Sequentia

Ensemble for Medieval Music. Benjamin Bagby, Director

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Sequentia celebrates its 40th anniversary in March 2017
 
 

Contact

E-mail: info@sequentia.org

Representation
(Europe)

Katja Zimmermann
VCzimmermann@gmx.net

Representation
(exclusive of Europe)

Seth Cooper
Seth Cooper Arts Inc.
4592 Hampton Ave.
Montréal, QC, Canada
www.sethcooperarts.com
sethcooper.arts@gmail.com
Tel: 514-467-5052

In association for
Season 2016-2017 with:

Jon Aaron
Aaron Concert Artists 
220 West 148th St. 4J
New York City 10039, NY / USA
Tel: 212-665-0313
jon@aaronconcert.com

 

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Programs

Fragments for the End of Time

Unsar trohtin hat farsalt

Instrumental version of the Freisinger Petruslied, Bavaria (late 9th century)
Source: München, Bayr. Staatsb. Clm 6260, fol. 158v. / Transcription: N. Rodenkirchen

This processional with refrain is one of the oldest surviving melodies found in a German source. The manuscript is neumed throughout, making a transcription possible.

Thes habet er ubar woroltring

‚De die Iudicii’ from the ‚Gospel Book’ of Otfrid von Weissenburg (Alsace, †875)
Source: Heidelberg, Cod.Pal.lat. 52 / Reconstruction: B. Bagby

This heartfelt description of the final judgement is taken from the Evangelienbuch of the Alsatian monk Otfrid von Weissenburg (the first German poet whose name we know), who wrote commentaries and paraphrases on the Gospels in the local German dialect (which he calls Frankish) of his fellow brothers and the nearby noblemen. In a prologue, he states that a pious matron named Judith urged him on in this work. These verses were not intended for silent reading, but were probably ‚performed’ before a partially pre-literate audience in the style of the Germanic oral poetry long appreciated by learned men and women. Several manuscript sources of this text contain musical notation. Here, in an excerpt from the chapter entitled in die iudicii (‚on the Judgement Day’), we experience Otfrid’s very personal involvement with the terrifying story he has to tell.

Text

For the entire world a judgement day has been set, before a powerful court, and we must fear it. I say this loudly: there will be no one who can avoid appearing before this court!

[Refrain]: On that day of judgement it will go well for those who need not worry about their past deeds, and against whom in that hour no accusation can be brought; for them, protection and a path to safety will still be possible!

Even those wretches who have lived on earth just as they pleased, they too will have to appear. It’s difficult for me to say this: all who were born of woman must be present (my heart is terrified at the thought!), to account for their deeds, one after the other, without exception. A woeful judgement day! [Refrain]

There will be no help, believe me, for anyone; nor will anyone be able to escape. Everyone who is convicted there will suffer the eternal pain of hell’s punishment. [Refrain]

Do you know what the prophet of the Lord says about this time? He says there will be great agony. You can read his words: it is a day of anger, of struggle, of suffering and countless terrors. On that day the angels will loudly blow their horns, which will resound over the earth to awaken the dead. [Refrain]

It is the day of storms and darkness – woe!  All sinners will be swept away. What more can I possibly say? It is a day of immense suffering. [Refrain]

Have you read the prophesies, which tell how the Lord will appear threateningly from above, and shake the heavens,? What man on earth could then resist, when the Lord causes even the heavens to quake?  Keep this image in your mind: He will fold up the heavens with His powerful hand, like a book snapped shut. [Refrain]

Truly, this day can be compared with no other, and there can be no thought of escaping it. There will be no way to quickly make a secret plan of evasion; even the smallest thought will become known, this is certain! [Refrain].

Translation: B. Bagby (based on Gisela Vollmann-Profe)

Watch a recording from Jaroslaw, Poland, 2009

Upcoming Concerts

9 June 2017
Essen-Werden (DE), St. Lucius Kirche
Beowulf

25 August 2017
Basel (CH), Festtage Alte Musik
Endzeitfragmente

See full concert schedule

 

News

Benjamin Bagby's recent activities as teacher/lecturer, linked to his performances

At the invitation of the music department, Benjamin taught a performance workshop on the music of Hildegard von Bingen for students at Princeton University (29 March), where he also performed 'Beowulf' in a collaborative production with digital light designer Craig Winslow. Following this, at the invitation of the medieval studies program and the English department, he gave a lecture on his work with reconstructing the 'Beowulf' performance, at Yale University (3 April).

At the Université Paris – Sorbonne, where Benjamin is on the faculty, the yearly 'Entretiens de la musique ancienne' were held this year in honor of his life-long work with reconstructing 'lost songs'. The main event was his performance of 'Beowulf' (11 May), with French video titles, in the Amphithéâtre Richelieu of the Sorbonne, followed by two days of symposium at the university's Centre Clignancourt, sponsored by the historical music organization IREMUS and the musicology department of the university. During this symposium, Benjamin gave a lecture on his work with reconstructed harps and the kinds of clues they can provide ('Beowulf ': dans l'atelier d'un conteur d'histoires).

 

2017 Barbara Thornton Memorial Scholarship awarded by Early Music America to string-player Allison Monroe

This scholarship is given by EMA to “an outstanding and highly-motivated (and possibly unconventional) young performer of medieval music who seeks to widen his/her experience through more advanced study and/or auditions in Europe.”  The recipient is chosen by a jury of musicians who knew or worked with the great medieval music specialist and teacher, Barbara Thornton (1950-1998), who co-founded Sequentia together with Benjamin Bagby in 1977. Read more about Allison here.

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