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Every last Sunday
of the month

One hour of Renaissance music
in the Basel Historical Museum Barfüsserkirche

« Psalmy Dawida »
Melodies from a Polish psalter 
Sun 26th June 2022
17:15 & 19:15 Free entry – Collection

25 Sep 18:15

Sooner or later -
Consort 1547

In 1547, Pierre Attaignant published a series of part books in Paris. They contain some dances that, with a length of only 6 bars, are among the shortest pieces of music of the time. That same year, and at the other end of the spectrum, came the first book of Ricercars by Jacques Buus, organist at San Marco in Venice. Along with dances and vocal music, these long and complicated fantasies formed an important part of the instrumental repertoire of the time. The works of Attaingnant and Buus, together with Francesco Corteccia's madrigals, published in the same year, offer a snapshot of what a viola da gamba consort might have played in the mid-16th century. The "Venetian viols", all without a sound post, produce a transparent, silvery sound that emphasizes the polyphony and also blends perfectly with the sound of a lute.


gamba consort:

Filipa Meneses—Discantus

Leonardo Bortolotto-Altus

Alexandra Polin - tenor

Ryosuke Sakamoto – Quintus (also Lute)

Elizabeth Rumsey – bassus (musical direction)

Sing with the flute! – La Fontegara by Ganassi

"You must know that all musical instruments [...] have a lower value than the human voice compared to the human voice. That's why we try to learn from her and imitate her." This is the opening movement of the most important explicit recorder textbook of the Renaissance. Printed in Venice in 1535, the "Opera Intitulata Fontegara" still sets standards for our understanding of music and, in particular, for the virtuosic play with diminutions. The recorder is the focal point of this first major work by Sylvestro Ganassi, but it does not contain any ready-made pieces for performance. Rather, it is a stylized snapshot of the practice of diminution at that time, which is intended to be experienced again in this concert in its own transcriptions and improvisations. In accordance with the clear instructions from the first chapter of the Fontegara, the main task of the instruments is to “imitate the human voice with all its abilities” and Ganassi is convinced that the recorder can achieve this feat.

Andreas Böhlen – conductor, recorder | Tabea Schwartz – recorder, viola d'arco | Claire Piganiol – Arpa doppia, recorder | Ivo Haun, vocals, lute | Félix Verry – Renaissance violin

2207 Intro Du Fay Audio
00:00 / 07:18

31 July 18:15

You Fay-A cappella!

"Now rejoice, Basel", one might think, is the translation of the beginning of the earliest motet by the Burgundian composer Guillaume Du Fay. But "Basilea" (or "Vasilissa") is an ambiguous word and also means "queen" in Greek. This work was dedicated to the future Queen Cleofa of the House of Malatesta of Pesaro, to bid her farewell to Constantinople for her marriage. And like these, most of Du Fay's motets can be linked to a very specific occasion - that is, a place, a time and a story - which makes them all the more interesting. From the High Middle Ages to the High Baroque, the "motet" was one of the most important forms of vocal music and changed enormously during this time. Du Fay's motets still show the strict order of mediaeval compositional techniques in their layout, which he mastered so masterfully and adapted to the taste of his time that following these rules set no limits to his artistic expression: here the spirit of the early Renaissance blows through the demanding constructs of late Gothic, interpreted by the a cappella ensemble of ReRenaissance.

Vocals: Hanna Marti, Loïc Paulin, Simon MacHale, Jed Allen, Coordination: Marc Lewon
Tessa Roos - vocals, direction

Read more: 

Intro text by Didier Samson


About ReRenaissance


Since the inaugural concert in June 2020, ReRenaissance has brought Renaissance music into focus with a concert every month. Each programme is a premiere, and takes place on the last Sunday of the month in the historical centre of the city, in the Basel Historical Museum’s Barfüsserkirche. Introductory video blogs, interviews, a regular column from David Fallows, and a rich selection of background information and research accompany this out-of-the-ordinary music.

Renaissance music is itself experiencing a kind of renaissance here: music that has been handed down in manuscripts and prints will be heard again, on rarely-heard instruments such as the rebec, shawm, clavisimbalum, cornetto or Grossgeige. Each programme has a very specific focus, be it a composer, manuscript, or idea, and the whole is conceived and planned by musicians and musicologists in close cooperation. Then the programmes are brought to life by specialist musicians from the Basel area, who are brought together to form these very specific ensembles.

In 2022, ReRenaissance begins its third season. On one hand, the repertoire reflects the diversity of international styles in the sound of 15th and 16th century music. On the other hand, it is the goal of ReRenaissance to present regional musical treasures in their original context. The connection to Basel is highlighted itwice in 2022: a concert of lute music gives an insight into private musical life in Basel during the Renaissance; and in spring we present the inauguration of a Grossgeige, a type of viola da gamba which was first mentioned in Basel in 1511 and has been specially reconstructed for the concert series. Italian and Spanish motets, French chansons, Polish psalms and much more showcase the internationality of the Renaissance sound world.

One concert will be dedicated once again to the work of Ottaviano Petrucci, the first music printer; there will be another sing-along concert and another dance concert. The existing cooperation with the Paper Museum and the Historical Museum will be augmented in 2022 by cooperation with the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in January and in November.

Concert series organized by the ReRenaissance association

The association is recognized as a nonprofit organization.

Concept, musical direction, and production:

Tabea Schwartz, Elizabeth Rumsey, Marc Lewon.

Development & Administration: Elisabeth Stähelin, Hannah Bächtold
Board of directors: Dr. Thomas Christ, Dr. Werner Baumann

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