Program for two women's voices
Dialogos created this a cappella program which explores the intimate and powerful world of medieval liturgical music. As we open the door to musical worlds from a thousand years ago, we are usually curious and intimidated: we are lulled by their unusual sounds, we look at them cautiously, as if touching delicate and precious objects. Sometimes we catalogue and analyze them, and it makes us feel proud. But our respect for these texts and music sometimes prevents us from facing them, embracing them, pronouncing their texts, not only being « touched by them » but letting them "work within us », in the same way as they shaped the lives of men and women who sang them all their lives, day and night, without always understanding their meaning... For them it was not an « early music ». It was their way of speaking, breathing, resting, giving rhythm to their daily life. It helped them to overcome their fear of the Others that they called Barbarians, to scare away demons, to exorcise or pray the forces beyond themselves.
This program, woven of light and shadow, is a dialogue between medieval texts and some more contemporary poets. They speak and sing about exile, wandering, about sons cursed by their fathers, about the nobility of spirit that appears furtively at dawn, like a shade between wake and sleep...
Some gems of medieval repertoire create our journey between plain-chants, early Winchester polyphony and Notre Dame Parisian music: a genealogy of Christ, like a long mantra enumerating generations from fathers to sons; a liturgical excommunication of surprising violence; the first known polyphonic version of the masterpiece tractus Deus, Deus meus from the Xth century; a meditation on friendship, an exorcism of the enemies, an incantation witnessing the fear of Others, that same fear that returns to the world from time to time, to impoverish it.
Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.
And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.
(Constantin Cavafy, 1898).