Monks Singing Pagans:
Medieval Songs of Heroes, Gods, and Strong Women

Saturday, November 12, 2016 | 7:30 PM
Sunday, November 13, 2016 | 2:30 PM
Pre-concert recital with sound|counterpoint begins one hour prior to each performance
Nordstrom Recital Hall
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Benjamin Bagby | Voice, harps
Hanna Marti | Voice, harp
Norbert Rodenkirchen | Bone flutes, wooden flutes

Medieval music ensemble Sequentia collaborates with noted scholars to reconstruct Classical texts sung in European monastic centers between the 9th and 12th centuries. Experience songs of Fortuna, Dido, Cleopatra, Hercules, and more as they would have been enjoyed around the turn of the first millennium. The deeply moving poems from Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy will also be featured in reconstructions by director Benjamin Bagby and musicologist Sam Barrett of Cambridge University.

…Sequentia delivers the full compass of human expression, from contemplative quietude to virile chest-thumping, all served up with a startling intensity…
-The Boston Globe




I. Woden and Christ: Cohabitation in the Northlands
Charms and incantations from German and Anglo-Saxon sources (9th-10th centuries):

Forsahhistu unholdun? (Saxon baptismal oath for pagan converts)
Gang uz, nesso, mid niun nessinchilinon (Old High German charm against disease)
Eiris sazun Idisi / Phol ende Wodan (The ‘Merseburg Magic Charms’)
Wyrm com snican, toslat he man (from the Anglo-Saxon ‘Nine Herbs Charm’)
Wenne, wenne, wen-chichenne (Anglo-Saxon charm against a boil or cyst)

II. Fortuna and Philosophia

O varium Fortune lubricum (on the nature of Fortune, Paris, late 12th century)

Metra from the Consolation of Philosophy of Boethius (d. ca. 526) in musical settings from the Cambridge Songs (Canterbury, early 11th century):

Tha waes ricra sum on Rome-byrig (Anglo-Saxon prologue by King Alfred the Great, 9th century)
Carmina qui quondam studio florente peregi (Lament of Boethius in prison)
Cum Phoebi radiis grave (Philosophy’s reply)
Nubibus atris (Teaching of Philosophy)

III. Cleopatra and Dido: Suicidal Pagan Queens

Nunc est bibendum (Ode of Horace [65-8 B.C.E.], northern French songbook, late 11th-century)
Vaga (instrumental version of a sequence from the Winchester Troper, 11th century)
O decus, o lybie regnum (Lament of Dido, France, late 12th century; from the Carmina Burana)
Stans a longe (instrumental version of a sequence by Notker of St. Gall, 9th century)

IV. Orpheus: the Power of Song

Felix qui potuit boni (text by Boethius, from a Cambridge Songs, early 11th century)
O fons Bandusie (instrumental version of an Ode of Horace, southern French ms., ca. 1100)
Collis erat collemque (from the Metamorphoses of Ovid, 43 BCE – 18 AD)

V. Hercules: Heroic Inspiration

Prima Cleonei tolerata (Hexameter from the Carmina Burana ms., early 13th century)
Bella bis quinis (text by Boethius, from the Cambridge Songs, early 11th century)
Olim sudor Herculis (Pierre de Blois [d.1212], from The Later Cambridge Songs, 13th century)

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