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Alexander Blachly, director

Pythagoras in the Middle Ages: Music in Tune with the Heavens

Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm
Church of the Transfiguration (“Little Church Around the Corner”)
1 East 29th Street (between Madison and Fifth Avenues)

$25 ~ Front Section
$20 ~ General Admission
$15 ~ Seniors (65+)
$5 ~ Students (ID)
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"Pythagoras in the Middle Ages: Music in Tune with the Heavens" features several of the greatest musical works of the late Middle Ages: a large-scale two-voice organum setting attributed to Leonin preserved in sources from the mid-thirteenth century, Machaut's towering Messe de Nostre Dame from the mid-fourteenth century, and imaginatively patterned motets by Tapissier and Du Fay from the early fifteenth century. All of these works combine exacting mathematical designs with striking musical effects. Composers believed that numerical substructures, inaudible but nevertheless controlling music's sounding aspects, allowed their works to resonate with the "numerical" universe—an idea as old as Pythagoras, ca. 500 BC. In medieval polyphony, simple designs evolved into ever-more-ambitious structures. Spaced throughout the program, Pomerium presents the "isorhythmic" movements of Machaut's Messe de Nostre Dame, shimmering with intricate rhythms, hockets, and syncopations. The program concludes with ceremonial motets by Tapissier and Du Fay in which different repeating rhythmic patterns occur in all voices simultaneously in waves of conflicting meters, each work striving to make the most dazzling musical impression.

Kristina Boerger, Amber Evans, Chloe Holgate, Dominique Surh – sopranos
Nathaniel Adams, Michael Steinberger, Christopher Preston Thompson – tenors
Thomas McCargar – baritone
Peter Stewart – bass

More info and full program here

Conversion of St. Paul Parmigianino CA 1528

GEMS is a non-profit corporation that supports and promotes the artists and organizations in New York devoted to early music— the music of the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical periods.