Over 30 years, Dutch vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis has remained true to its identity, championing the music of Josquin des Prez and performing around a single central music stand. Equal parts performers and scholars, Cappella Pratensis pays the same regard to the visual and practical aspects of informed performance as to the subtleties of the music’s linguistic origins. The central stand, a trademark of the group’s performances, has a considered effect on the ensemble’s sound. Artistic Director Stratton Bull (quoted in Urban Milwaukee) says, “Standing as a group (in a closer) relationship to the other singers, you hear their breath. That brings everyone together.” As does the score the group performs from, a facsimile of the original mensural notation. Without barlines or metric notation, the singers develop a unified sound through careful listening and close attention to each other.
Though Cappella Pratensis may excel at historically informed performance, their programs don’t lack for innovation or creativity. Cappella specializes in the music of French Renaissance composer Josquin des Prez (the ensemble’s name is literally means “Cappella des Prez”), but the scope of their programs encompasses a wide variety of Renaissance composers. Cappella’s concert at UChicago Presents, The Imitation Game: Emulation, Competition and Homage at the time of Josquin, explores the music of those who inspired Josquin and of those whom he later inspired.
Join UChicago Presents in the Logan Center for the Arts on Sunday, November 11 at 3pm to explore vocal music of the 16th century with masters of Renaissance polyphony.
The Imitation Game: Emulation, Competition and Homage at the time of Josquin