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

17 March 2017
Basel (CH) Predigerkirche, Freunde Alte Musik
Monks Singing Pagans

25 March – 2 April 2017
Lafayette College, Vassar College, Princeton University, Yale University
Benjamin Bagby Beowulf tour USA

1 April 2017
New York City, Symphony Space
Book release event for ‘The Inquisitor’s Tale’

11 May 2017
Paris, Université de Paris – Sorbonne, Amphithéâtre Richelieu
Beowulf

See full concert schedule

 

News

Hildebrandslied

Benjamin Bagby has recorded the only surviving Old High German epic fragment, the Hildebrandslied (The Song of Hildebrand), for inclusion in an audiobook version of Adam Gidwitz’s new book for children and young adults, The Inquisitor’s Tale, just released by Penguin/Random House. He also recorded harp accompaniments to go with portions of the reading of the story. A release event is being schedule for New York City in early April, 2017.

 

New program given birth at Cambridge University

Following working sessions in 2014-15 with University of Cambridge musicologist Sam Barrett in the USA (Harvard University and Ohio State University) and in Cambridge (Pembroke College), Sequentia was in residence at Cambridge in April for the final rehearsals of the new program 'Monks Singing Pagans'.  An informal video of a rehearsal made by the university became a YouTube sensation, with over 500,000 views. In addition to their rehearsals and working sessions on the songs of Boethius, Sequentia gave a masterclass and the premiere performance of 'Monks Singing Pagans', immediately followed by the US premiere during a residency at Dartmouth College (USA). The week spent at Dartmouth included teaching activities in music history, performance practice, Latin poetry and manuscript studies. Sequentia returned to Cambridge in late June to prepare a special program of the Boethian songs, which was given as part of a symposium on medieval Latin song, with a special concert on 2 July in Pembroke College Chapel.

 

Teaching in Basel and Milano

Benjamin Bagby will be teaching performance courses on medieval song at two music academies this year:

Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Basel, Switzerland): 31 October to 1 November 2016 and 13-14 March 2017

Scuola Civica di Musica Claudio Abbado (Milano, Italy): 2-3 December 2016 and 16-18 February 2017

 

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