Charles T. Downey, Folger Consort starts season with a polyphonic setting of Catholic Mass
Washington Post, September 30, 2013
A pop song as the basis for a musical setting of the Catholic Mass sounds like a peculiarly modern thing to do, but the practice can be traced back to the 15th century. One of the oldest examples, the “Missa Ayo visto lo mappamundi” by Juan Cornago, was the centerpiece of the first program in the Folger Consort’s new season, its 36th, heard early Saturday evening at the Folger Shakespeare Library.
J. Cornago, Missa de la mapa mundi, His Majestie's Clerkes, P. Hillier
It is a beautiful polyphonic setting of the Mass, for three male voices, with florid parts woven around the long notes of the Sicilian folk song “Ayo visto lo mappamundi.” Countertenor Martin Near, tenor Aaron Sheehan and baritone Richard Giarusso sang it mostly from a balcony above the stage, in a way that was evenly matched and blended, with just one rough patch in the “Sanctus” movement. [Continue reading]
With Martin Near (countertenor), Aaron Sheehan (tenor), Richard Giarusso (baritone), and Emily Noel (soprano)
Folger Shakespeare Library