The earliest forms of musical notation in the history of western music can be found in the Gregorian manuscripts of the 9th and 10th centuries. In St. Gallen, Einsiedeln, Laon and Metz, manuscripts were compiled that provide the earliest testimonies to the first attempts made in the West not just to remember music, but to write it down on parchment. People often think that we do not have any manuscripts like these, containing early neumes, in our part of the world. However, careful research has shown that there are a considerable number of sources as close to home as the Royal Library of Belgium, which tell at least part of the story of the oldest notations. That these earliest forms of notation were mainly intended as memory aids has an important impact on this project. No scores are used here: nine female singers sing for an hour almost from memory, in atmospheric darkness. For once, we can take the phrase ‘Dark Ages’ literally.
Première commissioned by AMUZ