Civilitas Musicae

Friday, November 16, 2012


John Bradley, Director



Time:              8 pm

                        Pre-concert lecture at 7 pm


Tickets:          $25 – General Admission

                        $15 – Students, Seniors & Early Music America (EMA) Members



Polyhymnia presents a concert of politically charged music in honor of the American election year. The evening will feature fantastic music composed by Europe’s foremost composers for such events as the Funeral of Anne of Brittany, The Field of the Cloth of Gold, The Treaty of Nice, and the coronations of not one, but two Holy Roman Emperors. The centerpiece of the concert is Richard Alwood’s (c.1510-c.1560) Mass Praise him praiseworthy, a glorious six-voice setting of the ordinary which contains a secret message for Henry VIII. During the Renaissance, political occasions were punctuated by music composed by the chapel masters and composers in the musical circles of Renaissance Europe. Heinrich Isaac wrote magnificent works for Maximilian I, Jean Mouton for Francis I, Jacob Vaet for Maximilian II, Cristóbal de Morales for the Sistine Chapel, and a whole group of Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal for Henry VIII, of whom Richard Alwood is but one. We know nothing of Alwood other than that he was a priest. The mass survives in the more modern half of Forest-Heyther part-books dating from the 1550’s, but was likely originally entitled Mass God Save King Harry and composed during the last year or two of Henry VIII’s life.


About the Ensemble:

Polyhymnia, one of New York’s leading early music ensembles, creates vibrant, historically informed performances of music from the courts and cathedrals of the Renaissance world. Working with museums and libraries, liturgical historians and educational institutions, Polyhymnia preserves and revives masterworks of the choral literature composed in Europe and the Americas between the years 1450 and 1650. Since 2000, Artistic Director John Bradley has been preparing original editions of music for the ensemble in repertoire including numerous modern premiers of works which have remained unperformed since the 16th century.