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The University of Southampton

Southampton research project brings medieval music to life

Published: 25 May 2012Origin: Music
Professor Mark Everist

A team from the University of Southampton’s Department of Music launches a recording of music not performed for 800 years.

Singers John Potter, Christopher O’Gorman and Rogers Covey-Crump, directed by Professor Mark Everist have recorded 16 examples of a genre called the conductus – the first surviving and coherent repertory of newly-composed Latin song.
Working from original manuscripts, the singers and the rest of the project team succeeded in translating the often opaque and problematic medieval notation, and using them as a basis for a CD released in July 2012 by the most prestigious UK label, Hyperion Records.

The conductus sets poetry on subjects encompassing the paraliturgical, commentaries on the nature of truth as well as texts dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and saints. The music – over 800 surviving and performable works – is in one, two, three and (very rarely) four parts, and ranges from the simplest setting to structures of fearsome complexity.

The recording is the first of three to emerge from the £600,000 project ‘Cantum pulcriorem invenire: Medieval Latin Poetry and Song’, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The two subsequent CDs will be launched in July 2013 and 2014.

The formal launch takes place at Harewood House, as part of the York Early Music Festival, on Tuesday 10 July 2012 at 9.30 p.m. with a public discussion led by Professor Everist in the morning of the same day at 10.30 a.m. at Bedern Hall York.

For further information on the project or the York Early Music Festival please click on the links to the right of this page.

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