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Sub rosa

Collaboration with Sub Rosa Ensemble

Saturday Jan 26 2019 7:30pm
Sunday Jan 27 2019 7:30pm
Trinity College Chapel

Tickets available online $20 regular, $10 students & arts workers

This concert is the first collaboration between CUE and Sub Rosa Ensemble. By combining women’s voices from Sub Rosa with strings, continuo, and men’s voices from Cor Unum, we’ll explore 16th- and 17th-century repertoire written for and by nuns - often the most highly trained and renowned musicians in their city, and yet never spoken about in music history classes. Convent polyphony was common, but controversial on account of its sensuality, and only a few nuns dared to publish music for instruments. Nevertheless these women often used their popularity, and the secrecy of the screens behind which they performed, to break the rules - sometimes even singing with men. We are delighted to share this unusual and beguiling repertoire which treads the uneasy boundary between sacred and secular beauty.

Sub Rosa Ensemble is dedicated to the long-neglected repertoire composed by women of the 16th and 17th centuries, especially the surviving work of cloistered nuns. These nuns used singing and composition to communicate their identity and their devotion beyond the convent walls, developing their social and financial independence. The power of their music caused them to become both controversial and alluring to the outside world - in fact it was illegal in many Italian cities. We explore the challenges of equal-voice polyphony and aim to shed light on the important (though often invisible) role played by women in music history. Our name is tied to the traditional reference to secret meetings as 'under the rose,' not unlike the secluded music of these women whose lives remain largely inaccessible to scholarship.