Video: NO EXIT - Art performance of Shahram Entekhabi and VOX NOSTRA for the opening of the Operadays Rotterdam 2013 click here.VOX NOSTRA is a vocal ensemble based in Berlin, Germany, founded in 1999 by Burkard Wehner. Specialized in the performance of medieval music the main focus of the group is the interpretation of the earliest surviving compositions from the cultural centers of Europe. Sung from manuscripts originating in monasteries, cathedrals, and courts, this music is an acoustical insight into the archaic sound world of the Middle Ages. The members of VOX NOSTRA have pursued extensive scholarship in the fields of musicology, medieval paleography, and theology. The music of VOX NOSTRA combines expressive musicality and academic curiosity. The repertoire includes Gregorian and pre-Gregorian chant and the specific liturgical music of the different medieval orders like Cistercians, Dominicans, Carthusians and Franciscans dating from the 10th to the 14th century. Furthermore VOX NOSTRA sings early 12th century polyphonic compositions from St. Martial (Aquitaine), compositions from the famous cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris (starting from 1200), Italian laude of the 13th century, and the richly polyphonic compositions of the Renaissance. In addition to Early Music, Vox Nostra interprets contemporary music, devised and composed to experimenting with vocal color and microintervals. In both old and contemporary music performances VOX NOSTRA regularly collaborates with lighting designers, and other visual artists, in order to enrich the visual and theatrical aspects of the performance.
A special feature of the ensemble is the practice of singing scores researched from original manuscripts. The musical interpretation made by VOX NOSTRA has specific consequences on the old forms of notation, such as neumatic notation of the chorale, the modal notation of the Notre-Dame organa, and mensural notation. Which each employ a great number of symbols indicating that melodic ornamentation that should be sung. In order to give these features the emphasis they deserve, ensemble VOX NOSTRA favors a slow, flowing style of performance in an appropriately restrained tempo. The vocal sound which results is rich in overtones, and fills the entire space; it allows the archaic and pure intervals of this music to be fully appreciated, and ensures that the complex weaving of the individual voices is clearly audible. In addition to the original manuscripts, research and this interpretation of the music from the 12th-16th centuries also provides new information the regarding tempo, ornamentation and the practice of solo performance of the chants.
The music of VOX NOSTRA is best suited to a large space with a good acoustic and hence no amplification is required. Churches are of course suitable for the liturgically structured programs, yet more modern settings like galleries, or industrial sites also provide a provocative backdrop for the music. The unique acoustical situation of each concert location influences concert presentations, as well as the choreography of singers, hence time in each venue to work how the singers can move between various points in the room to integrate the acoustic properties of each site into the score.