September 15, Thursday, 8 pm
Franciscan Monastery Church, Trakų St. 9/1
A Worcester Ladymass
A reconstruction of an 13th century mass from the Worcester Benedictine Abbey
TRIO MEDIAEVAL, Norway
- Anna Maria Friman, director
- Linn Andrea Fuglseth
- Torunn Østrem Ossum
“There is a lot of guesswork and individual intuition in medieval music performances. The members of Trio Mediaeval feel that performing medieval music today gives us the freedom to let our imagination and ideas flow, as though we are creating contemporary music. It is impossible to know what this music would have sounded like in the Middle Ages and therefore impossible to recreate a medieval vocal sound. We have chosen to use the lack of original information to inform our performance in the present, something that gives us the opportunity to be creative in our music making” (“Trio Mediaeval”).
The material on this recording was uncovered at a Benedictine abbey in Worcester, England. It’s purely accidental that the music survived — most of it was used as binding for other books and codices. Trio Mediaeval went through these fragments and, using other sources from the period, reconstructed a 13th-century votive Mass honouring the Virgin Mary. Some sections of the Mass were missing and could not be recreated but the simple harmonic structure and austere sound of British composer Gavin Bryars mixes well with the rest of the Mass.
The mesmerizing voices of Oslo’s Trio Mediaeval have captivated the concert world with their breathtaking performances and recordings of a diverse polyphonic repertoire that features medieval music from England and France, contemporary works written for the ensemble, and traditional Norwegian ballads and songs. Founded in 1997, Trio Mediaeval developed its unique repertory at the Hilliard Summer Festivals in England and Germany, and later with Linda Hirst and John Potter.
Trio Mediaeval made its US debut in 2003, performing at New Haven’s International Festival of Arts and Ideas. Since then, they have embarked on multiple North American tours with stand-out concerts in New York’s Carnegie (Weill) Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., the Kennedy Center, and broadcasts on American classical music radio programmes. Critics declared their San Francisco debut “among the musical highlights of the year”.
Trio Mediaeval have appeared in many European countries as well, playing the Konzerthaus in Vienna and London’s Wigmore Hall. The trio delights in performing new music and collaborates with contemporary composers, including Gavin Bryars, Piers Hellawell, Roger Marsh and Ivan Moody. In 2005, the trio participated in a joint multimedia production by “Bang on a Can” composers Michael Gordon, Julia Wolf and David Lang, German new music ensemble musikFabrik, and Ridge Theater called Shelter.
Their four albums on ECM Records feature pristine performances of a diverse repertoire, and have met with near unanimous praise. Their first release, Words of the Angel, immediately charted on Billboard’s Top 10 Bestsellers list. Soir, dit-elle (2004), features Leonel Power’s Missa Alma Redemptoris Mater alongside works by G. Bryars, A. Smith and I. Moody. The trio’s third recording, Stella Maris (2005), features 12th and 13th-century music from England and France as well as the world premiere recording of Missa Lumen de Lumine by Korean composer Sungji Hong. The trio’s most recent release of Norwegian folk songs featuring traditional percussion and jew’s harp earnt them another Billboard charting and a Grammy nomination for “Best Chamber Music Performance” in 2008.