Ensemble for Medieval Music. Benjamin Bagby, Director

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Fragments for the End of Time

Fortis atque amara

Frankish sequence (9th century)
Source: Paris, B.N. lat. 1084 / transcription Alejandro Planchart.

The Frankish sequences – newly-created pieces whose role in the liturgy is not always clear to us – were often creations of great beauty and imagination. Some of their melodies may have roots in earlier traditions, and the texts also display a succinct virtuosity, cleverly incorporating imagery from earlier Christian writers in new and surprising ways. This apocalyptic sequence, with its unusual melody, introduces most of the themes in our program.


Full of might and bitter that day shall be, on which all things shall perish: what is seen in bodily form, the earth, and all the creatures that swim.

The gentle judge will draw near, to measure out punishment strictly, and he will judge the ages, he whom created all. The high column of heaven will begin to tremble at his nod. Oh memorable day, on which all things shall be laid open!

And what shall become of the scribe’s mark, what of the tablet, if the column of the sky shall begin to be so afraid? And what shall human beings feel, or earth’s creatures, if the hosts of the heavens shall begin to tremble so?

Oh you who as King lavish all things upon us – the eternal, the present – do not let us go into hell’s loathsome places, the dwellings of the devils – no, lead us to the angels’ realms! Amen.

Translation: Peter Dronke

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Upcoming Concerts

13 and 14 March 2020
Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton NJ (USA)
Benjamin Bagby's Beowulf
– Postponed due to Coronavirus concerns

April 2020
Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, France
Workshop Roman de Fauvel – part III
– Postponed due to Coronavirus concerns

04 September 2021
Utrecht Early music festival, Utrecht (NL), Pieterskerk, 3 p.m.
Words of Power – Charms, Riddles and Elegies of the Medieval Northlands

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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