2015-2016 Concert Season
Please join the Medieval Women’s Choir for another spectacular season of medieval music – and new works – from around the world.
Celebrate the holiday season with solemn hymns, irresistible dances, luscious motets, and songs of praise for St. Nicholas, the Virgin Mary, the New Year, and of course, Christmas. Our European holiday tour draws on music from Italy, Aquitaine, France, Spain and England.
February 13, 2016 at Bethany Lutheran at 7:30 p.m.
The language and ideas of courtly love permeated the culture of the 12th and 13th centuries, and they are nowhere more present than in the lyric verse and music of the time. The musical achievements of Machaut in France and Landini in Italy at the end of the 14th century are among the greatest manifestations of the medieval culture of courtly love, a formal, stylized concept of love that took hold among the upper classes in the middle ages. Closely related to the concept of chivalry among the knightly class, the tropes of courtly love are still familiar to us today: the lover, unworthy to even speak to his beloved, admiring her from afar; the impediments to love, such as a husband, a father, slanderers at court, or a difference in social status; the efforts to win favor through offerings of verse, music, or feats of arms; the inevitable misery that comes with the inevitable rejection; and the ecstatic reception of the slightest sign of favor from the beloved. Have we really changed so much?
The Song of the Angels
March 5, 2016 at Trinity Parish at 8:00 p.m.
What is the language of heaven? What is the song of the angels? Medieval theologians and singers thought they might know. Beginning in the 11th century, wordless song was seen as a way to approximate the language of paradise, incomprehensible on earth but understood by God. Recent research has shown how medieval singers interpolated such singing into their daily devotions, expressing the joys of the divine in language both earthly and heavenly.
It is hard for us to imagine the intense spiritual life of the medieval cloister, where mystical visions were commonplace. “Sister Books,” collections of short biographies of the cloister’s former residents, were assembled to provide an example and inspiration for younger nuns; visions figure in many of the accounts and are often associated with particular pieces of music. Join the Medieval Women’s Choir as we explore the ecstatic inner lives of medieval nuns.