Tuesday, 13 February 2018

The music of New France: Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal at St John's Smith Square



The conquering of the Americas by Europeans in the 17th century led to the importation of Western European music, and this led to some rather interesting cross-polinations with indigenous cultures. Music from South America has become relatively familiar, but that from the French colony in North America, New France, less so. There is a chance to explore this rare repertoire on Thursday 15 February 2018 when the Studio de Musique Ancienne de Montréal perform a programme of French Canadian choral music at St John's Smith Square.

The ensemble will be performing songs in Abenaki, an indigenous language nearing extinction which was taught specially to them by one of its last living speakers, alongside the earliest motets and plainchants composed in French North America and polyphony brought by the first French settlers. The only surviving sources for these latter are the libraries of historic Québec City.

The programme also includes the European premiere of a new work, Ja de longtemps, by Maurice-G. Du Berge, a setting of Marc Lescarbot’s eyewitness accounts of Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of the St. Lawrence River, in search of a trade route to China.

Full details from the St John's Smith Square website.

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