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Crossing the Line: Sacred vs. Secular in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Sunday May 7, 2017

1701 Arroyo Chamiso
Santa Fe, NM




Musica Antigua de Albuquerque

Phone: 505-842-9613
Website: Click to Visit

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Featuring both vocal and instrumental music using period instruments.

Pop music in church?  Choir members singing irreverent songs?  Clergy misbehaving?  If you thought these were modern issues, you might be surprised to learn that they existed centuries ago.  Música Antigua de Albuquerque will perform “Crossing the Line,” a concert of music—both secular and sacred—from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.  Back in medieval times, the troubadours wrote their songs of love for a highborn lady.  Then, they began to write songs in the same style, in much the same language, about their love for the highest Lady of all, the Virgin Mary, and the line between secular and sacred began to blur.  In the 13th century, many composers wrote motets using Gregorian chant melodies as their basis, but juxtaposing sacred texts in Latin with love song texts in French.  In the 15th and 16th centuries, it was common for composers to write sacred texts with the instruction “to be sung to the tune of” some well-known popular song of the day.  Church musicians often had a quirky sense of humor, and there can be found in the repertory quite a number of examples of songs written in sacred motet style but with lyrics that give praise not to the glory of God, but to the glory of wine.  And then of course, there were those members of the clergy who “crossed the line” in another sense, and songs about their misdeeds were a frequent source of amusement to Renaissance audiences.

“Crossing the Line” will include vocal and instrumental pieces from the 13th century to the 17th.   The program will feature period instruments such as violas da gamba, vielle, rebec, sackbut, recorders, shawm, gemshorn, bladderpipe, cornemuse, medieval harp, portative organ and lute.