MORS | The Century of the Black Death
Laus Polyphoniae - Early Music Festival - 23th Edition - 19-28 August 2016
In the 14th century, Europe was ravaged by countless disasters, misfortune and major transformations. The plague and the Hundred Years’ War claimed millions of lives. The continent was politically divided, not least by the conflict between the popes in Avignon and Rome. At the same time, however, this ‘calamitous century’ was a period in which the arts flourished: Dante wrote the Divine Comedy, Boccaccio the Decameron and Chaucer the Canterbury Tales.
Laus Polyphoniae 2016 will focus on the transformations in 14th century music in a European context. In France, Philippe de Vitry brought about a startling turn in music with his treatise Ars Nova. The notation system made great advances, allowing composers to write more complex music, as can be seen in Guillaume de Machaut’s motets, chansons and the Messe de Nostre Dame. This complexity reached a climax at the end of the 14th century in the particularly refined music of the ars subtilior. De Vitry’s influence extended as far as Italy, where composers were writing stunning motets and pieces in the vernacular. In the British Isles, however, composers developed a unique form of polyphony all of their own.
For ten summer days, the world of the 14th century will come to life at the Laus Polyphoniae concerts held at historic locations in Antwerp, taking audiences from the misery of the Black Death to the magnificent grandeur of the Papal Palace in Avignon and state occasions in Venice. Laus Polyphoniae invites famous names and young ensembles to explore the musical treasures of the Low Countries, France, Germany, England, Spain, Cyprus, Israel, the Czech Republic and even Iceland. Attend lecture performances and learn about 14th century performance practice and the context of the most important manuscripts of the time. There is even something for our very youngest audiences, who are bound to love our special concerts for babies
In 2014 the Klara award was presented to AMUZ for the Laus Polyphoniae | Elisabeth I festival and in 2015 Laus Polyphoniae | Petrus Alamire has been awarded the EFFE label for 2015-2016 by the international EFFE (Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe) jury.