The last act of the middle ages - the crystalline polyphony of the Trecento

The last act of a story, that of the medieval music, that lasted approximatelly 1000 years, comes to its end like any theatrical play. Its protagonist is the medieval man, who slowly and with great care starts to release himself from the deep bond with the religion and finds himself in the dimension of his individuality, where he starts to discover his self. From that follows the pursuit, characterized by its richness of expressivity and variety, which is needed to describe properly the inner world of the protagonist of this story. So we find ourselves with him on a long path, disseminated with different musical styles – from the liturgical mass to the madrigals and caccia’s still influenced by the ars nova, to the humanistically tinged Italian ballata and French virelai, to the utmost sophistication of the « subtle » style of ars subtilior, to the celebrative motet, which offers a sumptuos description of the magnificence of a golden age. From it emerges like magister ludi the figure of the Flemish composer Johannes Ciconia, who is capable to gather the fruits of this long parable, merging in his work its various aesthetic and stylistic aspects. The ending chapter of the story of the medieval music is a wonderful, refined and bright gallery, captivating, seductive, evocative, where the florilegium of the compositions declares the victory of the light over the darkness, through a sonorous glass bead game of the crystalline counterpoints.

Roma vs. Avignon

Roman mass in Babylonic exile

The turbulent period of the European Middle Ages at the time of the Great Schism of the Catholic Church, poetically also called the Babylonic Exile of the Roman Church in the 14th century, had an important influence on music of that period. It was especially used as an efficient tool in the combat for political power and religious authority. Composers were working actively on the different Papal sides proposing their works on celebrative occasions. In our program of sacred music of that time we offer two reconstructed masses, one from the Papal and another from the Antipapal side to nowadays audience. We leave it to them to decide whether it weren’t the politics that ultimately were in the service of the music – the music standing in its unity, purity and beauty above all earthly matters.

Medieval Expressionism – a portrait

Francesco Landini (ca. 1325 – 1397)

Being one of the most renowned composers of his time, the Italian Ars Nova, Francesco Landini shaped the musical landscape of the humanism of the late Trecento. Inspite of his missing eyesight, he had a very clear vision of the world surrounding him which is directly reflected in his music. In our program we combine these various artistic aspects of his Oevre. The musical expressions as well as the poetical contents can be extremely passionate, ironical-moralistical or even heartbreakingly melancholical.


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