1517, Music from a Watershed Year

The SFEMS Medieval Renaissance Summer Workshop presents its 2017 Collegium on the quincentenary of one of more significant years in western cultural history. This special collegium, which supports the Summer Workshop, and in particular its scholarship programs, will take place Saturday, April 8, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church 1501 Washington Avenue, in Albany. The collegium will be led by Workshop Director Adam Gilbert and is open to voices, recorders, viols, harps, sackbuts, dulcians and all manner of early instruments

A watershed year, 1517 marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. It also saw the death of the great composer Henricus Isaac, and the last compositions of his student Adam Rener, who was brutally beaten in a barroom fight. In the same year, Johannes Reuchlin published his The Art of the Kabbalah, a landmark book that changed the face of musical symbolism in the Renaissance. For our program, we will explore the music that Isaac composed for Lorenzo de Medici in Florence and Maximilian I of Austria. We will look at music of his students Ludwig Senfl and Adam Rener. We will also play and sing major compositions from the beginning of the Reformation, and we will trace how popular and sacred song evolved before and after 1517, a “year of singing dangerously.” Please spend the day with us making glorious music.

This collegium will use a pitch of A=440 Bring your instruments, music stands and pencils, and a bag lunch. Electronic files of the music will be provided in advance.

Registration fees for the  full day are $50.00 in advance for SFEMS members and $65.00 in advance for non-members. At the door, fees are $60.00 for SFEMS members and $75.00 for non members. Students pay $30.00 at the door. Half-day fees are $30.00 for SFEMS members and $45.00 non-members:

Register Here, or mail registration payment to: SFEMS, c/o Med Ren Collegium, P.O. Box 10151, Berkeley, CA 94709 Please register early! Registration fees increase at the door so please register online or mail our offline registration form to us early (please postmark by April 1)!


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Written by Jonathan Harris
San Francisco Early Music Society