:: Magnus Liber

Worms to Uppsala

Saturday, September 8th, 2018

We had a wonderful time in Worms – a big thankyou to Holger Wittgen and Annette Herschelmann from Kultursommer Rheinland-Pfalz for being so hospitable and so efficient. I’ve been lucky enough to perform several times on the Via Mediaeval (the first three-voice Conductus Ensemble concert took place  in Otterberg five years ago, and it was great to return last week with the results of the research project).  We branched out from our all-conductus programme to include four huge Alleluias from the Magnus Liber. These were exhilarating to perform (and slightly frightening). I’ve done the famous Perotin 4-voice pieces many times over the years, but the 3 voice organa (possibly by Perotin but anon as Anon 4 didn’t mention them) are every bit as bizarre and exciting.  Lovely German audience, as always, and they really appreciated it:



It was a lot of notes – possibly the most notes per minute/euro that we’ve ever sung. But the music is so extraordinary and so rarely done, that we’re determined to explore the Magnus Liber repertoire further. In the context of chant maybe, so we get a bit of a rest between these humongous medieval vocal symphonies.


On to Uppsala next week for Serikon’s St Brigitte programme in the cathedral. This will also take in some Ars Antiqua music, but the travels of  Europe’s patron saint enable a wide variety of performance styles and periods with a uniquely Scandinavian edge.  We’ll also be doing Gavin Bryars’ Lauda 47, a new arrangement especially for this ensemble. I’ll be doing more Bryars in Cork and Dublin in the autumn, including the haunting Winestead that he wrote for the Hull City of Culture.


David James, Jacob Heringman and I have just had our first rehearsal of Dufay’s L’homme arme mass. It works! Sheffield, we’re coming…

Secret History reviews

More reviews for Secret History, from the Lute Society of America (which also has a terrific review of Ariel & Jake’s duo album Cifras Imaginarias), and his (in Italian) from Avvenire. Not long to our next attempt to get to Cork, weather permitting…