Koncertní programy

Maiestas Dei — medieval polyphony in the work of Petr Wilhelmi de Grudencz

Maiestas Dei

The focal point of the program is the work of Petr Wilhelmi de Grudenz. If we employ a hyperbole, he might be characterised as “a man whose feet are still in the Middle Ages but whose head is already in Renaissance.” This outstanding author of Polish origin was active in the first half of the 15th century at the court of Friedrich III and also allegedly dwelled in Bohemia (perhaps in the circle of Charles University) for it is the Bohemian records that maintain his work.

G. de Machaut: Messe de Nostre Dame

G. de Machaut: Messe de Nostre Dame

Guillaume de Machaut is a foremost representative of polyphonic style called Ars nova. Within the context of Czech history it is quite interesting to know that he shortly served as a secretary at King John of Luxembourg court. The most known work of Machaut’s appears to be a famous polyphonic Messe de Nostre Dame. Its mysticism will transfer the listeners to the nave of the Reims Cathedral for which his Marian mass was composed. The program is a reconstruction of a holly service including original Gregorian chant according to French sources.

Ach, homo fragilis

Ach, homo fragilis

In the very fall of the Middle Ages the interest in topics of fragility and frailty of human existence grew quite wide-spread. In that time Bohemia bred poetic and songs-resembling compositions called lais. They could be of use both in the liturgy and during the feasts of social character. Their text is extraordinarily expressive with numerous naturalistic apocalyptical visions. In some cases we can even speak of a kind of musical-literary “dance macabre”.

Codex Franus

Codex Franus

Codex Franus is a noted work of Bohemian musical tradition. Its importance is not determined only by its dimensions (66 x 43 cm, 367 folios, weight of several dozens kilos) but mainly by its contents. A well-off dresser and a burgher of Hradec Kralové Jan Franus had it made at his own expense on the 8th of November 1505. The program represents a selection of the very best of this collection and attests its extraordinary variety of the then sacred music. In the concert Gregorian chant will also be performed, homophonic and polyphonic sacred songs and more-texts music.

Rosa mystica – Marian devotion in the medieval Bohemia

Rosa mystica – Marian devotion in the medieval Bohemia

Devotion to the Virgin Mary was very popular in the Middle-Ages. This popularity is evoked with the repertoire of Carolingian times from the 9th to the 11th century and with compositions from the Bohemian cultural background of the Late Middle-Ages (compare CD Rosa mystica).

Passio Domini

Passio Domini

Choral Passion thematically complemented with Gregorian responsories and antiphons, which introduces and intensifies the musical experience of memorable last moments of Jesus Christ. J.S. Bach approaches this Biblical history in a similar way.

Bohemorum sancti - Bohemian Saints in Heavenly Jerusalem

Bohemorum sancti - Bohemian Saints in Heavenly Jerusalem

Singing celebrating the most important saints of medieval Bohemia (Saint Adalbert, Saint Ludmila, Saint Procopius, Saint Wenceslas) benefits from rich Bohemian plainchant tradition (compare: CD Bohemorum sancti).

Liturgical Year through Gregorian Chant

Liturgical Year through Gregorian Chant

The program is based on 55-part series of the same name broadcast between 1995-1996 and 1999-2000 by the Czech Radio 3 – Vltava, which met with favourable reviews of the audience. It offers an insight into the musical diversity and richness of Gregorian Chant singing throughout individual liturgical periods (compare: CD "Liturgical Year").

Antica e moderna

Antica e moderna

This project came into being through a synergy of two musical worlds, which, no matter how chronologically distant, have a lot in common. So as to wit, they share their message – singing at Christian mass. The first part of the concert is devoted to Gregorian chant and early polyphony. The second part introduces Suita litutgica for the unison and the organ by Petr Eben, which was composed as a selection of several parts of author’s “Liturgical Songs” after complementation with concertante intermezzos (compare: CD Antica e moderna).

Dialogue of the human voice and strings

Dialogue of the human voice and strings

The Schola Gregoriana Pragensis and the outstanding Czech cellist Jiri Barta. A dialogue of ancient and contemporary music or on the naturalness of interconnection of Gregorian chant and early polyphony with the solo cello repertoire and improvisations.

Cantus gregorianus et organum

Cantus gregorianus

A number of mutual projects with an organ-player Tomas Thon making use of alternation of the organ and Gregorian chant in the liturgical praxis of Renaissance and Baroque.

— Pierre Attaignant (1494-1552): Missa Kyrie fons — mass-Ordinary for the organ and Gregorian chant, repertoire of Easter Sunday

— François Couperin (1668–1733): Messe pour les Paroisses — reconstruction of an organ mass complemented with chant

Nativitas - Domini

Nativitas Domini

Reconstruction of a part of Easter liturgy according to original sources conveys the atmosphere of Prague under the reign of Emperor Charles IV. Besides other music, the listeners will hear vocally demanding and very impressive polyphonic readings some of which were discovered only a few years ago (compare: CD In Pragensi Ecclesia).

Behold, the Lord will come

Behold, the Lord will come

The program presents three historical periods of Advent and Christmas singing: the earliest corpus of Gregorian chant from the 1st millennium, the repertoire of Prague’s Cathedral from the 14th century and singing of the late Middle-Ages from Bohemian records of the 15th century.

Heavens grant dew from on high

Heavens grant dew from on high

Liturgical singing of four Advent Sundays.

Petr Eben: Missa Adventus et Quadragesimae

Petr Eben: Missa Adventus et Quadragesimae

Advent and Quadragesima mass for an one voice choir and the organ. Besides presentment during liturgy also a concertante version in combination with choral singing according to the program pattern of Antica e moderna is possible.

Hours

Hours

The Schola Gregoriana Pragensis first attempts to present the world of monastic liturgy with its structure and richness in repertoire dates back to the year 1989. Regular all-day rhythm of hours – psalm singing complemented with hymns, responsories and readings - creates harmonic counterbalance to daily work. The specialization can be inspired either by the liturgical period (e.g. Easter), ecclesiastical feast (Saint Wenceslas, Saint Remigius, Virgin Mary…) or by local spiritual tradition. Daily hours are thus a sort of guideline to our pilgrimage through the day.

Singing at the mass

Singing at the mass

Current repertoire of the ensemble compasses singing of all liturgical periods and major ecclesiastical feasts. Gregorian chant perfects the mass with its plain dignity whereas polyphony enriches the mass with more festive sound.

Gregorian chant since the beginnings till the early polyphony

The beginnings of Gregorian chant are dated back as early as to the first centuries after Christ. In its history it has undergone many interesting development stages and simultaneously it has become a platform for the early polyphony. The program presents a representative cross-section of the most attractive musical material from plain psalm recitation up to richly decorated compositions and polyphonic compositions. At the promoters’ request the concert may be supplemented by an explanatory commentary.

Seminars

Interpretational seminars, practical rehearsals with the ensemble, lectures with samples interpreted by the Schola, e.g. on the Gregorian chant history, on Bohemian choral tradition etc.

Notice

Realization of programs Antica e moderna, Missa Adventus et Quadragesimae and Cantus gregorianus et organum is contingent upon the presence of the organ with appropriate disposition and in a good technical condition.

All concert programs mentioned above last app. 60-70 minutes without an interval. Concerts are held in church interiors for which this style of music was also predestined. Concerts may be held off churches only exceptionally for defendable reasons.