Friends of Chamber Music, Sequentia preview by Paul Horsely
Paris in the 12th century was a hotbed of student unrest, corruption and greed and lively political discourse – and it saw a ferment of artistic, literary and musical creativity the likes of which the Western world has rarely witnessed. Within the walled Notre Dame Cathedral complex on the city’s Ile de la Cité lived hundreds of clerics, noblemen, students, servants and choirboys. And when it came to music, they were singing not just Masses and Offices but songs about all manner of things. It was here in this enclave of creativity that polyphony in music – multiple voices sounding at the same time, each forming its own melody but blending seamlessly with the others – made several giant leaps forward.