CARMINA EX RUINAS, aka 'Portinari and the Black Monk' (composed 2018/19) is a musical drama set in Lewes, Sussex, 1538. The inspiration came from walking among the ruins of the St. Pancras, Cluniac monastery that have somehow persevered since Henry VIII and the Dissolution of the monasteries.
C A R M I N A E X R U I N A S
(Songs From The Ruins)
A new work composed during 2018/19.
Soprano Solo, Plain Chants, SATB
Flute Obbligato, Oboe & Cor. Obbligato,
Violin, Violoncello & Bass
Synthesizer + prescribed Samples
Drums & Percussion,
PRAELUDIUM: Solo flute. The Song-thrush in the church bell tower.
PRIMUS: HOSANNA IN EXCELSIS - Arrival in Dieppe.
SEKUNDUS: ET IN TERRA PAX HOMINIBUS - Back on dry land at last!
TRIBUS: DE PROFUNDIS - The Dissolution has begun. Fires around the foundations.
QUARTEM - SALVE REGINA - A cacophony of street musicians, townfolk baying for the walls to tumble.
QUINTUS: DICIT DOMINUS - The miracle at Cana invoked, water into wine. A boy is healed!
SEXTUS: AGNUS DEI - Saving the Priory Bell.
SEPTEM: CHRISTUS FACTUS EST, RESURREXIT - Prayers of thanks and flight from the Plague.
OCTEM: JUBILATE DEO - The walk to Chichester - The 3 riders approach.
NOVEM: KYRIE - Giving thanks for safe return to France.
Portinari and the Black Monk
Brother Andreas is unaware of the extent of the widespread Dissolution taking hold in England in the 1530's. Andreas, a Benedictine monk (also known as black monks) arrives in Seaford, Sussex, having journeyed from his Monastery in the Black Forest, Europe. As a child, he was looked after by the French Cluniac order in Sussex and now he is anticipating a restful return to England and a welcome break following illness. After a harrowing sail across the English Channel on Good Friday, 25th March 1538, he finds out that the Lewes Priory is being razed to the ground by Giovanni Portinari and his team of Sappers.
Andreas had once rescued a Song Thrush that was trapped in the Grand Chapel, by mimmicking its song on flute. Now, in 1538, the Italian Sappers are systematically destroying the beautiful place where he grew up.
He recalls the plight of the Song Thrush, the bird, totally confused panicking and helpless. Andreas retreats into his musical Horarium music for solace.
This story is his report to the brethren and sisters in his The Black Forest Monastery upon return.