Seventeenth-century theorist and polymath Athanasius Kircher explains that when “motus harmonicus” (harmonic movement) passes through the air in proportions matching the nature of the living spirit, it re-awakens a similar harmony within the soul. “Motus harmonicus” is thus the resonant force that transmutes the movement of the soul (motus animae).
Chamber ensemble MOTUS HARMONICUS weaves together ancient themes, myth, and symbol, telling stories through music from the baroque, renaissance, and medieval periods. Under the artistic leadership of Jakub Michl and Isabella Shaw, MOTUS HARMONICUS aims to bring new dimensions to early music. The ensemble focuses on music from the 9th to 18th centuries, and continually re-shapes itself according to the needs of its projects.
MOTUS HARMONICUS has performed at international early music festivals and series such as the Haydn Music Festival (Haydnovy hudební slavnosti), Sidney Sussex Arts Festival (Cambridge), American Spring (Americké jaro), Musica figurata, Theatrum Kuks, and Prague Chamber Philharmonia series, among others. The ensemble has presented a number of premieres of 17th century repertoire and has recorded performances with the Czech Radio.
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 fulfills 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.