Alexander Blachly, Director
Pythagoras in the Middle Ages: Music in Tune with the Heavens
Time: 7:30 pm
Admission: $25 ~ Front Section
$20 ~ General Admission
$15 ~ Seniors (65+)
$5 ~ Students (ID)
Purchase in advance at www.gemsny.org/events/pomerium
OR call 212-866-0468
OR at the door
"Pythagoras in the Middle Ages: Music in Tune with the Heavens" features several of the greatest musical works of the late Middle Ages: a large-scale two-voice organum setting attributed to Leonin preserved in sources from the mid-thirteenth century, Machaut's towering Messe de Nostre Dame from the mid-fourteenth century, and imaginatively patterned motets by Tapissier and Du Fay from the early fifteenth century. All of these works combine exacting mathematical designs with striking musical effects. Composers believed that numerical substructures, inaudible but nevertheless controlling music's sounding aspects, allowed their works to resonate with the "numerical" universe—an idea as old as Pythagoras, ca. 500 BC. In medieval polyphony, simple designs evolved into ever-more-ambitious structures. Spaced throughout the program, Pomerium presents the "isorhythmic" movements of Machaut's Messe de Nostre Dame, shimmering with intricate rhythms, hockets, and syncopations. The program concludes with ceremonial motets by Tapissier and Du Fay in which different repeating rhythmic patterns occur in all voices simultaneously in waves of conflicting meters, each work striving to make the most dazzling musical impression.
Kristina Boerger, Amber Evans, Chloe Holgate, Dominique Surh – sopranos
Nathaniel Adams, Michael Steinberger, Christopher Preston Thompson – tenors
Thomas McCargar – baritone
Peter Stewart – bass
A HIGH POINT
Kyrie from Messe de Nostre Dame Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377)
EARLY PYTHAGOREAN MUSIC
Hec dies (Easter gradual) Gregorian chant, Paris, Bibl. nat. 1112
Hec dies (clausula) Florence, Plut. 29.1 (F) (ca. 1245)
Hec dies (clausula) Wolfenbuttel, 628 (W1) (ca. 1240)
Hec dies (clausula) Florence, Plut. 29.1
Hec dies leticie/Hec dies (motet) Wolfenbuttel, 1099 (ca. 1260)
HOW IT ALL BEGAN: AN EXTENDED ORGANUM SETTING
Hec dies (organum) Leonin? (Florence, Plut. 29.1)
A HIGHPOINT, cont’d.
Sanctus from Messe de Nostre Dame Guillaume de Machaut
FOUR THIRTEENTH-CENTURY MOTETS
O Maria virgo davitica/O Maria/VERITATEM Montpellier, H196 (Mo) (ca. 1300)
Ave, regina/Alma redemptoris/ALMA La Huelgas Codex (ca. 1325)
Puellare gremium/Purissima mater/Pes Worcester Cathedral, MS Add. 68 (ca. 1280)
Alle psallite cum luya/ALLELUYA Montpellier, H196
A HIGHPOINT, Cont’d.
Agnus Dei from Messe de Nostre Dame Guillaume de Machaut
TWO EARLY FOURTEENTH-CENTURY ISORHYTHMIC WORKS
Mon chier amy Guillaume Du Fay (ca. 1397-1474)
Eya dulcis/Vale placens Jean de Noyers dit Tapissier (ca. 1370-c. 1409)
A HIGHPOINT, Cont’d.
Ite missa est from Messe de Nostre Dame Guillaume de Machaut
TWO MORE EARLY-FIFTEENTH-CENTURY PYTHAGOREAN WORKS
Apostolo glorioso/Cum tua doctrina/ANDREAS Guillaume Du Fay
Gloria Johannes Ciconia (ca. 1370-1412
POMERIUM, founded by Alexander Blachly in New York in 1972 to perform music composed for the famed chapel choirs of the Renaissance, derives its name from the title of a treatise by the 14th-century music theorist Marchettus of Padua. In the introduction, Marchettus explains that his Pomerium (literally, “garden”) contains the fruits and flowers of the art of music. Widely known for its interpretations of Du Fay, Ockeghem, Josquin, Palestrina, Lassus, and Gesualdo, the modern Pomerium is currently recording a series of compact discs of the masterpieces of Renaissance a cappella choral music, of which the fifteenth to be recorded, Music for the Tudor Queens, was released in February 2015.
ALEXANDER BLACHLY has been active in early music as both performer and scholar since 1972. He earned his post-graduate degrees in musicology from Columbia University and is a recipient of the Noah Greenberg Award given by the American Musicological Society to stimulate historically aware performances and the study of historical performing practices. Prior to assuming the post of Director of Choral Music at the University of Notre Dame in 1993, Mr. Blachly taught early music and directed collegia musica at Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, Rutgers University, and the University of Pennsylvania, where for eight years he directed the a cappella ensemble Ancient Voices. In addition to Pomerium, Mr. Blachly directs the University of Notre Dame Chorale and Festival Baroque Orchestra.