sacred music

Guillaume Du Fay - Missa Sancti Jacobi Bologna, Civico Museo Bibliografico, Q 15, ff.CXXI-CXXXV

11/14 performers

Between 1427 and 1428 Guillaume Du Fay composed this monumental page of the history of music. This work, which contains among other distinctions the first example of faux-bourdon technique found outside of the British Isles (in the Post-communio section), includes a complete polyphonic setting of both the Ordinary and the Proper (Introitus, Alleluja, Offertorio, Communio) of the Mass for the Feast of St. James: a Plenarium. The performance includes also the participation of instruments, as was common at the time for this sort of "cantilena Mass". The performance is based on a new transcription edited by Claudia Caffagni.

Review of the concert in Santiago do Cacem (P) on the 4th of April 2013
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Sponsa Regis - The Triumph of the Virgin in the works of Hildegard von Bingen

Dendermonde, St. Pieters & Paulusabdij Cod. 9
4 performers

Antiphons, responsories and readings all grouped around one of the central elements of the sacred philosophy of Hildegard, perhaps the last great exponent of the serene, harmonious tradition of Medieval Christian Neoplatonism: the privileged, triumphant role of the Virgin Mary: not the mother weeping at the foot of the Cross, but the woman dressed with the sun of Revelation, the "scepter and diadem of royal dignity". Not a reconstruction of the liturgy that Hildegard created and practiced, but rather symbolic evocations of a light which in all of 900 years has lost nothing of its splendor.
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Vergine Bella - women in (and of) the Middle Ages: mysticism and devotion

4 performers

The extraordinary importance that Medieval piety gave to the ideal of feminine virtue, the inspiration, not only of the Virgin Mary but of a host of other women saints that Medieval singers and poets eagerly drew upon from England to Spain, from France to central Italy is the focus of the music chosen for this program. A musical itinerary that culminates in the masterful musical setting which Guillaume Du Fay cast over the words of Petrarch's celebrated sonnet, in which the poet, like a love-smitten knight, praises the "fair Virgin, clothed with the Sun", but also calls upon her as a desperate sinner to "aid me in my struggle; though I am but clay, and you the Queen of Heaven".
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Lyra mystica – Sacred polyphony from the origins until Guillaume Du Fay

4 performers

The powerful bond that links music to the celestial powers, to the supreme creative forces, to physical and spiritual perfection is a well-known theme in practically all human cultures. In the peculiar and highly elevated conception that the Medieval Christian west held of music, the images and archetypes of ancient Paganism, elements of Hellenic philosophy and Latin-Judaic theology are united in rich harmony. All this and much more reveals itself in the majestic Music of the Spheres and in the perpetual glorification of God by the Celestial Hierarchy. This, in short, the medieval ideal of music: the privileged path of holiness, a miraculous instrument of salvation as well as a specific attribute of the Church Triumphant.

 

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Laude di Sancta Maria - A vigil of "Laude" for the Virgin Mary

8 performers

The program's conception aims to stress the esthetic and spiritual unity of the two surviving Laude manuscripts complete with music, combining five laude from the Cortona manuscript with five from the Florence Laudario according to the principal feast days of the liturgical year. Along this ritual path, marked by the Mysteries and Stations of the Liturgy, parallel to the life of the Church, the devotional activities of the Laudesi companies were concentrated. These lay confraternities held regular "vigils" in which the events of the liturgy were meditated-- and sung. Our "vigil" is of an "archetypical" sort in which a hypothetical confraternity of Laudesi retraces the entire circuit of the liturgical year in a single concert, with all the intensity of emotion which such a concentration of sacred events inevitably entails.

 

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Legenda Aurea - Laude of the Saints from Cortona and Florence

8 performers

The "Legenda Sanctorum" of Jacopo da Varazze (1228-1298), later known as the "Legenda Aurea" was - after the Bible - the most read, most quoted, most paraphrased and most often heard text of the Middle Ages. The laude in honor of the Saints represent the second largest thematic nucleus of the Laudari of Cortona and Florence and can be justly considered "sermons in music and verse", the narrative material of which - when not taken directly from the "Legenda" - is still concrete evidence of its dissemination in common thought. Utilizing the meters and forms of popular poetry (for example, the Ballata), the Laudesi repertoire draws on the direct simplicity of popular theatre, translating it into a religious language of powerful emotional force. The interpretation of laReverdie, the result of ten years of historical, linguistic, musicological, organological and theatrical research, intends (through the liberal use of vocal and instrumental improvisation) to explore the rich potentialities of this little-known repertoire at the moment of its greatest artistic splendor.

 

 

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Missa coram papa, Missa magna – two Masses at the Avignone’s papal Court during the Great Schism (1378 – 1417) Apt, Cathedral Sainte-Anne, Bibliothèque du Chapitre 16 bis

9 performers

Missa coram Papa was the Mass celebrated at the presence of the Pope meanwhile Missa magna was the Mass celebrated in the big feasts by the Pope himself. Both liturgies, as documents of the late Avignone’s papal Court prove, were accompanied by polyphonic settings of the Ordinary. The manuscript more connected with the context of the Papal Chapel between the very end of the XIV and the beginning of the XV century is the Apt16bis - Cathédral Sainte-Anne, Bibliothèque du Chapitre. Among the numerous settings of the Ordinary copied in this manuscript (10 Kyrie, 9 Gloria, 10 Credo, 4 Sanctus, 1 Agnus), laReverdie has selected musical material in order to reconstruct two liturgies, one for an ordinary feast (Missa coram Papa), one for a big feast dedicated to the Holy Mary (Missa magna). The stylistic analysis of the whole liturgical repertoire of the Apt’s manuscript, shows clearly that we are in front of the typical Missa Cantilena style, where Tenor and Contratenor lines were mainly composed to be played by instruments. The performing choices of laReverdie are based on these suggestions, using two different kinds of instrumentations for the two different Masses
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last updated: 9.5.2013