Critic’s Choice

Wed Apr 12, 2017 at 11:27 am

Pomerium performed Sunday evenng, an event presented by Music Before 1800.

Pomerium at The Cloisters seems as venerable a New York tradition as a raspberry soda at Rumpelmayer’s—except that, while Rumpelmayer’s closed long ago, in its 44th season under founder Alexander Blachly, the vocal group Pomerium continues to set the standard for vital, authentic performance of Renaissance chapel music. 

Holy Week, when Christians contemplate the humanity and divinity of Jesus as manifested in the story of his death and resurrection, has called forth some of the most touchingly human yet spiritually uplifting music ever composed. This year, Pomerium gives two performances on Holy Saturday of a program that ranges in mood from the serenity of Gregorian chant (with polyphonic elaborations by Du Fay and Senfl) to the lamentations of Robert White, dramatic narratives by Monteverdi and Gesualdo, and ultimately bursts of Easter joy from de Lassus and Byrd.

Believer and non-believer alike may be amazed at how lively and compelling the master music of five or six hundred years ago still sounds, when entrusted to interpreters like these.

Pomerium performs works of Du Fay, Senfl, Robert White, Monteverdi, Gesualdo, de Lassus, and Byrd 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday at The Cloisters. metmuseum.org; 212-923-3700.


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