SFEMS Presents Cut Circle In Choral Music By Du Fay, Ockeghem & Josquin
In association with Stanford Live, the San Francisco Early Music Society will present Cut Circle in three concerts of choral music by Josquin des Prez, Johannes Ockeghem and Guillaume Du Fay, February 8 10. Under the direction of Jesse Rodin, the ensemble will explore the theme of love as it was expressed in a range of 15th-century settings, blurring the line between the sacred and the secular.
Concerts of Cut Circle will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, February 8 at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Berkeley; at 4 p.m. Saturday, February 9 at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in San Francisco; and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 10 at Bing Concert Hall on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto. Single tickets for the Berkeley and San Francisco concerts are available for purchase online at sfems.org. Tickets for the Sunday concert in Palo Alto are available by ordering directly from Stanford Live, online at live.stanford.edu.
Founded in 2003 by Rodin, Cut Circle specializes in late medieval and Renaissance choral music. In 2010 the ensemble received the Noah Greenberg Award recognizing outstanding contributions to historical performance practices. Cut Circle has also received the Prix Olivier Messiaen, Editor's Choice (Gramophone) and a Diapason d'Or for its recent recording of Du Fay masses. The ensemble's current recording projects include a double album devoted to the complete songs of Ockeghem. Rodin prepares new editions of all the music Cut Circle performs.
Don't be put off by the old-fashioned language, warns Rodin in a program note. Behind the unfamiliar turns of phrase lie situations and emotions that have hardly changed since the 15th century.
The first half of the program is devoted to songs by Josquin and Ockeghem, Franco-Flemish giants in the development of early Renaissance contrapuntal and polyphonic music. Cut Circle's concert title is taken from a song by Ockeghem, D'ung aultre amer To love another whose speaker campaigns on behalf of his loyalty to an unnamed lover. In another song by Ockeghem, the speaker sings of unrequited love, chiding his lady for his lamentable lot in life. Three songs by Josquin adopt the language of romantic love in glorifying Christ and the Virgin Mary. In Christe fili dei, a conventional love song is woven into the fabric of the polyphony. And in Josquin's Stabat mater, Rodin observes, a song about a disconsolate woman is the glue that holds the piece together.
Music by Du Fay occupies the second half of the program, with special place given to his celebrated song-mass, Missa Se la face ay pale.
The members of Cut Circle include Clare McNamara and Kathryn Radakovich, discantus; Jonas Budris, Bradford Gleim, Lawrence Jones, Steven Soph, altus and tenor; and Sumner Thompson and Paul Max Tipton, bassus. For more information about Cut Circle, visit sfems.org.
Founded in 1975, SFEMS is one of the nation's leading organizations for the advancement of historically informed performance of early music. Through its concert series, publications, outreach activities, affiliate support and educational programs SFEMS encourages the development of amateurs, supports professionals, and increases public involvement and participation in early music. SFEMS is the lead presenter of the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition of early music.
Among the hundreds of ensembles and solo artists SFEMS has supported over four-plus decades are many whose national or regional debuts occurred under its auspices: Anonymous 4, Benjamin Bagby, Frans Br ggen, Concerto Palatino, Fretwork, Laurette Goldberg, Hilliard Ensemble, John Holloway, Emma Kirkby & Anthony Rooley, Wieland Kuijken, Gustav Leonhardt, PAN, Joshua Rifkin, Jordi Savall, Max Van Egmond and Vox Luminis, to name a few.