"Quelques chants extraordinaires" : 18th-century music at the Congrégation de Notre-Dame in Montreal

The 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal presents an unique opportunity to ponder the past and our connection to it. As a women's vocal ensemble that specializes in historical repertoires, Ensemble Scholastica felt compelled to explore a repertoire that is largely forgotten: the music of women living in religious communities that were so integral to New French society.

Our first program in this series focused on the music for the Feast of the Visitation as it would have been performed by the sisters of Montreal's Congrégation Notre-Dame during the 18th century. Alongside plainchant and fauxbourdon, this program of "quelques chants extraordinaires" ("several extraordinary songs", as noted in a 1720 letter written by Sister Sainte Henriette) features several works by French composers Henri Du Mont, Nicolas Bernier and Nicolas Lebègue. We are most pleased to have been able to present the premiere performance of this concert, on June 18 2017, in the very chapel that was first built by CND founder Marguerite Bourgeoys, and in which she and her sisters would have celebrated this feast.

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