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Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013

Early Music Now

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Early Music Now, whose mission is to present the best performances of Medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque music from around the world, opens its season with an Estonian early music vocal ensemble, Heinavanker. This a cappella septet will perform “Ancient Songs, Chants, and Hymns, a program offering an intriguing blend of ancient runic songs, Gregorian chant, Estonian folk hymns and mass settings from the 14th century, demonstrating a mix of mythical essence and Christian influence.

Tenor Margo Kõlar directs the group, which also features soprano Ilona Ernes; alto Kadri Hunt; tenor Johan Randvere; and baritones Tõnis Kaumann, Taniel Kirikal and Christopher Staak. Hainavanker has embarked on concert tours throughout Europe and the U.S. and appeared in numerous festivals, including the Moscow Early Music Festival and the European Middle Ages Festival.

The ensemble takes its name in Estonian translation from The Haywain, a well-known altarpiece painted by the Renaissance proto-surrealist Hieronymus Bosch. The image, derived from a Netherlandish song, shows a huge wagonload of hay being pulled toward destruction through a world vexed by sin and avarice. On top of the hay, between the conflicting influences of a demon and an angel, musicians play. The allegory perhaps prompts observers to hope that music’s power will transport us, even if only temporarily, to a place where our basest desires are only so much hay. Who among us couldn’t use a couple of hours of that?

This program is one night only, 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12, at St. Joseph Center Chapel, 1501 S. Layton Blvd. For tickets, visit earlymusicnow.org.