CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
UI Collegium Musicum will perform medieval to late-Renaissance music
for the Virgin Mary
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Collegium Musicum and director
Elizabeth Aubrey will present "Mary's Music," a concert of music
written for and about the Virgin Mary from the Middle Ages through the
late Renaissance at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 15 in Clapp Recital Hall on
the UI campus. The performance will be free and open to the public.
Spanning the 11th through 17th centuries, the program will include a
wide variety of styles. There will be medieval chant and other music by
anonymous or relatively obscure composers. From the Renaissance there will
be music by Guillaume DuFay, Jacob Obrecht and Jean Ockeghem, who are among
the most important continental European composers of the 15th century;
works of Giovanni Pierluigi da' Palestrina, who has gone into music history
as the composer of counterpoint that served as a model for later generations
of teachers and students; and Orlando Gibbons, one the greatest English
composers and organists of the early 17th century.
In addition to choral works, the concert will include a colorful ensemble
of historical instruments -- cornetts, sackbuts, recorders and viols --
playing instrumental versions of the Marian vocal music.
The concert will open with the plainchant "Salve, regina"
(Save us, queen), one of four antiphons for Mary that not only played an
important role in the medieval liturgy but also served composers of the
Renaissance as material for choral music. Acting as a sort of reference
point, the plainchant "Salve, regina" will be repeated several
times during the course of the concert.
Other medieval music will include a piece by St. Godric, a colorful
English merchant, crusader and finally a hermit; a lively Portuguese song
recounting how a gambler maliciously damaged a statue of the Virgin and
Child, which the Virgin herself miraculously mended; and several haunting
Middle English works about Gabriel's annunciation of the birth of Jesus
to Mary, and the sorrow of Mary at the foot of the cross.
Aubrey will be a featured vocalist in several of the medieval works.
She has performed medieval music widely in this country and abroad and
is a recognized expert in its interpretation. Her book "The Music
of the Troubadours," drawing on scholarly research as well as her
love of performing the music, was published in 1996 to wide acclaim.
Aubrey, who is head of the Musicology Area in the UI School of Music,
has directed the UI Collegium Musicum since 1982. Before coming to the
UI in 1982, she taught at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where
she was music director of the early music group "A Newe Jewell."
The UI Collegium Musicum is an ensemble devoted to the study and performance
of music from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque. The members of
the group are music students and faculty of the UI and members of the local
community. They learn singing techniques appropriate to early music as
well as how to play reproductions of historical instruments.