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© Rudy Carlier

By this point all knowledge of the composers’ virtuosity, their technical finesse, of liturgy and profane music will have sunk into the fabric of a capella sound.

About the concert

Magister Perotinus (approx. 1207–1238): Viderunt omnes        
Pierre de Manchicourt (approx. 1510–1564): Jubilate Deo
Anonyme (Cyprus, approx.1380): O radix Jesse
Josquin Desprez (approx. 1455–1521) Sanctus from Missa Faisant regretz
Solage (approx. 1380): Fumeux fume
Cipriano de Rore (1516–1565): Calami sonum ferentes
Guillaume de Machaut (1300–1377): Gloria from Messe de Nostre Dame
Jacobus Clement (approx. 1515–1556): Qui consolabatur me
Anonyme (Albion, approx. 1320): Virgo salvavit hominem
Scipione Lacorcia (approx. 1580–1620): Stravagante pensiero
Anonyme (Winchester 10th cent.): Alleluia Judicabunt

Singing is as ephemeral as curls of smoke. It cannot be preserved or exhibited in a museum: it exists only in the moment. That’s why we need time travellers like the singers of the Belgian Huelgas Ensemble to initiate us into the secrets of the history of early music. Anyone who has ever fallen under the spell of their other-worldly a capella textures will find themselves exploring the profound depths of vocal polyphony. Paul Van Nevel, the ensemble’s Musical Director, has conducted pioneering archaeological work in this field, unearthing numerous polyphonic works dating from the Middle Ages to the early Baroque period, whose composers are often recorded in little more than an inscription on a gravestone. His programme for the Ruhrtriennale brings together the free radicals of ancient music: rule-breakers and daring experimentalists who – as is so often the case – paved the way for innovation. An organum from Winchester from around 1050 is regarded as the first evidence of a second melodic voice that blew apart the established system of notation: Pérotin’s early four-part Viderunt omnes inspired the minimal music of the 20th century; and the almost psychedelic ancient French rondo Fumeux fume par fumée expresses what its mysteriously convoluted lyrics resonate in musical form.

Audio introduction

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Dates and tickets

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