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Season 2016-2017 with:
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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 the legendary performer and teacher Benjamin Bagby – 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. More
The Voyager: Medieval Songs of Exile, Wandering and Travel
In January 2015 Benjamin Bagby premiered a new solo program at the Musée de Cluny in Paris: the theme was travel and the songs of travellers in the Middle Ages. The live concert was filmed by Laurent Hadrien and a short film has been produced, with excerpts from the performance and added commentary by Bagby.
Beowulf at the Utrecht Early Music Festival
On 29-30 August, Benjamin Bagby celebrated the 25th anniversary of his first performance of Beowulf at the Utrecht Early Music Festival, performing again to sold-out houses in Utrecht's RASA Theatre. See the festival's promotional video in which Bagby appears to discuss his work:
Monks Singing Pagans
When we think of medieval monks and their musical lives, the first thing to come to mind is Gregorian chant, but a closer look at medieval monastic manuscripts from the 9th to 12th centuries shows that many monks were singing other songs as well, with texts which were sometimes anything but Christian. The medieval monastic and cathedral schools of medieval Europe were great centers of learning and focal points of intellectual life. For all monks and clerics, who were native speakers of European vernacular languages, it was essential to become bilingual, to speak, think, perhaps even to read and write in Latin, the language of their faith, the liturgy, the sciences, philosophy and literature. More
Collected Stories: Hero
Bagby's Beowulf performed in Carnegie Hall, New York City
On 22 April Benjamin Bagby performed a version of Beowulf as part of a series of concerts curated by American composer David Lang.
This concert was listed among the 'Ten Best Classical Music Events of 2014' by the New York Times!
Hildegard von Bingen: Celestial Hierarchy
The final CD of Sequentia's Hildegard von Bingen complete works project was recorded for DHM/SONY in November 2012 in the church of Franc-Warêt, Belgium. It was released in May 2013 as a single CD, and will be followed by the complete works box set at a later date. The completion of this enormous project, begun by Sequentia in 1982, represents the culmination of the life's work of the late Barbara Thornton and also celebrates Hildegard's elevation to sainthood and magistra ecclesiae in 2012. A multi-generational ensemble of women's voices plus the flautist Norbert Rodenkirchen was united under the direction of Benjamin Bagby for this unique recording whose title is 'Celestial Hierarchy'. More
Charlemagne: Emperor and Saint
Joined by vocalists Justin Bonnet, Vincent Pislar, and Michael Loughlin Smith.
As an extended version of 'Frankish Phantoms', members of the male vocal ensemble of Sequentia join for this second new program featuring music which highlights two aspects of the Frankish emperor Charlemagne and his image in the world: a selection of Latin songs from the his imperial court, devotional music from the time of his successors (8th – 10th centuries), as well as liturgical chant from the 12th-century office for Saint Charlemagne, Regali natus. More
Other Current Programs
Benjamin Bagby: voice, harp; Wolodymyr Smishkewych, voice; Norbert Rodenkirchen, flutes, cithara, harp.
In his new Sequentia programme, Benjamin Bagby explores the musical world of the Carolingian clan – and especially Charlemagne, who became emperor in 800 –, those warlike and pious Frankish kings whose realm, in the 8th century, stretched across what is now most of Western Europe. More
Voices from the Island Sanctuary
A new program of vocal music from the milieu of Notre Dame de Paris and the schools of the Latin Quarter (ca. 1170-1235). It was in the choir of the Cathedral of Notre Dame that the best young male vocalists in Europe were to be heard on important feast-days; it was here that the most innovative musical minds gave expression to new ideas in thrilling sonic structures which echoed the dynamic new architecture taking shape around them. More
Fragments for the End of Time
In this program, we explore the musical world of these surprising, powerful texts, some of which survive only as fragments: the Old High German Muspilli, which describes the waking of the dead, the workings of Satan, the fight of Elias with Anti-Christ, the call to judgement, and warns of the uselessness of wealth and bribery in that final courtroom... More
The Rheingold Curse: A Germanic Saga of Greed and Vengeance from the Medieval Icelandic ‘Edda’
An ensemble of five musicians (voices, harps, flute, fiddle) retells the dramatic story of the Rheingold, Sigurd and Brynhildur, the dragon and Gudrun’s murder of Attila the Hun. North American tour in January 2010. More
20 October 2015
13 November 2015
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
14 November 2015
17 November 2015
Beowulf in Russia
On 8 September 2015, Benjamin Bagby will perform Beowulf for the first time in the Russian Federation, in the Tchaikowsky Conservatory in Moscow. Following this, Bagby will coach an ensemble of Moscow early music performers for the festival La Renaissance, in preparation for their Russian premiere of the 'Roman de Fauvel' on 12 September in Moscow. For this significant event, Bagby will also be working with Russian instrumentalists Ivan Velikanov, Danil Ryabchikov and French vocalist Marc Mauillon.
Bagby at Cambridge University
On 28-29 September 2015, Benjamin Bagby will be at Cambridge University, working with musicologist Sam Barrett on their joint project to reconstruct the 'metra' from the Consolation of Philosophy of Boethius. There will also be a presentation of works in progress for Cambridge musicology students on 28 September. For these sessions, Bagby & Barrett will be joined by Swiss vocalist/harpist Hanna Marti, who is working on a similar project involving the Metamorphoses of Ovid.
Teaching in Basel
Benjamin Bagby will be teaching again in Basel, Switzerland, at his alma mater, the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, on 2-3 November 2015 (co-teaching with colleague Norbert Rodenkirchen) and again 18-19 January 2016. The subject will be the songs of Philippe le Chancelier (d. 1236), both monophonic and polyphonic.