’Apocalypse - The Revelation of the St. John’

Music from the medieval spanish manuscript Codex Las Huelgas confronted with the contemporary jazz music

The beginning of the 13th century was quite important for the history of the West European music. By the tradition of the vocal polyphonic, almost iprovisational practice of “organum purum” based on the gregorian chant, is possible to find a new style of well fixed polyphonic music. Though this music is a big call appeal for the improvisation! In manuscripts the melodic and rhytmic course of the pieces is marked out by the notation, but the cast of the voices and how to work with is, for sure within certain limits, open and full of possibilities. That's why we have chosen this repertoire for the cross connection between the vocal ensemble intepreting the medieval music with jazz instruments. The jazz trio is getting in to the position of a substitute of medieval instruments and to the position of a musical narrator of the story, that is not included in texts of the plainchant and polyphonic pieces interpreted by the women voices. The story is the Apocalypse – The Revelation of the St. John, that was quite popular in the Middle Ages on the Iberian Island and is always current because of its mysticism and divination of the end of the world. So we are forming an incorporation of a “conservative” improvisational practice of the Middle Ages with jazz improvisation of the 21st century. Co-star David Dorůžka - guitar, Marcel Bárta - saxophone, Martin Novák - percussion
Kyrie eleison (Codex Las Huelgas)

’Flos inter spinas – Blossom among thorns’

The lives of Saints Margaret, Barbara and Catherine in a medieval plainchant and polyphonic pieces.

The programme presents the legends of the lives of the holy virgins, as preserved in the Benedictine and Cisterian manuscripts, representing the late medieval choral repertoire of Bohemia. It is composed from chosen parts of the offices to the saints Katherine of Alexandria, Barbora and Margret. Plainchant pieces in this concert programme are complemented by polyphonic motets from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries taken from the La Clayette and Bamberg codex with the accompaniment of gothic harp. CD available!
Responsorium O, Cristi pietas
Moteto O, Maria maris stella


The birth of the polyphony

At the end of the 9th century there has started a huge turn in european music history – first treatises about a creation of improvised polyphonic music were founded. Sacred music was breaking out of the dominance of monophonic music – of the western plainchant – and there has started lenghty period of fascination by harmony and its numerical formulation. The 10th century tried to find a term for establishing those allowed consonances – coming in paralel fourth, fifth and octave at first – it means a term for the polyphony as such. One of those terms was organum, which is used in musicology until today. The synonym of this term is diaphonia. This term we can find in the treatises from the 9th century of Hucbald of St. Amand. The concert programme presents the birth of the polyphony as we can find in the main european manuscripts from the end of the 10th century, progress of early organum in the 11th century flourishing in the parisian Notre – Dame Cathedral in hands of Magister Leoninus and filling up in the monumental pieces of his successor Magister Perotinus.

‘Ego sum homo’

Musical visions of Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen is one of the most expressive women of the Middle Ages. Her influence in various spheres of human activities was enormous, and likewise in the sphere of music. As Hildegarda was ignored by the academic world in her epoch, now she is starting to be an established authority in the field of mysticism, music, literature, medicine etc. Holding of her music is a great challenge for every musician. There are many music pieces of Hildegarda but for this concert programme we have chosen her plainchant compositions from the Riesencodex manuscript, which contains about 77 of her compositions. These are in fact very difficult, melismatic and masterly compositions, which we perform mainly with solo voices accompanied by the gothic harp. The concert programme is something like a musical manifest of medieval technical virtuosity, that is not enough valued in our time.


Unique project of Berg Orchestra and Tiburtina Ensemble

Slavomíř Hořínka: Litaniae Lauretanae, Magnificat (2012), Arvo Pärt: Stabat Mater (1985)
More about the concert programme on the Berg orchestra website www.berg.cz

„François Couperin (1668 – 1733): Messe propre pour les couvents“

Co-star: Eva Bublova - organ

Organ mass is typical french musical genre of 17th and 18th century. It is based on alternation of organ sections (often in number of 20) with plainchant. Very close structure of this musical form is clearly set by structure of Ordo missae. Longer and developed organ entrances comes only in offertory, Deo Gratias, alternatively at communion. In the short organ entrances, titled and specified by typical french registration (plein jeu, grand jeu, basse de trompette, recit de cromorne, recit de tierce, cornet) we can admire very inventive harmonies, dancing grace and orchestral effects. For sure we can find this in works of great composers like François Couperin and Nicolas de Grigny are. Coulourful universe of the french baroque that loves different moods, were the most important thing is “le bon gout” (good taste) and “l'esprit” (spirit), stands in contrast to italian virtuosity and german counterpointal rational thinking. François Couperin's (1668 - 1733) Messe propre pour les couvents (Proper mass for convents) is in this case kind of a jewel. Moreover there is not used any musical citation of the plainchant, so you can use any gregorian mass ordinary for the alternation, any that is in the same modality and style. In its history western plainchant has reflected new emerging musical styles. Perhaps it was the most noticeable during the baroque period – in the manner of accompanied monody we can find harmonization of plainchant, in french baroque music specifical ornaments. The western plainchant get the real taste of “powder” and “courtesy”, so typical for french baroque music. Registrations required by composers can't be ignored. It's not easy to find right and matching instrument, especially in the Central Europe.

’Speculum Absconditum’

Reverence for St. Lambert in benedictine monasteries in Central Europe

From its establishment in the 10th century the female benedictine monastery of St. George at the Prague Castle have represented the principle liturgical and cultural center in Czech lands. Especially from the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th century there are preserved interesting liturgical manuscripts that are reflective of the liturgical office image in the most important period of the monastery – the period of abbess Kunigunde of Bohemia, member of the Přemyslid dynasty. Among these manuscripts belongs both czech manuscripts we have used the repertory of St. Lambert's office for - the antiphonary NK XIII.C.7 and the breviary of Kunigunde of Bohemia NK XII.D.9. These manuscripts comes with the image of sanctorale in the St. George's tradition of the end of the 13th century. The repertory of the office for St. Lambert's feast in the antiphonary NK XIII.C.7 is not unique in the european context at all, but is unique in the context of St. George's manuscripts and the Prague diocese as well. The european concordances we can find in cathedral manuscripts from Aachen, Utrecht and Cambrai f.e. The music of the office is older then the music of the St. Lambert's repertory from the other manuscript we have used – the antiphonary Graz, Universitätsbibliothek, 30 (Graz 30) from the Abbey of Sankt Lambrecht (Steiermark, Austria). Unlike the czech manuscript NK XIII.C. 7 the austrian comes with music for the office of the St. Lambert's feast (same as the czech one) and its octave and the feast of St. Lambert's “Translatio”, which we can't find in the St. George's manuscripts. The music of this office is much more younger then that in the NK XIII.C.7 tradition. We can find new kind of poetry (antiphons O martyr gaude and Hic meritis clarus), the melodic lines are different and responsory verses come with new music, not with the old style modal verses melodies (f.e. responsory Beatus Lambertus). The only concordances that we find between this two manuscripts are these two – antiphon Magna vox laude sonora from first vespers and invitatory Eternum trinumque from matins. As we can see the mirror of the native reverence for St. Lambert is not straight in the Central Europe. We can find two traditions for sure – the first one which is reflected in the antiphonary NK XIII.C.7 and which comes from the area of today's Belgium and the Netherlands - and the second one which is reflected in the antiphonary Graz 30 and is widespread in the area of today's Austria.