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Harmonia Early Music

1000: A Mass For The End Of Time

Anonymous 4 marks the current millennium by looking backward to the previous one with a mass from about the year 1000.

Detail from the painting Four Horsemen of Apocalypse by Viktor Vasnetsov.

The Christian world-view in the tenth century was not so very different from ours of today. Then, as now, all sorts of possibilities of when and how the end of the world will come were prophesied.

Anonymous 4 has chosen the Feast of the Ascension, whose liturgy evocatively conjures the Last Judgment, as the basis of their harmonia mundi recording released in the year 2000.  On a CD entitled 1000: A Mass for the End of Time, they have assembled a mass drawing mostly on Aquitanian manuscripts from around the year 1000. They enhance some of the written music with the addition of polyphony and drones, as would very likely have been done by singers of the time.

Here is an excerpt from the prose and sequence Salvator mundi/Rex omnipotens, a type of piece that was, in the year 1000, a relatively recent addition to the mass.  It’s text rhapsodizes on the coming redemption of the world by the risen Christ.

[playlist-item 1]

Wendy Gillespie

Wendy Gillespie, Director of the Bloomington Bach Cantata Project, is Professor Emerita of Music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and Past President of the Viola da Gamba Society of America. In 2011 she was awarded Early Music America’s Thomas Binkley Award, and in 2012 a Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award. She continues to enjoy her career as a performing musician, having made more than 100 recordings and performed on five continents. Wendy began working with Harmonia in January 2012.

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