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Thursday, 8 October 2015, 1:00PM - 2:00PM
St. Sepulchre Without Newgate

Medieval Music: The Stations of the Breath

Professor Christopher Page FBA, Timothy Reynolds

At the heart of virtually all the medieval music that survives, is the human voice. This is an ancient heritage. The early Christians under the Roman Empire believed themselves to be engaged in a pilgrimage through a transitory world, where they were strangers, to their true home and an eternal liturgy ‘where my servants shall sing for joy of heart’, as St John the Divine says in Revelation. But why have singing in worship? What was to be gained, in the early Church and in its medieval descendant, by having a choir singing snippets of the Scripture, often extracted from their original context and sewn together in new patterns? We shall find that the answer lies in the breathing body.

A short introduction to the topic of this lecture is offered in the following short video by Professor Christopher Page:

 

Speaker_ChristopherPage_370x370.jpg

Christopher Page was Gresham Professor of Music from 2014-2018. He is Professor of Medieval Music and Literature, a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow at Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge. He is an internationally renowned performer and writer, as well as being an experienced presenter through BBC Radio. He holds the Dent Medal of the Royal Musical Association awarded for outstanding services to musicology.

In 1981 he founded the professional vocal ensemble Gothic Voices now with twenty-five CDs in the catalogue, three of which won the coveted Gramophone Early Music Record of the Year award. The ensemble has performed in Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Sicily, Sweden, America, Israel, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Finland. London dates included twice-yearly sell-out concerts at London’s Wigmore Hall. The ensemble gave its first Promenade Concert in 1989. The group’s work has been chronicled most recently in Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, The Modern Invention of Medieval Music (CUP, 2007) and Richard Taruskin, Text and Act (OUP, 2006).

Professor Page’s major 350,000 word study, The Christian West and its Singers: The First Thousand Years, was published by Yale University Press in 2010. Prior to this, his six other books include Songs and Instruments of the Middle Ages, Discarding Images: Reflections on Musical Life in Medieval France and The Summa Musicae: A Thirteenth-century Manual for Singers. He has edited three books of music, including Abbess Hildegard of Bingen: Sequences and Hymns.

Between 1989 and 1997, Professor Page was presenter of BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Programme, Spirit of the Age, and a presenter of the Radio 4 arts’ magazine Kaleidoscope.

Professor Page has been chairman of the National Early Music Association and of the Plainsong and Medieval Music Society (founded 1889) of whose new journal, now published by Cambridge University Press, he was a founding editor. He serves on the editorial boards of the journals Early Music (OUP) and Plainsong and Medieval Music (CUP). He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2008.

In 2012, Professor Page was a founder member of the Consortium for Guitar Research at Sidney Sussex College, an affiliate of the Royal Musical Association.

Professor Page is currently completing a monograph on the Tudor guitar, representing the more academic side of his interest in playing guitars of the sixteenth-nineteenth centuries in a historically informed manner.

Professor Page has been appointed Gresham Professor of Music from September 2014. In this role he hopes to achieve “the ambition of all Gresham Professors; showing that a little-studied aspect of the field can have much more breadth of interest, and interdisciplinary appeal, than one might initially suppose.”

Professor Page's lecture series were as follows:

2017/18 For Courtesan, Queen and Gallant: The Guitar in England from Henry VIII to Samuel Pepys

2016/17 The Christian Singer from the Gospels to the Gothic Cathedrals

2015/16 Music, Imagination and Experience in the Medieval World

2014/15 Men, Women and Guitars in Romantic England  

All of Professor Page's past Gresham lectures can be accessed here.

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timothy-reynolds

Timothy is an accomplished oratorio soloist frequently performing in both a concert and liturgical setting.

He graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Music (2007) and a Post Graduate Diploma of Teaching - Music (2009) before earning his Master of Music - Opera Performace (2013). He has also sung as a soloist an ensemble member of the Consort of Melbourne, the Gloriana Chamber Choir and the Palestrina Project and toured to Germany as a member of the Australian Chamber Choir (2010).

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Transcript

8 October 2015

Medieval Music: The Stations of the Breath
Professor Christopher Page FBA
Timothy Reynolds

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