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Pre/post-concert talks and/or workshops available for all programs
Alkemie joins forces with composer ELLIOT COLE to reanimate the ancient tale of King Arthur. Cole combines new and old words and music in an original setting of the fourteenth-century stanzaic romance, the Morte Arthur. Spoken word, monophonic songs, motets, and instrumental commentary and interludes are woven together to tell the age-old story of Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot, exploring themes of love, honor and duty that still resonate today. Flashes of transmuted medieval melodies, motifs, and works act as points of light that are variously refracted and recombined.
BEAUTEE & BOUNTEE:
An Arthurian Refraction
Alkemie voyages to this island crossroads of French, Greek, Armenian, Italian, and Ottoman influences. Their program explores the complex ars subtilior melodies of the Torino manuscript J.ii.9 and rousing folk tunes from the area.
Island at the Crossroad of Cultures
Alkemie joins forces with composer/performer Elliot Cole in performances of new arrangements of stunning music from 14th-century Italy and newly-composed repertoire inspired by the medieval bestiary. Vielles, harp, recorders, percussion and voices evoke soaring birds, slithering reptiles, wondrous creatures, and the goddesses Diana and Venus. Serving as both mythology and Christian allegory, these fantastic visions of the animal kingdom continue to provoke the modern as well as the medieval imagination.
Songs of the Bestiary
Plant Strains across the English Channel
Violets, grapes, roses, and medicinal herbs and Tolkien's "Simbelmynë" (or Evermind) all make an appearance in this concert of 16th-century music from England and France. Alkemie members are joined by Corey Shotwell (tenor, melodica), Harrison Hintzsche (baritone, melodica, percussion), Ben Matus (tenor, winds, composer), and Jim Hopkins (baritone, harmonium).
This concert comes with the option of custom-made cards with 16th-century botanical images that smell like herbs and flowers mentioned in the music.
Interactive Concert Experience
LIKE A WOMAN
Finding the Feminine in Medieval France
15th-century French songs from the female or non-gendered poetic perspective. These pieces, wrenchingly emotional and playful by turns, provide a counternarrative to the pedestals & pitfalls of courtly love . . . a paradigm with a legacy that complicates partnerships to this day. With readings from the works of Christine de Pizan (1364 – c. 1430).
Like the troubadours in the South, the trouvères of Northern France wrote some of the most captivating vocal music of the 13th-century. Their songs of public and private adoration wove together allusions both sacred and secular – creating mystical and spicy meditations on love and longing. For this program, Alkemie has also created choreographies based on contemporary sources, adding visual counterpoint to the bright melodies of vigorous popular tunes and courtly estampies.
LOVE TO MY LIKING:
Refrains of Desire in Gothic France
Includes medieval dancing
Alkemie looks at the Jewish experience in medieval Germany through newly-composed musical settings of Jewish texts and transcriptions of extant chant, monophonic (one voice) & polyphonic (multiple-voice) works. Stories are drawn from Yiddish epic tales and the Codex Manesse, as well as secular songs, religious poems, liturgical texts, and contemporary chronicles. Delight in the antics of an early Purimshpil and the onomatopoeic sounds of medieval life as well as the sheer beauty of the earliest Jewish chants that survive in Western notation.
MIRRORING THE OTHER:
Reflecting Jewish Experience
in Medieval Germany
Rousing, wry, and sublime - this concert of medieval and traditional protest tunes call on us all to continue the centuries-old tradition of resistance to the forces of corruption and oppression. This program includes works from the Carmina Burana and the Roman de Fauvel, as well as the region of Brittany, and also features new modern poetic interpretations by Niccolo Seligmann.
SINGING TRUTH TO POWER:
Medieval Protest Music
Alkemie celebrates seven years of friendship with our most diverse program yet: dancing with choreographies old and new, rarely heard songs from the Loire Valley Chansonniers, and new tunes by band member Niccolo Seligmann.
Courtly Songs & Dances from 15th-century France & Italy
Includes Renaissance dancing
Hildegard's Resonant Apothecary
This program situates Hildegard’s music within her understanding of medieval pharmacognosy (i.e. plant medicine), sharing her vision of an earth-bound transcendence that connects humans to the divine through spiritual "greening" and the five senses.
This concert comes with the option of sound-designed readings and hand-made “Intersensory Program Cards” that pair Hildegard’s music, texts, and associated images with materials that the audience can literally smell, taste, touch, and hear.
Interactive Concert Experience