Ensemble Origo is an early-music ensemble directed by Connecticut-based musicologist and conductor Eric Rice. Its aim is to present vibrant performances of early music (from the Middle Ages through the baroque period) that reflect the context in which the repertory was originally produced and hear. “Origo” is Latin for “earliest beginning,” “lineage,” or “origin.” Drawing on a roster of professional musicians from Connecticut, as well as Boston and New York, Ensemble Origo is based in Hartford and performs at the Trinity College Chapel. The concert is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted.
In 1530, Pope Clement VII crowned the Habsburg ruler, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in Bologna. It was the last coronation of an emperor by a sitting peope in the manner of Charlemagne’s coronation by Leo III in 800, and it was, by all accounts, a splendid event, with the choirs of both the Pope and the Emperor in attendance.
The paper choir included the celebrated Italian composer, Costanzo Festa, while the imperial choir’s most illustrious member was the South Netherland composer, Nicolas Gombert. A surviving motet by Festa employs an acclamation from the Laudes regiae, which have their roots in the Caesar-hails of ancient Rome, along with liturgical texts of Epiphany that affirm the ruler’s role as Christ’s representative on Earth.
A mass by Gombert, the Missa “Sur tout regretz,” has the phrase “A la incoronation” as a subtitle in its earliest printed source. These suggestive details, along with a thorough investigation of the many sources that record the event, have allowed for a reconstruction of the coronation ceremony that presents listeners with an evocative window into the political, religious, and musical contexts of the event.
Ensemble Origo will present a partial reconstruction of the coronation of Charles V. The 70-minute program includes some of the plainchant that would have been sung during the event, Festa’s coronation motet, and Gombert’s mass. The group’s director, Eric Rice of the University of Connecticut, will offer a 30-minute pre-concert talk exploring the coronation’s context and music.
This concert will be of particular interest to students of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance history, to those interested in exploring the legacies of both the Roman and Carolingian Empires; to students of the history of music; and to liturgists and early-music enthusiasts.