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Concert Details     (back to all performances)

Novus et Vetus

Saturday, June 5th, 2010 at 8 PM

At the dawn of western music, one might first expect the musical equivalent of "cave art" – ancient, simplistic, scholarly, and dry. Instead we are confronted with a sound world that might easily be mistaken for that of Steve Reich or any number of other 20th or 21st century composers. Our Novus et Vetus concert explores the fascinating grey area where ancient and modern collide.

Notes on selected pieces to be performed:

We'll begin in the 12th Century with Perotin's shocking Viderunt omnes, some of the earliest polyphonic music known. Its free use of dissonance, interchangeable phrases, and continual voice-crossing are shockingly modern though composed over eight hundred years ago.

In the 15th Century, Dufay used the then out-of-date technique of isorhythm, giving it one last spectacular farewell in his Vasilissa ergo gaude.

At the height of the clarity and balance of the Renaissance, resident wacko and prince of darkness Gesualdo was exploring the extreme reaches of harmony, gesture, and expression. We will hear three motets from his dark and twisted Tenebrae Responsories.

Viewed by many as a stuffy old academician, Paul Hindemith was secretly down for a good shock. In his Magisches Rezept, he uses madrigal idioms but with startling modern twists. Crunching harmonies swing into long strings of parallel perfect fourths, with a mysterious text taken from the recipe for a magic spell, calling for a pounded heart of a hare and a pinch of a goat dung stirred in milk.

Steven Lubin’s Flos Culturae, recently premiered by Madrigalia Via, takes the old style and idiosyncrasies of the renaissance master Lassus, and in true post-modern vein recreates it in the 20th Century - not a mere copy, but a true revival.

Our final stop on this journey will be Morten Lauridsen's Madrigali. The old madrigal way is reformed and reworked for us by a modern master whose compositions have become the favorites of thousands. His chosen texts here are Italian Renaissance love poems featuring vivid imagery of burning flames, to which he presents and then distorts a single sonority which he dubbed his "fire-chord." With intricate counterpoint and bold harmonic shifts, the Madrigali are dramatic and haunting.

Throughout this musical adventure Madrigalia Via will be sprinkling in some of our other favorite pieces that are delicate, joyful, and just plain fun. We sincerely hope you can join us for the ride.

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St. Joseph's
St. Joseph's Church                       [map]
371 Sixth Ave (at Washington Pl)
New York, NY 10014

Purchase Tickets
$10 in advance, $15 at the door

Students or under 18 (with ID):
$5 in advance, $7 at the door