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The ensemble ALKEMIE performing "CYPRUS 1400: An Island at the Crossroads of Cultures"

The Cambridge Society for Early Music
Congregational Church of Weston
130 Newton St.
Weston, MA
Buy Tickets Friday October 25, 2019 8:00 PM
Tracy Cowart, voice - David McCormick, viele
Elena Mullins, voice & percussion - Sian Ricketts, voice & recorder
Niccolo Seligmann, viele & percussion

About the performers:

Founded in 2013 by five friends with a zeal for medieval music, Alkemie's mission is to share the life-affirming and alternative perspectives to be discovered in the sounds of centuries past. They specialize in medieval music for high voices and instruments, with a particular interest in exploring the porous boundaries between the "high" and "low" music. The group's performances are grounded in historical practices and fed by a love of experimentation.

Alkemie has developed five programs and taken them on tour, mainly along the eastern seaboard, with performances on early-music concert series, including the Indianapolis Early Music Festival, Capitol Early Music Series (Washington, D.C.), Gotham Early Music Scene (New York City), Beacon Hill Concert Series (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania), Amherst Glebe Arts Response (Amherst, Virginia), and the War Memorial Arts Initiative (Baltimore). Alkemie served as the Ensemble-in-Residence at the historic Grace Church in Newark, New Jersey, from 2015-2017, and were Artists-in-Residence at the School of Fine Arts at Fairmont State University in West Virginia in 2016-2017. Alkemie appeared on the New York City concert series Music Before 1800 in the spring of 2019. Website: www.alkemie.org.


Program description:

This concert will be truly extraordinary! The medieval ensemble Alkemie will perform works from the fabled Torino Codex, which is tied to the royal court of Cyprus (about 1415-1430). This lavish manuscript has a sacred plainchant section and 218 polyphonic pieces-motets and songs-all of them unique and anonymous. It is among the most important collections of Western music of the century. Some of the music, perhaps all of it, is from the court of King Janus of Lusignan, who ruled Cyprus from 1398 to 1432. An island outpost of French culture, Cyprus was in a strategic setting close to the Holy Land.

Alkemie will evoke the world of the royal court of Cyprus under King Janus. He delighted in courtly chivalry, kept alive the pious dream of another crusade, and he battled incursions by the Genoese and the Mamelukes of Egypt. Drawing on the riches of the Torino Codex, the ensemble will perform Latin sacred pieces, French motets and chansons, with a few pieces played by instruments alone. This is music of the medieval ars subtilior style -"a more subtle art" - with rhythmic complexities that call for great skill, delicacy, grace and refinement. It is the music of the French aristocracy, while the peasant population in Cyprus was largely Greek. Alkemie will play five traditional pieces from Greece and Cyprus, rousing music similar to what the French might have heard as they passed through the countryside.

Ticket Information: All seats are General Admission. Please present e-receipt upon admission.

All venues - except The Salem Athenaeum - are wheelchair accessible.

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