The Song Company presents Rumours of Glory the first concert of the Underground series, touring to Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and Melbourne. It features Josquin’s most celebrated mass, the Missa Pange lingua interspersed with the extraordinarily colourful madrigalian settings by Lassus of the writings of ancient female prophetesses or Sibyls. As well, there are works by contemporary Australian composers Romano Crivici and Heather Percy.
Sung one-to-a-part by a quartet of singers, Rumours of Glory takes us back both to the glories of the European Renaissance and another two millennia further to the ancient Sibyls of Greece and Rome and the Middle East, believed to be harbingers of the Judaeo-Christian story with their mystical pronouncements on “the secrets of salvation”.
Born in what is now Belgium, Orlando di Lasso (as he was known on the Italian peninsula where he spent much of his early life), set classical versions of twelve of these apparently precognisant women in a madrigalian form, along with an introductory “chromatic” or “colourful” song
– carmina chromatico, and dedicated them to his new boss in Munich, Albrecht V of Bavaria. His predecessor, Josquin des Prez, born not far away near the modern Belgian-French border was considered the absolute paragon of early polyphony, with his contemporary Martin Luther calling him simply the “master of the notes”. In perhaps his final Mass setting, the Missa Pange lingua, Josquin provided a model of the style that was to dominate the 16th century throughout Europe, using a plainchant hymn as its inspiration: “Sing, my tongue, of the mystery of the glorious Body”.
Rumours of Glory begins and ends with contemporary Australian music by Romano Crivici and Heather Percy, whose model is Anton Bruckner’s famous motet – stemming from a 19th-century resurgence of interest in the polyphonic style – Locus iste.
PROGRAM: Romano Crivici: from Dreams and Visions/ Orlande de Lassus: Prophetiae Sibyllarum/ Josquin des Prez: Missa Pange lingua/ Heather Percy: Locus iste (after Bruckner)
ARTISTS: Roberta Diamond, Principal Artist – Soprano/ Hannah Fraser, Emeriti Artist – Mezzo-soprano/ Dan Walker, Principal Artist – Tenor/
Hayden Barrington, Associate Artist – Baritone/ Antony Pitts, Artistic Director – Director
Other concert details
15 March, 7pm – Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle
17 March, 5pm – Wollongong Art Gallery
22 March, 7pm – The Oratory, Abbotsford Convent Melbourne
Image: The Song Company credit Christopher Hayles