Bergen Medieval Music Days 2016

Welcome to the seventh edition of Bergen Medieval Music Days.

This yearʼs programme is part of an ambitious international commemoration of the 600th anniversary of the death of Antonio di Berardo di Andrea da Teramo, also known as «Zacara» (c. 1360–1416). Zacara was the leading composer of the Italian Trecento.

Together with Zacara-expert Dr. Francesco Zimei, the renowned ensembles Micrologus and Leones, we have developed a «Zacara Triduum», consisting of three concerts, introductions and lectures around the life and works of Zacara. «Zacara Triduum» will take place in Teramo, Bergen and in Germany.

In Bergen, the three concerts will take place in our most beautiful medieval buildings: The Rosenkrantz Tower, Håkonʼs Hall and St. Maryʼs Church.

Friday 16th of September, 13:00–14:00 // University of Bergen, HF-building, seminar room 400

«Zacara in Context»

Lecture on the life and works of Antonio di Berardo da Teramo (also known as «Zacara») with Dr. Francesco Zimei, Istituto Abruzzese di Storia Musicale.

Free entrance

Friday 16th of September, 19:00 // Rosenkrantz Tower

«Dime, Fortuna»

Concert Programme no. 1: «Dime, Fortuna»
Ensemble Micrologus (Italy)

Autobiographical works by Antonio Zacara da Teramo.

The prize-winning Italian ensemble Micrologus performs works that relate events in Zacaraʼs life. His songs narrate his brushes with Fortuna, and tell of a successful career, but also of deep personal tragedies. The songs show that he was right in the middle of the great schism of the Roman Catholic Church, which culminated with the election of a second antipope (so that there were three simultaneous popes) at the end of Zacaraʼs life. The schism was ended only the year after Zacaraʼs death at the Council of Constance.

Tickets: 200,-/100,- NOK

Saturday 17th of September, 19:00 // Håkonʼs Hall

«The Third Pope»

Concert programme no. 2: «The Third Pope»
Ensemble Leones (Germany)

Music by composers at the court of anti-pope John XXIII.

The German ensemble Leones (winner of the 2016 International Classical Music Award) performs a programme dedicated to music composed by Zacara and his colleagues at the court of the Antipope John XXIII. Zacara initially worked at the court of Pope Gregor, but changed loyalty and moved to the court of Antipope Alexander V, and that of his successor John XXIII. Next to songs by Zacara, the programme includes music by Johannes Ciconia, Matteo da Perugia, and also the most rhythmically complex composition made within the span of several hundred years: Zacaraʼs famous «Sumite, karissimi».

Tickets: 200,-/100,- NOK

Sunday 18th of September, 20:00 // St. Maryʼs Church

«A Mass for Zacara»

Concert programme no. 3: «A mass for Zacara»
Ensemble Currentes (Norway)

The Bergen based ensemble Currentes performs music for the Mass for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost. The music for the ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei) is taken from an Italian manuscript and consists of works by Zacara and the much younger Guillaume Dufay (1397–1474). The music for the proper is based on the ancient plainchant repertory, elaborated in polyphonic settings by the members of Currentes.

Tickets: 200,-/100,- NOK

Introduction to

«Zacara Triduum»

A European journey to Celebrate a Protagonist of Late Mediaeval European Music in the Sixth-hundredth Anniversary of his Death.

At the end of the summer of 1416, news spread of the death of one of the leading figures in European music during the Great Schism: Antonio di Berardo di Andrea da Teramo, known as Zacara, who had returned to his homeland in his final years, probably to direct the cappella of the local cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta e San Berardo.

A papal singer from the time of Boniface IX, Zacara arrived in Rome at a very young age together with a family of illuminators, most probably with many other such artisans, to assist in the restoration of the Holy See’s library after the return of the Papal Curia from Avignon. Such a professional start is rather surprising, considering that Zacara was born with serious handicaps, lacking several fingers and with one arm wholly paralysed. He was clearly an artist of great versatility, reaching levels of excellence both in music and poetry, as shown by the extremely enigmatic nature of his secular compositions, which were still being played in the second half of the 15th century.

A significant example of this is provided by his copious production of ballatas on the theme of Fortune, his imaginary confidant during his years of professional exile, in the years after he quit the service of Gregory XII and prior to taking up the post of maestro di cappella for the antipope John XXIII, against the backdrop of the Councils of Pisa and Constance, whence Zacara’s art spread throughout the continent as an absolute model of liturgical music.

This composer’s international dimension was only discovered by musicologists a few decades ago and he is now acknowledged as one of the greatest of his time, thanks also to an important meeting at Teramo organised by the Istituto Abruzzese di Storia Musicale 2002, and to the volume «Antonio Zacara da Teramo» e il suo tempo, edited by Francesco Zimei, published two years later by Libreria Musicale Italiana. These circumstances have led three renowned groups of mediaeval music – Currentes (Norway), Leones (Germany) and Micrologus (Italy) – to share their experience in celebrating the sixth-hundredth anniversary of Zacara’s death with the highly ambitious project of dedicating to him three special programmes contextualising his work both historically and stylistically. The project will be launched in the composer’s native town of Teramo and will continue in September in Bergen and in 2017 in Germany.

The programme for Bergen Medieval Music Days 2016 has been developed in collaboration with Dr. Francesco Zimei and the city of Teramo, Italy.