PROGRAMS

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PIERRE DE MANCHICOURT

Missa de Requiem

Cast: Utopia (a capella)

Music from Pierre de Manchicourt

 

Pierre de Manchicourt was one of the chapel masters of the “Capilla Flamenca”, the Flemish musicians who accompanied Emperor Charles to Spain in the 16th century.  Under Philip II he was able to concentrate fully on the religious repertoire.  His Requiem is special in many ways.  Although Pierre Attaingnant, publisher in Paris, published his work, Manchicourt's requiem has only survived in manuscript, and Manchicourt himself may have been the copyist. The manuscript Ms. 768 is said to have belonged to the repertoire of the renowned Montserrat Abbey in Spain, where it is still preserved today.

 The fact that Pierre de Manchicourt masters the polyphonic composition technique in a virtuoso way is also fully reflected in his Requiem. As in many cases, the Gregorian chant is used as the basis for the polyphonic composition. Manchicourt usually places the original Gregorian melody in the upper voice, around which he moves the other four voices. This results in a program with a moving serenity, which is fully in line with the content: “Requiem aeternam dona eis”, give them eternal rest.

LAM OF GOD

The closed altarpiece in music

Cast: Utopia (a capella)

Music by Jacob Obrecht, Alexander Agricola, Jean Mouton, Orlandus Lassus, Nicolas Gombert and Josquin Desprez, a.o.

For the program of this concert we found inspiration in the eye-catcher of the Van Eyck 2020 exhibition, the recently restored altarpiece “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”. The brothers Hubert and Jan Van Eyck were commissioned by Joos Vijd and his wife Elisabeth Borluut to paint a retable, which was donated by the couple in 1432 to the Sint-Janskerk (now St. Bavo's Cathedral) in Ghent.

Our attention was drawn to the closed altarpiece, which contains eight panels showing twelve images. We were inspired by these figures and created a varied program around a lesser known part of this retable.

 

We provide a program sheet that is executed in a hatch fold. On the outside you can see the closed altarpiece, and inside you find the program with references to the images.

BRUEGEL

paintings translated musically

Cast: Utopia (a capella), or with Arnaud Vande Cauter, organ

Music from Lassus, Gombert, Crecquillon, Janequin, de Rore and Sweelinck.

Pieter Bruegel is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating painters from the 16th century Netherlands. No one else painted nature so precisely and forcefully, the course of the seasons, the human being in his popular habitat. But he was also a master in brushing surreal characters or situations à la Jeroen Bosch, with or without religious overtones. His eye for detail and accuracy still surprises many a museum visitor. Famous collectors such as Emperor Rudolf II had already created a whole collection of Bruegel's works by the end of the sixteenth century. But also rich citizens, art collectors from Antwerp and Brussels bought his works.

 

With "Bruegel" Utopia brings a varied anthology of music from Bruegel's time. In compiling this program, Utopia was inspired by the paintings "The Triumph of Death", "The Tower of Babel", "The Fall of the Rebellious Angels", "Peasant Wedding" and "The Fight between Lent and Lent." Using compositions by contemporaries and local people, Utopia wants to create an atmospheric portrait of Bruegel and bring the different "layers" of his character back to life. For example, it was recently discovered through infrared photography that Dulle Griet originally protruded her tongue. Bruegel subsequently decided to paint only strict lip contours. With "Bruegel", Utopia brings a fascinating concert without self-censorship: folk songs, in contrast with religious works and devotees or some bawdy love songs, give the facets of our grandmaster of the canvas a new colour.

ROSA MYSTICA

polyphonic Marian Vespers at the time of Albrecht and Isabella

Cast: Utopia & Bart Jacobs

Music from Josquin, Palestrina, De Morales, Lassus, De Victoria, Dering, Philips and Gombert

 

Marian devotion has a great tradition in Flanders. The many chapels along the roads, the impressive Onze Lieve Vrouwkerken, - basilicas and -cathedrals, processions, songs and even Maria's sweets and cookies are proof of this. In the 16th century, this attention for Mary increased with the presence of the Spaniards in our regions: under the impulse of the Spaniards, the Basilica of Our Lady was built in Scherpenheuvel and the statue of Mary was given a prominent place in the niche on the facade of the Antwerp town hall .

Maria was therefore a popular subject for Spanish and Flemish composers from the 16th century. Utopia put together her own Marian Vespers with unique motets from this oeuvre. Beautiful psalms and antiphones, in combination with the well-known lyrics from the Song of Songs, composed by Spanish and Flemish composers.

ANDREAS PEVERNAGE

Musico Excellenti

 

Cast: Utopia & Lute

Music from Andreas Pevernage, Emmanuel Adriaenssen, a.o.

 

In the autumn of 2021 Utopia will release a new CD with chansons, madrigals and motets by Andreas Pevernage. This album will be the first in the new line-up.

Pevernage's work is unfortunately less known, perhaps because his entire career took place only in Flanders? We remember him as chapel master of the cathedral in Antwerp and as composer of several motets, added as masterpieces to the list of Flemish Heritage.

In his chansons, Andreas Pevernage managed to implement the innovations of the (Italian) madrigal, which was more in demand at the time.

In this way he ensured a peak in the development of the chanson genre. The four beautifully published books by Christoffel Plantin show how much faith this famous printer had in Pevernage's craftsmanship. His music can easily be compared with the work of more famous contemporaries. At the time he was mentioned alongside Orlandus Lassus, Clemens non Papa and Giaches De Wert.

From this new album, Utopia selected the most beautiful works to offer you a varied concert program, along with lute music from Pevernage's time.

PETER PHILIPS

Inspired by Rubens’ "DISPUTE"

Cast: Utopia and organ (+ two storytellers)

Music from Philips, Palestrina, Dering, Cornet

Inspired by the painting "The Dispute, or the Talk about the Holy Sacrament" by P.P. Rubens, Utopia put together a program with mainly work by the English composer Peter Philips (ca. 1560-1628). Philips was an exile because of his Catholic faith. At the end of the 16th century he ended up in Antwerp.

In addition to five-part motets by Palestrina, Dering and Philips, Utopia also presents two- part and three-part motets from Philips' "Paradisus Sacris Cantionibus" from 1628, his latest edition.
Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder immortalized "Pietro Philippi Inglese" with his sheet music on their painting from 1617 "The Hearing" ("El Oido"), to be admired in the Prado in Madrid. Did the painters know Peter Philips personally? Did they meet at the court of Albrecht and Isabella? Music intendant of St Paul's Church in Antwerp, Wilfried Van den Brande and guide Armand Storck tell you the story of this fascinating composer and his era during this concert.

This program is presented in two versions:
a concert with or without telling the story of Peter Philips in Antwerp.

PICTURE-MOTETS

Flemish masterpieces in sound and image

Cast: Utopia (a capella)

Music from Andreas Pevernage, Cornelis Verdonck, Orlandus Lassus, Daniel Raymundi en Cornelis Schuyt, a.o.

The Picture-Motets are Antwerp typographic works of art from the Counter-Reformation, late 16th century.

The image, the music and the design are of high quality, but nevertheless relatively unknown to the public. Because of their rarity and their uniqueness in the development of musical typography in Flanders, the collection of Picture-Motets were included in the list of the cultural heritage of the Flemish Community in 2012 as a masterpiece.

 

Utopia wants to present a program in which the Picture-Motets of Andreas Pévernage and Cornelis Verdonck, but also of Orlandus Lassus, Daniel Raymundi and Cornelis Schuyt are sung and where the public also gets the opportunity to view (enlarged) versions of the engravings, possibly also  linked to a lecture prior to the concert.

 

As a lover of Flemish polyphony and collector of Picture-Motets, Bart Debbaut will lend his cooperation to this project. He owns nine of them and likes to share his knowledge about these fascinating works of art.

CRISTÓBAL DE MORALES

Lamentationes in triduum sacrum

Cast: Utopia (a capella)

Music from De Morales, Josquin, Tubal, Weerbeke and Gregorian chant

In 2016, Utopia premiered the 7 lamentations of Cristóbal de Morales. These beautiful lamentations, set by one of the greatest Spanish polyphonists, cry out the destruction of Jerusalem in Biblical poetry.


For this renewed concert program, Utopia places four of Morales' lamentations within the "Triduum Sacrum". The tidal liturgy is given a special interpretation in these three days. The "matins" (matutinae), the first tide in the very early morning, consists of three nocturnes. Every night consists of short antiphones, psalms, sung readings (during the "Triduum Sacrum" these are the Lamentations) and the so-called responsories. In addition to the Lamentations you will hear plainchant from the "Passionarum Toletanum". Furthermore, Utopia selected a psalm and some response lines from work by Josquin Desprez and Gaspar van Weerbeke, predecessors of Morales at the papal court chapel, and Adriaen Tubal, a contemporary of Morales and working in Italy and Antwerp.

SI DOCE É IL TORMENTO

Passionate madrigals from the early 17th century

Cast: Utopia & Korneel Bernolet, harpsichord & Thomas Baeté, viola da gamba

Music from De Wert, Monteverdi, Willaert and Marenzio

 

In this program, Utopia highlights the great "Mantuan" composers De Wert and Monteverdi. Jacques de Wert, born in Weert (Antwerp), was active in Italy for most of his life. In Mantua he was the mentor of the great Claudio Monteverdi. With De Wert as a pioneer, Monteverdi made the switch from polyphony to the early baroque, where text expression and effect prevail over the musical line. The love madrigals in this program, including "Lamento della Ninfa", take you on an expressive journey between desire and sorrow.