Long Joy Brief Languor
The 'Missa Quem malignus spiritus' is an anonymous English setting of the cyclic mass for three voices and remains one of the earliest known masses to be unified by a single plainchant melody. This mass is based on a responsory chant found in just one mid-fifteenth-century source. This source bears the rhymed office of John (Thweng) of Bridlington, a fourteenth-century English saint canonized in 1401 (d. 1379). The heading of each movement of the mass begins with a rebus, a kind of puzzle using words and symbols. The rebus presents two musical notes, notes which a fifteenth-century musician would call long and breve. The word 'joy' (in English) follows the 'long,' and the word 'languor' follows the 'breve.' Thus, the rebus of the mass suggests the motto that 'joy is long, while languor is brief.' Schola Antiqua of Chicago is a professional vocal ensemble dedicated to the study and performance of medieval plainchant and early polyphonic music before the year 1500. Hailed as a "guiding light in early music", Schola Antiqua prides itself on providing the highest standards of research, performance, and education about many underserved repertories in the western musical canon. Founded in 2000 under the artistic leadership of Prof. Calvin M. Bower from the University of Notre Dame and Prof. Michael Alan Anderson from the Eastman School of Music, the organization has received invitations to perform from the Indianapolis Early Music Festival, Chicago's Newberry Library, the Chicago Cultural Center, the University of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, the American Guild of Organists, and numerous churches in the Midwest. In 2006-7, Schola Antiqua served as Artists-in-Residence at the University of Chicago. In addition to this album, the Schola has recorded the accompanying CD for Theodore Karp's Introduction to the Post-Tridentine Mass Proper, 1590-1890 (published in 2005). The ensemble will appear in the upcoming PBS documentary "Sounds of Faith," a project seeking to engender dialogue and respect among diverse faith communities through an exploration of sacred sound. The project is produced by Dr. Shakeela Hassan, Professor Emerita of the University of Chicago.