In our time, music is usually perceived as art, solely extant in the realm of aesthetics. But music did not develop only as art. From early times it was part of ritual and ceremony. From the very beginning, music was part of that which transcends everyday reality. There was never any “absolute music” or “autonomous music”. Even today, music fulfils a number of functions: It accompanies dance, theatre and ritual. It carries a symbol, message or story. It serves as catalyst and intensifier for emotions. It heals, soothes, harmonises, or enlivens and inflames. Art is one of ways in which we as humans learn about the world and ourselves. In this respect it is comparable to science. Many people don’t only need music “just to listen to”, because they are also seeking taking part in the ceremony, experiencing the story, processing their emotions… The question “Why do we make art?” can be understood as “Who are we?” or “Where do we come from and where are we going?”. Our goal is bring the music into everyday reality not only as a transient experience, but by connecting it with deeper human issues, feelings, and themes, problems we face, questions we ask. Such music allows one to see the world from a different angle, and ultimately, we believe, can make the world a better and more beautiful place.

Mirail de prez / Merit’s Mirror

Ensemble MOTUS HARMONICUS explores the lingua materna and women’s voices from history, reconstructing songs of the trobairitz (female troubadours). Centering on women’s song primarily from the 12th-13th century Occitania – an area containing parts of modern-day France, Italy, and Spain – this new program is a historical celebration of women’s speech, and of those remarkable figures whose names and voices did survive the ages. Lyrics by Azalais de Porcairagues, Lombarda, Clara d’Anduza, and others.

Le Flambeau du Monde

The contrast between light and shadow is considered a central principal of baroque art. The programme “Le Flambeau du Monde” – “The Torch of the World” will take us to France between the Thirty Years War and time of the glamour of the royal court at the end of the 17th century. Between candleflame and the shadow of a heavy curtain,  the poetry of the time leads us on a reflective journey through contemplation of the world, life and love.

Maria Juliana: The Four Seasons (1776)

In 1776, a notable series of musical activities took place in the Elisabethan convent in Prague. These activities were initiated by one occasion: the 50th anniversary of Maria Deodata, the convent’s mother superior. Maria Deodata apparently had a very positive relationship to music, considering that under her direction, both convent organs were funded and built, and the large number of music compositions dedicated to her. On November 24 1776, a musical “Operetto” was performed in honor of the mother superior, most probably written by Maria Juliana (1719-c.1800), the convent’s “Chor-Regentin”. 

Il Miglior Fabbro

Dante and music of the early Italian baroque : The great poet Dante Alighieri, in Il Purgatorio, referred to the famous troubadour Arnaut Daniel as “il miglior fabbro”, “the best maker/smith/craftsman”. Now Motus Harmonicus presents one take on “the best maker,” presenting Dante’s Commedia through music of the Italian seicento. Songs, arias and motets tell of Dante’s journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise in his own words, as well as his personal journey in poetic style.

Morte i begli occhi

In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, a wave of new music attested to the increasing opportunities and autonomy available to talented female musicians, writers, artists, and composers in the secular world. This programme focuses on the genius and achievements of four remarkable composers– Francesca Caccini, Settimia Caccini, Leonora Orsina, and Barbara Strozzi—within the context of some of their contemporaries.

Time Stands Still …

Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586) left an immense legacy not only to history, but also to literature, philosophy, and music. His travels on diplomatic missions took him throughout Europe, as far east as Poland and as far south as Florence. Living at the heart of cultural and religious changes that characterised 16th century Europe, he witnessed the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Paris, met with numerous important intellectuals and politicians including Emperor Rudolph II and his circle in Prague, and lost his life at the Battle of Zutphen in the Netherlands.