the great gurus of early music.
A close colleague traces Tom's remarkable life and extraordinary influence.
An authority on period woodwind instruments and their music, David Lasocki is Head of Reference Services in the Music Library, Indiana University.
The Several Lives of Tom Binkley: A Tribute
Professor Thomas Eden Binkley died on April 28, 1995 at his home in Bloomington, Indiana, at the age of 63, after a distinguished career as a performer and educator in the field of early music. What follows here is a kind of amalgam —a survey of Binkley's life and work, a sampling of critical opinion of his recordings and a gathering of comment from students and colleagues about his performing and teaching. It will soon be clear that what I have to say about this remarkable man is only the first word. It is by no means the last.
Tom Binkley was born on December 26, 1931 in Cleveland, Ohio. This day of the year is known in Great Britain as Boxing Day—an appropriate metaphor for Tom's style, as we shall see. Tom's life cannot be seen in isolation, but rather, as Tom's widow, Raglind, put it to me, "as the logical product of an unusual family." His grandfather, Christian Kreider Binkley, former schoolteacher from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a poet and humanist, author of several books and collections of essays, studied Chinese language and literature, and translated the Tao Te Ching, while his wife ran a ranch and raised 11 children up in the hills of northern California. Tom's father, Robert Cedric Binkley, Christian's oldest son, was an author and historian, a Stanford graduate (like his father), who taught at Western Reserve, Stanford, Harvard, and Columbia. One of his legacies—highly relevant for early music—was the pioneering of microfilming as a way of preserving documents during the 1930s. All three Binkleys shared the ability to view their fields in broad perspective and to branch out at need into other fields and cultures, studying them intensively, learning them thoroughly and integrating them into their work.
The musical influence on Tom came from his mother's side. When Tom was only 9, his father died of cancer. His mother, Frances Williams Binkley, moved Tom and older brother Robert to Boulder, where she worked as the Social Sciences Librarian at the University of Colorado. She was a keen amateur pianist. Her sister, Jean Williams, taught the piano at Sarah Lawrence and had enjoyed the distinction of one concert at Carnegie Hall; she often visited the Binkleys during the summer. Tom and Robert both played in junior high band, then high school band. Tom began on baritone horn, later switching to the trombone. Although he was not considered a particularly outstanding player, it is noteworthy that Henry Cowell, an old friend of Tom's parents from Stanford
days, wrote a well-known piece for baritone horn and piano in quasi-Baroque style called Tom Binkley's Tune (1947). The Binkley brothers both played folk music—not cowboy or country— on the guitar. Tom extended his musical experience in a dance band that played in local towns, his party trick being to play the trombone and smoke a cigarette at the same time. Still, he was better known to his contemporaries for his skill on the football field than for his music.
Ever restless, after high school Tom moved to New York, where he took a series of odd jobs. He was a night guard at a hospital, and was fired as bottle washer at a dairy when the foreman caught him memorizing Persian vocabulary rather than washing bottles. What impressed his daughters most in later life was that he had been a New York taxi driver. He briefly joined the Marines, receiving an honorable discharge when his elbow was injured—a fortuitous injury, because it forced him temporarily to give up the trombone and concentrate first on the guitar, then on the lute. Back in New York he took lessons from a friend from Colorado days, Joseph ladone, now a graduate of Paul Hindemith's Collegium Musicum at Yale University, and certainly the most accomplished lutenist in America before the generation of Paul O'Dette.
At the age of 20, Tom made a commitment to study music and went to the University of Illinois, receiving a B.M. cum laude in 1956. Among his distinguished teachers were the musicologists Dragan Plamenac, Claude Palisca, John Ward, Thrasybulos Georgiades, and George Hunter. Tom, playing not only the lute but recorders, the shawm and other medieval woodwinds, was one of the performers in the vintage-year George Hunter Collegium Musicum which recorded the complete secular works of Guillaume de Machaut for the Westminster label in 1954 (released in 1956). Even at this stage Tom had worked out some imaginative lute accompaniments to the monophonic pieces. Hunter was an inspiring teacher, whose musicianship Tom also admired. Hunter was also open to Tom's ideas, which had an important influence on the group. By the completion of a postgraduate year at the University of Munich on a Fulbright Scholarship, Tom knew enough about lute technique to give a lecture on the subject at an international conference. Then he returned to Illinois for a year, bypassing the master's degree to work toward a doctorate but never completing the degree.
Instead, Munich beckoned again, and Tom took back with him another Illinois graduate student, Sterling Jones, who played vielle and viola da gamba. At first they were members of Capella Monacensis, an early music group run by a wealthy amateur lutenist named Weinhöppel. But the relationship quickly soured, largely because Tom already had his own strong ideas on performance. Tom and Sterling set up their own group, called at first Studio für Alte Musik [Studio for Old Music], which had been the name of Weinhöppel's concert hall. Some legal wrangling led Tom to rename the group Studio der Frühen Musik [Studio of Early Music], which was close enough to the original name that in Bavaria they had to perform as the Internationales Studio der Frühen Musik for a number of years until the fuss died down. In English-speaking countries they went by the name Early Music Quartet. The other two original members of the Studio were Andrea von Ramm, Estonian mezzo-soprano, and the British tenor Nigel Rogers. Because of this international makeup, beginning in 1961 the Goethe Institut (which played a part in German cultural exchange programming like that of the State Department's United States Information Agency) sponsored the Studio's tours—to the Far East and South America. Then agents took over. Nigel Rogers left after a few years to take up a solo career and was replaced by the American tenor Willard Cobb. Cobb in turn was replaced by the countertenor Richard Levitt, also an American.
The Studio adopted a professional attitude from the start. Tom told me once that the group had spent the first six months tuning, but Sterling Jones says that was largely because they were trying, unsuccessfully, to get their consort of Steinkopf crumhorns in tune. (How many other groups had the same experience in those days!) The Studio rehearsed every day for two or three hours virtually year-round. The group went on tour for nine months out of the year, then spent the other three months recording in Munich. Tom and Andrea, whose ideas meshed immediately, were always on the lookout for something new. Each year, the Studio offered two or three brand-new programs which it would take on tour, and it made one or two recordings per year, often adding other soloists. (Alas, distribution problems in the United States and Great Britain meant that a good many of these recordings were not released in those countries and in some cases have never been reissued there). Earning money solely from concerts and recordings, with token support from the State of Bavaria, the Studio's members lived from hand to mouth, always plowing back any profits into the business, for music, books, and instruments. Like other groups trying to entice the public into listening to medieval music—and in those days it wasn't easy—the Studio began by "tripping through a garden of goodies", as Sterling puts it. Then the foursome developed longer, more integrated programs and started to give performances of complete songs rather than playing and singing only a strophe or two. In later years, they also strove not to change instruments as often from piece to piece. Tom's ideas on lute accompaniment evolved—accompaniment being a test of his composing as well as his technical skills—and he made many exciting arrangements of entire works from the repertoire.
Most of the Studio's recordings, particularly of medieval music, met with critical acclaim. Just a taste:
The groundwork — the editing of original manuscripts and early printed editions — is extremely scholarly; the end
result, however, is anything but stuffy, especially when presented with
as much imagination, animation, gaiety, and down-to-earth humor as one
hears here. (Igor Kipnis on Bauern-, Tanz-, und Strassenlieder in Deutschland um 1500)
Instrumentalists in various past and present Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures reached high levels of technical proficiency without any apparent help from Western European musicians. Thus it is possible that in medieval Europe there were some musicians with an instrumental skill similar to that of the members of the Studio der Frühen Musik. One merely questions whether it is likely that so many of them happened to meet and reach such a high level of ensemble work. (Hendrik VanderWerf on Chansons der Troubadors)
It is particularly laudable that all the chansons are sung entire: without this, much of their character would be lost, as it is on many attempts to offer more songs but with only a sample verse of each. The musical power of these songs comes through on this record which, given the scholarly imponderables, is a fine achievement. (Margaret Bent on Chansons der Trouvères)
My own feeling is that while they probably cannot claim any authenticity, the songs in this form come alive in a way that plainer versions do not. (Denis Arnold on French Songs of the Thirteenth Century)
Studio never used the word "authentic" about its performances. Rather,
Tom would inform himself fully about the historical evidence of how a
certain repertoire was performed, try to furnish plausible historical
instruments for the job, then take his inspiration from the texts and
the instruments to make additions in what he felt was the spirit of the
music. Still, there was always the practical limitation that the
arrangements had to fit the size and talents of a group which needed to
make a living. A tour in north Africa introduced the group to a variety
of exciting folk instruments that had remained the same for centuries,
and therefore seemed appropriate for Iberian and southern French music
of the Middle Ages (the miniatures of the Cantigas de Santa Maria
show Arab and Western musicians side by side). Tom was also impressed
by the musicianship of the Arab musicians and borrowed rhythmic patterns
from them wholesale. Although the Studio became famous—even
notorious—as the group that played medieval music in an Arab style, the
genesis was therefore, according to Sterling, "a kind of accident". In
any case, Tom said he did not want to be remembered for this feature of
the Studio's performances.
Both the mixing of cultures and the desire to find the right performers for the job contributed greatly to the success and excitement of the Studio's recordings. For example, Tom wanted to show that the ancient Occitanian language is still alive in the south of France. So he hired Claude Marti, a folksinger well known to large audiences at summer festivals in southern France, to collaborate on the recording L'Agonie du Languedoc, which contains heartrending accounts of the Albigensian Crusade.
Four Years in Basel
By 1973, travel costs were eating up much of the Studio's budget, and the constant touring was making life difficult for everybody. Then, after a performance in Basel, Wulf Arlt, the director of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, offered Tom a position. Tom accepted, on the condition that the entire quartet be included. Three non-musical highlights of Tom's life in Basel were his marriage to Raglind in 1973 — in fifteen minutes snatched between rehearsals for a recording—and the births of their first two daughters, Leonor (1974) and Isabel (1976).
Tom's four years at the Schola afforded him the scope to develop his ideas about teaching and a larger ensemble than the Studio to work with regularly. He insisted on two hours of rehearsal for each class every day, an unprecedented amount for a school geared to private lessons. Eventually the differences between the two approaches loomed large. At about the same time, the Studio itself broke up, because of personal differences and because it was hard to know in which musical direction to go next, after all that they had accomplished. Sterling Jones believes that if the group had been willing to repeat the same performances over and over, the Studio could have done well financially at long last, but that Tom's and Andrea's restless temperaments would never have allowed that.
Back to the Land in California
The year 1977 therefore saw the Binkleys move to California. Tom had decided to pursue the then-fashionable dream of homesteading. The Binkley family property—440 acres near the top of a mountain, with springs but without a house—was an ideal place to do it. For several years, whenever he had toured in the U.S., Tom had returned to Basel with stacks of Organic Gardening and Mother Earth News. Not only did he devour books on construction, electricity and plumbing, but with their aid he actually mastered the basics of each trade. He came alone in April, hired a bulldozer operator, built a road to the top of the mountain, flattened the site, bought a trailer, and piped in water from the springs. One of Tom's uncles—part of the large Binkley clan living on the adjoining properties—had planted a kitchen garden and fenced it off from the deer. When Raglind and their daughters arrived in June, the place was habitable. They all found the spot enchanting, far away from the city lights, with long vistas over the valley and the calls of coyotes in the distance. Believing they were going to be there indefinitely, they did not build at once. Instead, Raglind recalls, they made a large batch of elderberry wine. The following year, however, Tom bought a kit for a hexadome, a variant of the geodesic dome, and set up the basic structure with the help of his uncles and a "barn raising", The tenor Harlan Hokin, a student from the Schola, came for a while to help level the ground and build the dome, sleeping in his Volkswagen Beetle. Before going off to a workshop in Boston, Tom made sure to give another visitor, his guitar-playing nephew Paul Binkley, a crash course in shooting a .22, in case Raglind and the little girls were threatened by a rattlesnake.
Music, Indiana and the Early Music Institute
A workshop in Boston? Yes, the world of music began to call Tom back. Invitations started to pour in. The family spent two winters in Palo Alto while Tom taught at Stanford. Despite the inaccessibility of the Binkley property, musical visitors from the U.S. and Europe were given to dropping by, sometimes unexpectedly. In 1979, two Indiana University students, Cheryl Fulton and Roy Whelden, drove out there and asked to study with Torn. Liking what they found, they went straight to Charles Webb, Dean of the School of Music at IU, and persuaded him to make Tom an offer. Tom immediately saw the potential of IU, the largest music school in the country. Stanford was stimulating intellectually, but really too small to allow large-scale performances. IU's vast pool of music students offered Tom an enormous performing and teaching challenge. The need to make money to buy building materials, which had risen in price since Tom had started homesteading, also entered into the Binkleys' decision. Supposing that it was to be for only two or three years, the family set off for Bloomington, Indiana. But the university has a way of drawing you in....
At IU, Torn set up the Early Music Institute, a quasi-independent body within the School of Music, and became its director. The status of the EMI has allowed it to seek funds from both the School of Music and outside sources, including the Mellon Foundation, three scholarship funds managed by the Indiana University Foundation (the Jason Paras Fund, the Willi Apel Fund and the Joseph Garton Fund) and the Foundation itself.
The early 1980s were a madhouse. Tom taught, conducted and ran the EMI with no secretarial help, the phones ringing nonstop and the usual visitors descending on no notice. At home, he worked constantly in the evenings and on weekends. Even after Tom acquired a full-time assistant in 1988, the frenzy continued without letup. Tom always had a million projects going on at once and tended to flit from one to another in the profound conviction that every one of the projects was important and that all, somehow, had to get done. He was always spontaneous, always in the moment: "Do it now" was the watchword, whatever "it" may have been. He hated bureaucracy with a passion, seeing rules, regulations and procedures as a series of obstacles to his creative ideas. He battled continually, saying what he thought, not worrying what people might think of him, and never, never giving up. Occasionally, growing tired of the latest piece of bureaucratic lethargy, he would announce, "I'm going to do something scandalous", then wait for the reaction it invariably produced. Not for Tom the way of tact and diplomacy. If his student assistants worked hard, he gave them more and more work to do; if they were poor workers, he gave them nothing. He disliked making decisions about details. Needless to say, these methods did not make it any easier to run a complicated organization that had to organize private lessons, courses, auditions, workshops, rehearsals and performances.
This maelstrom of activity, and the gallons of coffee that kept it churning, would fortunately subside with the end of each academic year. During the summers, Tom would spend three months at the Binkley California property. At first, his family would accompany him, but after his third daughter, Beatriz, was born (in 1981), Tom would make the trip by himself and Raglind and the children would join him later. There on the mountain, he exercised his construction skills, adding such improvements to the dome as solar panels and a new wing. He also built an addition to the family's house in Bloomington. One young man, arriving there for an audition, was met by Tom on the roof with the invitation to "Come on up and talk to me while you do some work".
Out of Chaos, Three-part Accomplishment
Despite the recurrent chaos at the EMI during Tom's 15 years as director, his zeal and industry helped him bring to fruition an enormous crop of creative ideas. First of all, he took the research purpose of an Institute seriously. Seeing both the need and a market, he approached the Indiana University Press with the idea of creating two series of publications. Music: Scholarship and Performance consists of books on early music and its performance practices. Publications of the Early Music Institute is a series of editions, translations of early treatises and practical books. Tom somehow made time to act as editor of both series. With the aid of a Mellon Foundation grant, he also established what is now called the Thomas Binkley Archive of Early Music Recordings, at the Music Library of Indiana University.
Privately, he encouraged research behind the scenes. One day he came to see me and, without so much as a "Hi, how are you?" he snapped: "David, you've written entirely too many articles". Because this could be taken in two ways, I was stunned into silence. Then he clarified his statement: "You need to work on some large-scale projects, write some books". When I explained that I was trying to write a book at that very moment, he promptly offered to look at the typescript. He read several hundred pages in a couple of days, gave me some sage advice on how to make it more marketable and even suggested which publishers would be suitable for it. As a result of Tom's intervention, I changed the direction of my book and did indeed find it a publisher.
Secondly, Tom continued to record. He established Focus Records, a label associated with the EMI that featured performances by its present and former students. Touchingly, Tom also reached back to the students of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis during these years, using them in several recordings for other labels. He expected, and was generally accorded, a professional standard of performance. A pair of recordings of the same work, the Greater Passion Play from Carmina Burana, made in the same year (1983) by the groups from Basel and Bloomington, constitute a fascinating comparative document (see the perceptive review by J.F. Weber in Fanfare, 11/12 1984, pp. 321-22). The list of recordings of IU performances contains no fewer than 45 entries, clear evidence that under Tom's direction the singers and instrumentalists of the EMI were privileged to take part in presentations of a wide range of early music, from the Cantigas de Santa Maria to Bach cantatas and a Handel opera. Two of Tom's large-scale dramatic performances were among the most moving I have ever heard: Luigi Rossi's Orfeo (1988), well received by the national critics, and Carmina Burana (1990), in (of course) a brand new version.
Thirdly, Tom conducted classes. On paper, his courses covered many topics, but in practice the topics tended to blend or even blur. Would we expect otherwise from a man who lived so much from moment to moment? A class labelled Lasso might begin with plainchant and wend its way for several weeks through the Middle Ages and Renaissance before reaching its ostensible subject. Quoth Tom: "How can you understand Lasso without plainchant?" He brought all his pugilistic skills to bear on his students, and it was not long before a new verb was added to the English language: to be Binked. When you were Binked, as many students have told me, you wanted the floor to open up and swallow you. Tom the Bink bullied, cajoled, scolded, quizzed, contradicted himself—on purpose or because it was a new and different moment—threw out koans in the manner of a Zen master and metaphorically hit his students on the head with a bamboo stick besides. He wanted to befuddle and mystify his listeners, confuse their logic, open them up, educate them in the true sense of the word: to draw out.
Binking and its Consequences
Angela Mariani, presenter of the syndicated WFIU early music radio program Harmonia, passed along a Binkley anecdote that its co-protagonist, dazed at the time, still doesn't quite remember. Angela was there in the classroom when this individual, a student with a particularly logical turn of mind, had for several minutes been pressing Tom for a logical answer to some point of performance practice—an answer which of course was not forthcoming. In exasperation, although quite instinctively, the student let his pencil fly out of his hands in Tom's direction. Without missing a beat, Tom caught the pencil and put it in his pocket. When the student later asked another too-logical question, Tom shot back: "It's hard to take notes without a pencil!" and flung it back over the student's head. The feat was at least as stunning a display of virtuosity as playing the trombone while smoking a cigarette, and far more instructive.
Angela told me another revealing story. In the fall of 1994, Tom organized a conference in Bloomington for Collegium Musicum directors from around the world. At one session, the conferees were going on and on about educational philosophy. When Tom's turn came, the sage, dying from prostate cancer and barely able to sit in a chair, remarked simply: "My educational philosophy is to form the mind so that it never believes anything". It stopped the show.
As a conductor and ensemble director, Tom put his students through the same process of discovery that he imposed upon his students in the classroom. If a performer was playing badly, Tom would look down and pull on his beard. "Why did you play that A?" "Think of five other ways to play that phrase". Or bluntly: "You didn't think about it enough". He never told you one way to do something—or if he did, you could be sure he would contradict it at the next rehearsal. A "But you said such-and-such yesterday", was met with a barked "That was yesterday".
I asked Kim Pineda, an accomplished traverso and recorder player who sang in the EMI's Pro Arte for three years, what he had learned from Tom. Kim answered that he had been inspired to do his best, even when he didn't feel like it. He had learned to play the traverso more vocally, to see the musical line and the big picture. Having come back to 18th-century music after performing earlier music, he saw it with new eyes. Faced with Tom's challenge "You'll come around to my way of thinking", Kim had been compelled to think for himself. He had absorbed Tom's method of gathering all the possible information, sorting it out, then going all-out for what he wanted. He remembered a few of Tom's aphorisms: "I can take this piece". "Speed doesn't kill if you know how to drive"— an admonition not to let technical limitations determine your tempi.
Of course, Tom's methods were not equally successful with all students. For example, each of the four members of Bimbetta I interviewed—Andrea Fullington, Sonja Rasmussen, Allison Zelles and Kathryn Shao— had very different reactions to Tom's tutelage. Sonja voiced the negative view. She believes that Tom made insufficient allowance for his performers' being students, unrealistically expecting instant professionalism, at least on commercial recordings. In class, he too often assumed that his students were Binkleys in miniature. His disorganization and lack of attention to bibliographic detail were frustrating, and his flitting from subject to subject drove her to distraction.
Andrea Fullington had quite a different reaction. Having been accepted at the EMI on the strength of a good audition, she found that the stress of moving to Bloomington from California had left her virtually unable to sing for two months. Tom, far from being harsh, went out of his way to reassure her that he knew she was under strain and that for now he was making no judgment of her singing. Of course, once she recovered her voice he began to put typical Binkley pressure on her. He would quip that if you couldn't survive under pressure, you would never make it in the music business. Even so, Andrea found Tom encouraging and inspiring from the start. "If you didn't crumble", she said to me, "then he paid attention to you". She appreciates the fact that he respected her for disagreeing with him when he forced her into an argument.
Allison Zelles's reactions were more mixed. At first, Tom told her that she was not developing her own mind and personality but was hanging too much on Andrea's coattails. He wanted something larger from her, something more in the way of commitment. Allison felt that Tom had doomed her career. So she angrily quit school, taking three incomplete grades, and left Bloomington and music alike. But then she discovered the harp and "fell in love with music again". After she dealt with the issue of her own commitment, she returned to the EMI and again worked with Tom. She found his methods harsh but respected his goals and felt that he really cared about his students.
Bimbetta's harpsichordist, Kathryn Shao, found Tom trying but now values the experience of working with him. He expected of students, in her words, that they "wouldn't have a life outside of class", that they would always be free to absorb material quickly. He made unrealistic demands, like the injunction to read a whole treatise by the next day. "Then he would say that he had really just wanted you to read two articles mentioned in the bibliography". He constantly changed his mind about how to perform a given work, finding several ways that were meaningful and musical. But this insight into the reality of multiple musical meaning is very useful to Kathryn now, helping her to keep her spontaneity.
Interestingly, Kathryn, Andrea and Allison all commented on Tom's expectation that they memorize everything—not just in performing but in life. He believed in the power of the oral tradition. They see this as an ideal and strive to follow it.
Eva Legêne, the teacher of recorder at the EMI and now also a member of the Indiana University woodwind faculty, made clear to me how important a figure Tom had been in her life. She had first encountered him at Stanford in the 1970s. She had taken his classes, but had known too little about medieval music to benefit from them and in any case had been unable to keep up with the workload. The doctoral students in the classes—among them such well-known figures as Julianne Baird, Jason Paras, and Sally Sanford—could keep up only by spending their whole lives studying.
In the mid-1980s, when Tom wanted to hire a recorder teacher for the EMI, he insisted that Eva was the one he wanted. Circumstances did not allow her to come at once, but he told her he could wait. (Tom once remarked to me that he liked her recorder playing better than anyone else's in the world).
Eva found life with Tom in the EMI very hard, although in retrospect beneficial. Like her own father, Johannes, Tom was highly principled, unbending, uncompromising, always demanding that people be creators, not consumers. Tom's mind was so active that it was hard for him to listen to other opinions, although he would listen when forced to. She admired Tom's idealism but felt that he lacked compassion, at least until near the end of his life, when his illness softened him. Whenever she went to Tom for ideas about the programs of X060, the Renaissance ensemble she directed, he was highly stimulating. During the preparation of a performance, he would throw everybody into a panic, certain that people always did better when their adrenalin began pumping. "You wondered how on earth it could come together", Eva told me, "then at the last moment he would pull the rabbit out of the hat—magic".
As for Tom's outrageous administrative style, Eva had always asked people who complained about it: "Who would you rather have as the director of the EMI? An artist or an administrator?" The answer was, of course, clear to everyone.
When Tom retired from EMI in January, 1995, at last too sick to continue, "The place felt empty from the moment he left". Eva's sense of loss was —and is—shared by many. But EMI continues: the distinguished gambist Wendy Gillespie is acting director; and a search for the new director will soon begin.
Binkley on Binkley
In the liner notes for a 1973 LP of Landini's music, Tom struck a whimsical biographical note. "Thomas Binkley
was born in Ohio, the son of a historian. As a boy, he wanted to become a dancer, but his parents objected. Later, he studied the science of music, became a research assistant, and took part in early attempts at computerized music. He translated a book about psycho-acoustics, and wrote several monographs. In the end, he exchanged the university for the stage. Today, as [researcher] and artist at the same time, he is working on performing techniques and stylistic improvements in music of the Middle Ages. But he would really rather have been a gardener". In the next 20 years, as we have seen, he did become a musical gardener, cultivating both the university and the stage. His one regret late in life was that he had not done more writing. Musician, scholar, gardener, builder, metaphorical boxer, dancer, linguist, homesteader, wine maker and connoisseur extraordinaire—Tom was gifted far beyond most mortals. His legacy is the stimulus, challenge and inspiration he brought directly to his students and colleagues and indirectly to the thousands who heard him in live performance and who continue to listen to his recordings. Many important early music performers active today grew in Tom's musical garden, including—to name only a few — all of Sequentia (Ben Bagby, Barbara Thornton, and Elisabeth Gaver), Paul O'Dette and Catherine Liddell. His music will live on in theirs. Truly, we have all been Binked. And we're all the better for the Binking.
Tom Binkley's Writings
Articles and Forewords
· "Le luth et sa technique." In Le luth et sa musique. Neuilly-sur-Seine, 10-14 septembre 1957, ed. Jean Jacquot, pp. 25-36. Paris: Editions du centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1958; 2nd ed. rev. & corr., 1976.
· "Electronic Processing of Musical Materials." In Elektronische Datenbearbeitung in der Musikwissenschaft ed. Harald Heckmann, pp. 1-20. Regensburg: Gustav Bosse, 1967.
· "Zur Aufführungspraxis der einstimmigen Musik des Mittelalters," Basler Jahrbuch für historische Musikpraxis 1: Sonderdruck, Winterthur: Amadeus, 1977.
· "The Greater Passion Play from Carmina Burana: An Introduction." In Alte Musik: Praxis und Reflexion. Sonderband der Reihe "Basler Jahrbuch für Historische Musikpraxis" zum 50. Jubiläum der Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, ed. Peter Reidemeister and Veronika Gutmann, pp. 144-57. Winterthur: Amadeus, 1983.
· "Der szenische Raum im mittelalterlichen Musikdrama." In Musik und Raum: eine Sammlung von Beiträgen aus historischer und künstlerischer Sicht zur Bedeutung des Begriffes "Raum" also Klangträger für die Musik, ed. Thiiring Bräm, pp. 47-58. Basel: GS-Verlag, 1986.
· Foreword to Willi Apel. Medieval Music: Collected Articles and Reviews. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1986.
· "A Perspective on Historical Performance," Historical Performance 1, no. 1 (Spring 1988): 19-20.
· Foreword to Willi Apel. Renaissance and Baroque Music: Composers, Musicology and Music Theory. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1989.
· "The Work is not the Performance." In Companion to Medieval and Renaissance Music, ed. Tess Knighton and David Fallows, pp. 36-43. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1991; New York: Schirmer Books, 1992.
· "Die Musik des Mittelalters". In Musikalische Interpretation. Neues Handbuch der Musikwissenschaft, Band 11, ed. Hermann Danuser, pp. 73-138. Laaber: Laaber
· Music: Scholarship and Performance [Indiana University Press]
· Publications of the Early Music Institute [Indiana University Press]
Tom Binkley's Recordings: A Sampler.
Lack of both time and space make it necessary to supply, not a full discography but rather a preliminary sampler of Tom Binkley's recordings. I hope to bring out a comprehensive discography in due course, and would welcome additions and corrections from readers c/o Early Music America. My thanks to Raglind Binkley, Deborah Kornblau, and Angela Mariani for their extra help with this checklist.
1964 Carmina Burana: 20 Lieder aus der Originalhandschrift um 1300. SdFM, MM. Recorded 21-25 July 1964. LP: Telefunken Das Alte Werk SAWT 9455; 6.41184 AW. PIN. Reissued 1987 CD: Teldec Das Alte Werk 8.43775. Reissued 1989 as Carmina Burana, Vol 1, CD: Musical Heritage Society MRS 512434L.
1968 Carmina Burana II. 13 Lieder nach der Handschrift aus Benediktbeuern um 1300 = Carmina Burana (II): 13 Songs from the Benedikt beuern Manuscript circa 1300. SdFM+. Recorded Oct 1967. LP: Telefunken Das Alte Werk SAWT 9522-A; 6.41235. 1988 CD: Teldec Das Alte Werk 8.44012.
1972 Johannes Ciconia, Italienische Werke; franzözische Werke; lateinische Werke. SdFM. LP: EMI IC 063-30 102. Reissued as Geistliche und Weltliche Werke 1991 CD:
CDM 7 634422.
1972 Oswald von Wolkenstein, Moophone Lieder; Polyphone Lieder. SdFM. Recorded 21-23, 27-29 Dec 1970. LP: EMI Reflexe 1C 063-30 101; Cass: IC 263-30 101. Reissued as Lieder 1989 CD: EMI Reflexe CDM 7 63069 2.
1972 Guillaume de Machaut, Chansons I. SdFM, choir. Recorded Sept 1971. LP: EMI Reflexe IC 063-30 106. Reissued 1989 CD: CDM 7 63142 2. PN.
1973 Guillaume de Machaut, Chansons II. SdFM. LP: EMI Reflexe IC 063-30 109. Reissued 1990 CD: EMI Reflexe CDM 7 63424 2. PN.
1974 Estampie: Instrumentale Musik des Mittelalters. Dances from British Library Add. Ms. 29987. SdFM, SCB. LP: EMI Reflexe 1C 063-30 122. PN. Reissued 1984? LP: His Master's Voice 1C 065 1301221.
1975 Musik der Spielleute = Music of the Minstrels. SdFM+. LP: Telefunken Das Alte Werk 6.41928 AW. Reissued 1985 LP: Musical Heritage Society MHS 7212.
1976 L'agonie du Languedoc. Brenton, Cardenal, Figueira, Sicart, Tomier & Palazi. SdFM+; CM, chanteur. LP: EMI Reflexe IC 063-30 132. PN.
1976 Vox Humana: Vokalmusik aus dem Mittelalter. anon., Daniel, Perotin, Petrus de Cruce, Raimbaut d'Aurenga, Meister Alexander. SdFM+. Recorded 24 May-2 June 1976. LP: EMI Reflexe IC 069-46 401. Reissued 1989 CD: EMI Reflexe CDM 7 63148 S. PN.
1976 Carmina Burana: 33 Lieder aus der Original Handschrift circa 1300. SdFM, MM. 2 LP: Telefunken Das Alte Werk 6.35319. Reissue of Carmina Burana and Carmina Burana II. Also reissued 1987 2 CD: Teldec Das Alte Werk Reference 8.43775 ZS.
1978 Musik des Mittelalters. SdFM. 4 LP: Telefunken Das Alte Werk 6.35412. Composite reissue of Chansons der Troubadours, Chansons der Trouvères, Musik der Minnesänger, and Musik der Spielleute. Also reissued 1986 as Music of the Middle Ages. 4 Cass: Musical Heritage Society MI-IC 249442T (MHC 9442-9445); 4 LP: MUS 847442W (MHS 9442-9445).
1980 Cantigas de Santa Maria. MSCB+. LP: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi IC 069-99 898. Reissued 1992 CD: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi GD77242.
1981 Troubadours & Trouvères. SdFM. LP: Telefunken Das Alte Werk 6.35519. Composite reissue of Chansons der Troubadours and Chansons der Trouvères. PN. Also 1985? CD: Teldec Das Alte Werk 8.35519.
1982 Minnesänger und Spielleute. SdFM. 2 LP: Telefunken Das Alte Werk 6.35618. PN. Composite reissue of Minnesang und Spruchdichtung um 1200-1300 and Musik der Spielleute. Also reissued 1988 CD: Teldec Das Alte Werk 8.44105.
1984 The Greater Passion Play from Carmina Burana. IUEMI. 2 LP: Focus 831. Reissued 1990 CD: Musical Heritage Society MRS 522539; Cass: MHC 322539Y.
1984 Das grosse Passionsspiel aus der Handschrift Carmina Burana (13. Jahrhundert).
MSd3. Recorded 28-30 Mar 1983. 2 EP: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi Documenta 1C 164 16-9507-3. PN.
1988 Guillaume Dufay, Missa Se la lime ay pale: A Complete Nuptial Mass. IUPOS. Recorded 10 Oct 1987. Cass: Focus 882. 1993 CD: Focus 934.
1991 Hildegard of Bingen, The Lauds of Saint Ursula. IUEMI. Recorded 4 Feb 1991. CD: Focus 911.
1991 Laude. ILIEMI. Recorded 9-10 June 1988. CD: Focus 912.
1991 Adam dc la Halle, Le jeu de Robin et Marion. SCB. Recorded May 1987. CD: Focus 913.
1994 Guillaume Dufay, Missa Ecca Ancilla Domini. IUPOS. Recorded Dec 1991, Nov 1992, Nov 1993, June 1994. CD: Focus 941.
1994 Beyond Plainsong: Tropes and Polyphony in the Medieval Church. IUPOS. Recorded 6 Mar 1994. CD: Focus 943.
Key to Abbreviations:
Cass — cassette
CD — compact disc
CM — Claude Marti
CMW — Concentus Musicus Wien
cond. — conductor
dir. — director
EP e — extended play record (45 rpm)
EvGD — Ensemble vocale Guillaume Dufay
IUBO — Indiana University Baroque Orchestra
IUEM — Indiana University Early Music Institute
IUOT — Indiana University Opera Theater
IUPOS — Indiana University Pro Arte Singers
JB — Jean Bolery, speaker
JP — Joaquim Proubasta
LP — long-playing record
MM — Münchener Marienknaben
MSCB — Mittelalterensemblc der Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
MSCB+ — Mittelalterensemble der Schola Cantorum Basiliensis augmented by singers and/or instrumentalists
PN I — Includes program notes by TB
SCB — Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
SdFM — Studio der Frühen Musik
SdFM+ — Studio der Frühen Musik augmented by singers and/or instrumentalists
TB — Thomas Binkley
UICM — University of Illinois Collegium Musicum
Photos, from top:
Tom Binkley with chitarra saracenica, 1965. Photo courtesy of Raglind Binkley.
Paris, mid to late 1960s. Studio der Frühen Musik (from left to right: Sterling Jones, Andrea von Ramm, Willard Cobb, Tom Binkley). Photo courtesy of Archives Lipnitzki, Paris.
At the Binkley property near Cobb, California, 1978. Tom and Raglind Binkley with daughters Leonor, 4, and Isabel, 2. Photo by Harlan Hokin.
Last Week at Marienbad? Tom with lute, mood surrealistic, setting unknown.
Munich, 1970s. Tom rehearses for Pop Ago. © Photo K.I.P.P.A., Amsterdam.