Resonanda in Ecclesia
On Saturday night, we hosted a stunning concert by Resonanda, Brown University’s medieval music ensemble, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Brooklyn. The program, titled “My Beloved Arrives…,” was a selection of love and passion, sacred and profane, from medieval Iberia. This included Hebrew and Arabic love songs, troubadours praising the Virgin, Sir Love’s experiences during Lent, and a man raging against God for taking away his beloved. All was heard under the towering ceilings of one of Brooklyn’s largest and most historic churches, which has only recently been renovated from near-ruin.
A few days beforehand, we had the privilege to publish an essay by Stephen Higa, Resonanda’s leader, on his craft. It’s called “Naked Voice“:
Medieval song is about the nakedness of the human voice. In fact, the human voice itself is about nakedness; singing is the only musical endeavor that relies solely and completely on the body’s own resources. It becomes the most intimate expression of self. When I stand before you to sing, you will hear my breath, my throat, my lungs, the softest viscera of my interior projected before you in sound. Medieval song, which is founded on the primacy of the unaccompanied vocal line, is the repertoire that demands the most violent—almost indecent—exposure of the voice. It forces me to thrust my voice into the emptiness of space and wait for it to echo back, or simply to be swallowed up in nothingness. Singing medieval song is supreme vulnerability.
Thank you, Resonanda, for sharing your voices with us!