When we think of medieval monks and their musical lives, the first thing to come to mind is Gregorian chant, the solemn and ritual song that accompanied the monk’s liturgical day, week, season and year. But a closer look at medieval monastic manuscripts from the ninth to twelfth centuries shows that many monks were singing other songs as well, with texts that were sometimes anything but Christian.
The Sequentia trio, consisting of Benjamin Bagby (voice, harps), Norbert Rodenkirchen (flutes), and Hanna Marti (voice, harp) perform an evening of songs about Fortuna, Dido and Cleopatra, Hercules and the old gods, as they would have been enjoyed by monastic intellectuals around the turn of the first millennium. This performance features charms and incantations by unknown pagan authors, and the deeply moving poems from Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy (early sixth century, set to music in the eleventh century), in reconstructions by Bagby and Marti, made together with Sam Barrett.
Sequentia is one of the world’s most respected and innovative ensembles for medieval music. It is an international group of singers and instrumentalists – united in Paris under the direction of Bagby, a legendary performer and teacher – dedicated to the performance and recording of Western European music from the period before 1300. The size and disposition of the ensemble is determined by the repertoire being performed, and ranges between an instrumental/vocal duo to a large vocal ensemble. Based on meticulous and original research, intensive rehearsal and long gestation, Sequentia’s virtuosic performances are compelling, surprising in their immediacy and strike the listener with a timeless emotional connection to our own past musical cultures.
"This Cologne-based medieval-music ensemble adapts its performing forces to the repertoire at hand, which it performs with both scholarly insight and dramatic verve." – The New York Times
General Public: $28
Senior Citizens (65+) and Amherst College Employees: $22
Students (with valid ID): $12
Amherst College Students: $7 in advance or free student rush