Socially-Distanced Du Fay

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

In Spring 2020, a program devoted to English polyphony of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was in rehearsals when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. This program included the anonymous Agincourt Carol, Thomas Tallis’ “O sacrum convivium,” William Mundy’s “O Lord, the maker of all thing,” Orlando Gibbons’ “Hosanna to the Son of David,” and Walter Lambe’s “Nesciens mater.” A outdoor midterm concert on the Columbia quad, scheduled for the evening of March 9, was to include the Mundy, Tallis, and Gibbons pieces, but was canceled at the last minute, coinciding with the first day in-person classes ceased on campus. The final concert was to take place April 29 in St. Paul’s Chapel.

For the remainder of the semester, Collegium was held on Zoom. Director Russell O’Rourke led the group in lessons in historical music notation, teaching members how to sing fourteenth- and fifteenth-century European polyphony from facsimiles of its original sources. The semester culminated in a video project: students recorded the individual parts to Guillaume Du Fay’s chanson “Il sera pour vous/L’homme armé”—they never saw a modern score of the piece—and, with the assistance of Marc Hannaford, Russell edited the results together, resulting in this video.

Music DirectorRussell O'Rourke. Du Fay singers: Madeleine Collier, Emma Lee, Warren McCombs, Ursula Murray-Bozeman, David Newtown, Russell O'Rourke, Sonja Wermager, Margeaux Wolberg.

Zoom seminar attendees also included other members of the choir from the previous semester, for which see this page.

Du Fay – "Il sera pour vous / L'homme armé" – Collegium Musicum of Columbia University