Sunday, May 8, 2022, 4 p.m.
Corpus Christi Church
Scott Metcalfe, artistic director, harp and fiddle
Divine Songs: Ockeghem@600
Blue Heron, the esteemed choir from Boston directed by Scott Metcalfe, is midway through its Ockeghem@600 mission to record and perform the composer’s complete works. This program’s lovely Missa sine nomine a5, based on a plainchant melody, has only three movements: Kyrie, Gloria, and Credo. In addition to songs by Ockeghem and his contemporaries, the program also features a six-voice motet, the Salve regina by Obrecht.
“At once cerebral, sensitive, and sensual, the ensemble exhibited perfect blend and balance in various configurations. Perhaps director Metcalfe above all—deserves applause for supreme self-awareness of when to deploy which voices most effectively, how to augment or anchor each other, who ought to step back while another soars.”—Boston Musical Intelligencer
Estimated run time: 60 minutes, no intermission.
The virtual program becomes available on Sunday, May 15, 4 p.m. ET, followed by a live Q&A, and remains viewable until May 29.
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.” The ensemble ranges over a wide repertoire from plainchant to new music, with particular specialities in 15th-century Franco-Flemish polyphony and early 16th-century English sacred music. It is committed to vivid live performance informed by the study of original source materials and historical performance practices.
Founded in 1999, Blue Heron presents a concert series in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and it has appeared at the Boston Early Music Festival. In New York City, it has performed at Music Before 1800, The Cloisters (Metropolitan Museum of Art), and the 92nd Street Y, and in Washington D.C., at the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, and Dumbarton Oaks. It has made many other appearances: at the Berkeley Early Music Festival, at Yale University, and in Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Providence, St. Louis, San Luis Obispo, Seattle, and Vancouver, Canada. In England the choir has sung in Cambridge and London. Upcoming engagements include a visit to the University of California, Davis, and a debut at the Tage alter Musik Regensburg. 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.
Blue Heron’s first CD, featuring music by Guillaume Du Fay, was released in 2007. Between 2010 and 2017 the ensemble issued a five-CD series of Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks, including world-premiere recordings of works copied c. 1540 for Canterbury Cathedral and restored by Nick Sandon. The fifth CD was awarded the 2018 Gramophone Classical Music Award for Early Music. The five discs are now available as a set entitled The Lost Music of Canterbury. Jessie Ann Owens and Blue Heron won the 2015 Noah Greenberg Award from the American Musicological Society to support the world premiere recording of Cipriano de Rore’s I madrigali a cinque voci, released in 2019. In 2015 Blue Heron inaugurated Ockeghem@600, a multi-season project to commemorate the circa-600th birthday of Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1420-1497) by performing his complete works. A parallel project to record all of Ockeghem’s songs and motets bore its first fruits in 2019 with the release of Johannes Ockeghem: Complete Songs, Volume I, which was named to the Bestenliste of the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik. 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, the live recording Christmas in Medieval England, a compilation of medieval songs entitled A 14th-Century Salmagundi, and a live recording of a production of Guillaume de Machaut’s Remède de Fortune.
Preferred Center: $55/$50
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Blocked View: $10/$5
Virtual Concert: $15
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Virtual Subscription: $60
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