Capella Alamire was founded in 1984 by Peter Urquhart while he was at Harvard University. The group's original purpose was to explore some of the repertoire of his dissertation study, and the performance practice ideas stemming from this repertoire. The music was that of Franco-Flemish composers around the time of Josquin DesPrez, and the ideas were centered on issues of pitch and structure in the music. These two concepts have remained central to the group's purpose since that time. A name was chosen during the first year: "Alamire" was not only the term used to solmize (to sing on sol-fa syllables) the pitch A, but was also the pseudonym of a Flemish music scribe employed by the Habsburg court, c.1500. Petrus Alamire and his workshop produced some 50 presentation manuscripts that remain central sources for the transmission of the music of Josquin and his contemporaries.
Capella Alamire occasionally sings directly from Alamire manuscripts, and illuminations, capitals and musical excerpts from the manuscripts are regularly used in programs and posters. The first concert presented an overview of the Franco-Flemish tradition in the form of a composite L'homme arme mass, with individual sections by Busnoys, Pierre de La Rue, Josquin, Morales and Palestrina, and with motets by Ockeghem and Gombert. Rehearsals took place in Holmes Hall of North House at Radcliffe College, with members drawn from the Harvard-Radcliffe choirs as well as the larger community. In 1988-89, the director spent the year in Italy, and the group performed a program under Charles Turner following an edition prepared by Urquhart. Rehearsals continued in the fall of 1989 in Lowell, MA, with some new members drawn from the Portsmouth, NH area because of the director's teaching position at UNH. Commuting to rehearsals became the new pattern, not only from Cambridge, Boston and Portsmouth, but also Worcester, Providence, Amherst, and even New York City.
In 1997, the ensemble experimented with a bifurcated membership, composed of a core group from Portsmouth who rehearsed extensively, and a small group from Cambridge/Boston who filled out the ensemble on fewer rehearsals. Concerts have numbered between 8 and 12 per year, with two or three different programs each season. Each program was essentially unique; only a few pieces have received two or three performances, although titles of programs began to repeat! Almost every program contained a work or two receiving their first performances in modern times, and new works by local composers were sometimes included: Charles Turner, Rodney Lister, and Ivan Tcherepnin are among the Boston area composers whose works have been performed by the Capella.
|Fare Ye Well
Missa L'ami baudechon
Credo Sine nomine
Credo Sine nomine (canonic)
Credo De tous biens playne
Audio magazine (USA) called this "an utterly delightful disc." Unusual melodies,
surprising harmonies, unexpected uses of word painting and other expressive
techniques, great craft and clarity of purpose distinguish these works, believed
to have been written during Josquin's mysterious early years. Includes several
world premiere recordings.
|6574 CD $15.98|
|Missa Sine nomine a 5
Missa Cuiusvis toni a 4
Missa Fors seulement a 5
Early Music (UK) proclaimed, "This is a feast indeed." Ockeghem created music
of incomparable spiritual purity and technical perfection. These three masses
clearly identify one of the three greatest masters of the Flemish High Renaissance
|6575 CD $15.98|
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