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Ars Nova Singers present Brumel’s “Earthquake” Mass
February 24, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm$5 – $20
A Rarely Performed Masterpiece from the Renaissance Comes to Life:
Ars Nova Presents The “Earthquake” Mass
For 33 years, Boulder’s Ars Nova Singers has been recognized for presenting vibrant programs of unusual works from the distant past and modern times. This program features one of the most breathtaking outbursts of the Renaissance imagination, the colossal “Earthquake” Mass by the French composer Antoine Brumel (c. 1460–1520). The mass has been called “one of the true marvels of Renaissance choral writing,” with its unusual scoring for 12 voices. The “Earthquake” Mass gets its name from a snippet of melody from Gregorian chant; in this case, the Easter antiphon “Et ecce terrae motus est” or “And behold, the earth moved”. The melodic fragment is found throughout the work, frequently presented in long note-values, while the other voices were woven around it in an intricate polyphonic tapestry.
Antoine Brumel was one of the first renowned French members of the Franco-Flemish school of the Renaissance. After Josquin des Prez, he was one of the most influential composers of his generation. The earliest historical record of Brumel is from Chartres in 1483. He held various positions in Geneva, Laon, at Notre Dame in Paris, and Chambéry, and before taking a prestigious appointment at the Ferrara court in 1506. The Ferrara chapel was disbanded in 1510, and nothing concrete about Brumel is known afterward. His masses continue to be his most famous works, and his 12-voice Missa Et ecce terrae motus is by far his most popular work today.
From Ars Nova’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Thomas Edward Morgan: “This is extraordinarily imaginative music. Brumel has taken the language of traditional polyphony and created an unusual and vibrant piece, a visionary work that explores the sound of many voices. It’s thrilling to perform, and rare to hear it presented live.”
Our special guest instrumentalist is Ann Marie Morgan, viola da gamba.
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