SCHOLA BENEDICTA, directed by JIØÍ HODINA
The compositions in this programme have been selected from one of the most important endowments of King Wenceslas II, the foundation of the Cistercian abbey at Zbraslav, near Prague, called the Aula Regia. By the recitation of the intercalated verse of the fourteenth-century Chronicon Aulae Regiae 1 and music we can obtain a better picture of important moments in the life of Wenceslas II.
1) These are passages in Latin hexameters, metered verse in six feet, popular in Latin and Greek epic verse. A special form of this, used in the Chronicon Aulae Regiae, is Leonine verse, a kind of internal rhyme, where the word before the caesura rhymes with the word at the end of the line of verse.
2) Although the extant thirteenth-century music manuscripts of the Prague Chapter Library lack polyphonic compositions, that does not mean that polyphonic song was not performed in Prague as it was in other European countries. Our selection therefore includes compositions of foreign provenance, which in modal rhythm and homorhythmic harmonies tend to correspond to the tradition of polyphonic song in thirteenth-century Bohemia, as reflected, for instance, by Peter of Zittau in the Chronicon Aulae Regiae about 1330: ‘Once [c. 1290] indulged in only by accomplished musicians, polyphonic song is now heard everywhere, at dances and on town squares, sung in semitones and fifths by laymen and people of loose morals.’
© 2HP Production, May 2013
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