Norbert Rodenkirchen, Medieval Flute

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Announcing a pair of very rare solo appearances by renowned German flutist Norbert Rodenkirchen in New York City. Rodenkirchen, one of the world's very few masters of the Medieval flute and a member of the celebrated early music ensemble Sequentia, is widely acclaimed for both his luminous technique and his deep historical knowledge. These two very different performances ­— one featuring music of the Middle Ages and the other a dispatch from musical avant-garde — showcase the range of Rodenkirchen's gifts and the sonic possibilities of his instrument.

Rodenkirchen's January 27 performance features a program of Medieval music, and is based on his immersive historical investigations tracing the "true story" behind the Pied Piper legend. St. Bart's chapel is a gorgeous space, visually and sonically, and an ideal setting for this spellbinding concert. Further details below.

The following evening, Rodenkirchen will present a unique and never-before-seen program exploring the deep affinities between early music and the contemporary avant-garde. Combining the music of the influential fourteenth-century composer Machaut with tape collage and improvisations, Rodenkirchen's performance will be an unforgettable event. Sharing the bill are the eclectic archaic folk-rock band Seaven Teares (Charlie Looker, Amirtha Kidambi, Russell Greenberg, and Robbie Lee, on Northern Spy Records), and a duo of two modern pioneers in trumpet extended techniques, Peter Evans and Nate Wooley.

Tuesday, January 27, at the chapel at St Bart's in Manhattan, 6pm, free concert. "Hameln Anno 1284 -- Medieval flute music on the trail of the Pied Piper"


Hameln Anno 1284:
Medieval flute music on the trail of the Pied Piper"
by Norbert Roderkirchen

“Flutist Norbert Rodenkirchen immersed deeply into the world of the Middle Ages…the music unfolds an almost bewitching spell.” – Fono Forum

The legend of the mysterious flautist who in the year 1284 enticed the children away from the town of Hamelin with his music has retained its fascination up to the present day. Recent research suggests that the Pied Piper may have been an actual person—a flute-playing medieval recruitment officer, commissioned by the aristocracy from the territories south of the Baltic coast to attract young families to migrate to these areas. Early documents tell us that such a person succeeded in mobilizing a large crowd of young people in Hamelin in the summer of 1284. What music might he have played?

Norbert Rodenkirchen, an internationally-known specialist in medieval flute music and a member of the renowned medieval music ensemble Sequentia, has long been fascinated by the figure of the Pied Piper. He was inspired to embark on a search for the story’s musical sources, which he found in the melodies of Prince Wizlaw III of Ruegen and his teacher, the so-called “Ungelahrte” (“Untaught”), augmented by ancient Slavonic dances from Northern Poland and the tunes of German minnesingers of the late 13th century. With his extensive experience in medieval improvisation, Norbert Rodenkirchen has utilised these musical models to weave a series of enchanting melodies in the style of medieval travelling musicians which could quite conceivably have been played by the Pied Piper himself.

In 2012 the Christophorus label released Norbert Rodenkirchen´s CD “Hameln Anno 1284 – Medieval music on the trail of the Pied Piper” which received tremendous public attention internationally. This summer, Norbert Rodenkirchen will be performing this program at the Boston Early Music Festival, one of the most prestigious early music events in the world.