Faculty Talk with Prof. Jennifer Bloxam
The “Josquin in Rome” Project: Reflections on the Pleasures and Problems of Ritual Reconstruction

Boxam M. Jennifer Bloxam Headshot smallOver the past decade, Professor M. Jennifer Bloxam has collaborated with Stratton Bull, director of the award-winning Dutch vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis, to create several CD and concert programs, a film, and a website that aim to recapture the ritual context of Renaissance sacred polyphony. In this talk, she will share some of the insights gleaned and issues confronted during the process of designing the “Josquin in Rome” program that Cappella Pratensis will present at 8:00 pm on Saturday, November 7 in Thompson Chapel. What is gained and what is lost in the act of translating sacred music from long ago into the secular concert context of our modern time? How might the historical imagination of modern listeners be ignited, and to what end? Using the “test case” of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin as celebrated in the Sistine Chapel in the decades around 1500, this presentation will consider the papal choir’s musical repertory (including Josquin’s exquisite Missa Ave maris stella) in relation to aspects of the architecture and decoration of the chapel, the liturgy of the feast day, the musical sources of the chant and polyphony, and the musical performance practices of the papal singers during Josquin’s time.