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Nota Bene: Pay attention… mark well… take note…

The four members of Nota Bene viol consort have been drawn together by their love of polyphony, and for its demands and rewards, both musical and social. Polyphony asks us to pay attention, to take note of what each voice is saying, to remark on it, enhance it, and give it back to the ensemble as part of an ongoing dialog. We feel fortunate to play a family of instruments that allow us to sing and converse on so many levels.

Nota Bene is devoted to the rich repertoire of vocal and instrumental polyphony that arose on the European Continent and England along with so many other new social constructs aided in large part by the printing press. At a time when people were questioning their place in society, in the expansion of the known world, in the decisions of government, in their personal faith, and in the cosmos itself, polyphony reflected the human struggle to be both individual and interconnected.

We invite you to take note of the universal joys and questions embodied in the music we love.

    NB News

    In June, 2017, we were joined by guest Julie Jeffrey and a splendid quintet of singers to do a deep dive into Pietro Vinci’s 1580 book of sacred madrigals: Sonetti Spirituale, settings of fourteen passionate and ecstatic sonnets by Vittoria Colonna, the quintessential Renaissance Woman. The result of our week-long retreat was a multi-media performance of the complete book of madrigals, featuring contemporary artwork and dramatic readings of Colonna’s words, both in English and Italian. What began as an exploration of how a set of poems, a set of madrigals, and a set of instruments could give us insights into the aesthetic of a place and time led to the discovery of a gorgeous work of art which has never been recorded.

    Fourteen madrigal-pairs (28 pieces!), 10 musicians, 2 readers, 1 engineer, and a space to record them in (not to mention airfare and housing). It’s a tall order, and while we’ve secured some grant funding and initial pledges, we need some help making this recording possible!

    Donors who give $25 will receive a copy of the CD when finished. Please visit our GoFundMe to learn more and become a part of our recording dream!