Sunday, October 1, 2017, 4 p.m.
Corpus Christi Church
Scott Metcalfe, director
Ockeghem@600: Ma Maistresse, Masses, and a Motet
Blue Heron presents the sixth program in its series of Johannes Ockeghem’s complete works. The program opens with Au travail suis, a song by the obscure composer Barbingant that nonetheless inspired the three pieces by Ockeghem: his song, Ma maistresse, Missa Au travail suis, and Missa Ma maistresse. The final motet is by an esteemed contemporary, Johannes Regis.
Post-concert Q and A by Scott Metcalfe
“Blue Heron’s Ockeghem project comes with a clear sense of mission: to better acquaint us with a still too little-known composer.… Their carefully thought out performances—precise yet supple, rhythmically alive, and joyful—made for an intensely pleasurable listening experience.”
—The Boston Musical Intelligencer
Artist Website: Blue Heron
Artist Bios and Program
Blue Heron has been acclaimed by the Boston Globe as “one of the Boston music community’s indispensables” and hailed by Alex Ross in the New Yorker for its “expressive intensity.” Committed to vivid live performance informed and enhanced by the study of original source materials and historical performance practices, Blue Heron covers a wide repertory from plainchant to new music, with particular specialization in 15th-century Franco-Flemish and early 16th-century English polyphony. Blue Heron’s first CD, featuring music by Guillaume Du Fay, was released in 2007. In 2010 the ensemble inaugurated a 5-CD series, Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks, including many world-premiere recordings of works copied c. 1540 for Canterbury Cathedral; the fifth disc was released in March 2017. Blue Heron’s recordings also include a CD of plainchant and polyphony to accompany Thomas Forrest Kelly’s book, Capturing Music: The Story of Notation, and the live recording, Christmas in Medieval England. Jessie Ann Owens (UC Davis) and Blue Heron won the 2015 Noah Greenberg Award from the American Musicological Society to support a world premiere recording of Cipriano de Rore’s first book of madrigals (1542), to be started next season.
Founded in 1999, Blue Heron presents a concert series in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has appeared at the Boston Early Music Festival; in New York City at Music Before 1800, The Cloisters (Metropolitan Museum of Art), and the 92nd Street Y; at the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, and Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.; at the Berkeley Early Music Festival; at Yale University; and in San Luis Obispo, Seattle, St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Providence. Blue Heron has been in residence at the Center for Early Music Studies at Boston University and at Boston College, and has enjoyed collaborations with A Far Cry, Dark Horse Consort, Les Délices, Parthenia, Piffaro, and Ensemble Plus Ultra. In 2015 the ensemble embarked on a long-term project to perform the complete works of Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1420-1497). Entitled Ockeghem@600, it will wind up in 2020-21, in time to commemorate the composer’s circa-600th birthday; this program is the sixth of thirteen in the series.
Scott Metcalfe has gained wide recognition as one of North America’s leading specialists in music from the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries and beyond. Musical and artistic director of Blue Heron, he was music director of New York City’s Green Mountain Project (Jolle Greenleaf, artistic director) from 2010-2016 and has been guest director of TENET (New York), the Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), Emmanuel Music (Boston), the Tudor Choir and Seattle Baroque, Pacific Baroque Orchestra (Vancouver, BC), Quire Cleveland, the Dryden Ensemble (Princeton, NJ), and Early Music America’s Young Performers Festival Ensemble. Metcalfe also enjoys a career as a baroque violinist, playing with Les Délices (director, Debra Nagy), Montreal Baroque (director, Eric Milnes), and other ensembles, and he has served as director of the baroque orchestra at Oberlin Conservatory. He taught vocal ensemble repertory and performance practice at Boston University from 2006-2015 and is at work on a new edition of the songs of Gilles Binchois.