Ensemble for Medieval Music. Benjamin Bagby, Director

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Sequentia celebrates its 40th anniversary in March 2017




Katja Zimmermann

(exclusive of Europe)

Seth Cooper
Seth Cooper Arts Inc.
4592 Hampton Ave.
Montréal, QC, Canada
Tel: 514-467-5052


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Words of Power – Charms, Riddles and Elegies of the Medieval Northlands (8th–11th centuries)
New program for 2019 directed by Benjamin Bagby

Benjamin Bagby voice and Germanic harp
Hanna Marti voice and harps
Stef Conner voice
Norbert Rodenkirchen wooden and bone flutes

For this intense new program, vocalist and harper Benjamin Bagby will be joined by his Sequentia colleagues Norbert Rodenkirchen, Hanna Marti and Stef Conner, for a program of riddles, charms and elegies of their medieval ancestors, the Anglo-Saxons and the Germanic tribes of the European Northlands.

These are songs of magic, healing, exile, of the uncertainty of fate, of a wandering poet/singer searching for a patron, funeral songs and celebrations of life-giving magic herbs. Their sources are varied: the Old English Beowulf epic, the Old Icelandic poetic Edda, and the few poems surviving in ancient songbooks such as The Exeter Book. Each of these songs is a glimpse into another time far from ours, and into the souls of poets, warriors, valkyries and seeresses, bards and philosophers, whose creations were the first to be written down in English and other Germanic languages. In addition to songs in English, there will be Old High German and Old Icelandic songs of conjuring, magic, and lament as well. The world of the pagan medieval north, just turning to Christianity, will be explored, using the oldest sources known to us today. The featured instruments will include 6-string Germanic harps, triangular harps, wooden flutes and a swan-bone flute.

The program will include performances of the following:

  • Old English riddles;
  • the Anglo-Saxon magic Charm of Nine Herbs, a story of healing;
  • from the Old Icelandic 'Edda', the Song of Grotti's Millstone: two giant slave-girls are forced to grind out magical wealth for King Grotti, until they rebel...
  • Deor, the lament of a tribal singer no longer favored by his chieftain;
  • the Wanderer: a powerful song of lonely travel in icy winter, fate, and regret;
  • Wulf and Eadwacer: the mysterious lament of a woman cut off from her man;
  • some of the oldest recorded songs of the German-speaking peoples.

Upcoming Concerts

22 August 2024
Brauweiler, Germany (Abteikirche St. Nikolaus Brauweiler), 7.30 pm
Musen der Sphären (World Premiere)

24 October 2024
Prague, University of Prague (Boethius 150th anniversary)
Boethius - Songs of Consolation (Quartet)

14 February 2025
Kulturzentrum Peterskirche, Kempen
Musen der Sphären

See full concert schedule



Benjamin Bagby's teaching activities in 2019

In March 2019, Benjamin will give two weekend courses on the solo songs of Philippe le Chancelier (d. 1236). The courses are being hosted by the Centre de Musique Médiévale de Paris. Dates: 9-10 and 30-31 March.
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After retiring from his teaching position at the University of Paris - Sorbonne, where he taught between 2005 and 2018 in the professional masters program, Benjamin Bagby continues to travel widely in 2019 to teach practical workshops for young professionals:

Folkwang Universität der Künste (Essen-Werden, Germany).
Benjamin has joined the faculty of this renowned masters program for liturgical chant performance and medieval music. The dates of his courses in 2019: 5-7 April; 26-28 April; 17-19 May; 30 May–01 June.
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For the second year in a row, Benjamin will teach an intensive course in the 8th International Course on Medieval Music Performance (Besalú, Spain): Songs of the troubadours (for singers and instrumentalists).
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Amherst Early Music Festival (Connecticut College, New London CT) 21-28 July:
An intensive course on the solo cansos of the Occitan troubadours, with a focus on songs from the great Milan songbook Bibl. Ambr. R71 sup. (for singers and instrumentalists).
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