Nesciens Mater — Motets for the Virgin Mary
A live talk for the North East Early Music Forum
As Christmas approaches, in a year like no other, NEEMF spends a December evening exploring two of the greatest Renaissance motets in honour of the Virgin Mary.
Mouton’s Nesciens Mater is a celebrated canonic wonder, in which four parts are strictly followed by four more, to create an expressive and apparently effortless eight-part tapestry conjuring up the image of Mary nursing the infant Jesus. The luminous polyphony of Verdelot is less well known, but Beata es, Virgo Maria is scintillating: structured around two cantus fermi the seven-part texture is rich and lyrical. Both pieces are pinnacles of the Franco-Flemish polyphonic art.
Scores will be sent round electronically in advance, and participants are encouraged to mark up the music as David explores the context, structure, meaning and performing challenges of each piece. Although it won’t be possible to sing together, you will be able to sing along, muted, when the music is played; there will also be an opportunity to ask questions at the end.