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    "Chorus Musarum"


In this choir, the Muses are celebrated as guardians of the arts.

Their dance, their music and the euphony of her polyphonic singing is described. The opening quote of the Muses comes from the speech of the muse Thalia to the wedding couple:


"Nunc nunc beantur artes

Per vos vigil decensque intellectus mentis ima complet

per vos fert probata lingua glorias per aeuum

Vos sacrate disciplinaa omnes, ac nos musas"

"De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii", Martianus Capella (5th century AD)


“Now, it is now, that the arts are honored

alert spirit be filled with deep meaning

eloquent word be immortalized in poetry

You sanctify all art! and with it us, the muses.”

loosely based on the old German translation "The Wedding of Philologia with Mercury" by Notker Teutonicus (950-1022)


Capella's work contains the canon of liberal arts and is one of the few writings in which the ancient goddesses themselves have their say. The Latin text was edited by Lidia Buonfino, set to music by Anja Herrmann and notated by Jule Bauer.


The performance begins and ends with this piece, which, both romantic and epic, aims to represent the harmony and grace of the muses as divine unity.


    "La Musica"

Music, queen of the arts, is presented with the aria from Monteverdi's "Orfeo". 

The pure singing is performed a cappella, in its most powerful fragility...


"Io la musica son, ch'a i dolci accenti, so far tranquillo ogni turbato core

ed hor di nobil ira e hor d'amore posso infiammar le più gelate menti"
Claudio Zuan Antonio Monteverdi (1567 - 1643)


"I am music, who gives peace to troubled hearts with sweet sounds

and with anger or with love I can kindle the most frozen spirits”


     "Turning Dance"


The spinning dance is an art form that uses the historical techniques of Sufi dance.

The turning movement is counter-clockwise, to the left, but driving with the right foot, therefore to the hearts and inside. The rotation follows the movement of the planets.

The spinning dance symbolizes the unity with the cosmos and the divine inner being.


"In dance the body is entirely itself and only its own. 


The music that grabs him sets him free and gives him back to himself. He is cancelled...

So much himself. At the same time no longer himself. The earth that the foot touches is no longer bare ground; her primeval, eternal divinity breathes deeply and sanctifies the steps.

(Here) ...where the word and thinking have died out, ...the being of the world opens up.

    "The muses and the divine origin of singing and saying" Walter F. Otto (1874)-19

music: Anja Herrmann & Alexander Pilz



A special composition can be found in the central "accusation" of the ancient goddesses. It consists of a collection of quotes and excerpts in which art and culture are degraded and questioned in a wide variety of ways.

Fragments from 4 centuries can be found here: from the accusation of the Muses as liars who distract the upright people from the right path, the demonization of the libertarian artists and seductive power of the performances by the Puritans, the condemnation of the decorative, up to the outlawing of the "degenerate" art as a dangerous "confusion of the people".

William Prynnes (1600-1669): "Histriomastix: The Player's Scourge, or Actor's Tragedy"

Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782): "Il Parnaso accusato e difeso"

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900): "Against the art of works of art"

Adolf Hitler (1937): Speech at the opening of the "Great German Art Exhibition" Haus der Kunst, Munich



"καὶ ἡ ποίησις ὑπὸ τῆς τῶν μαινομένων

ἡ τοῦ σωφρονοῦντος ἠφανίσθη.

ἀτελὴς αὐτός τε - ἀπὸ

Μουσῶν κατοκωχή τε καὶ μανία"

"Phaidros" 245 Plato (428-348 BC)


"And the poetry of the reasonable vanishes into insignificance

versus that of the madman

You will never be initiated - without the muse's obsession and madness"


"But if you are seized by our divine power,

such is the madness that comes from the muses

the elevation and enlightenment of the spirit.”

    „Die Musen und der göttliche Ursprung des Singens und Sagens“  _cc781905-5cde -3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_Walter F. Otto (1874-1985)


In the background the Muses recite Sappho's (610-580 BC) "Song on the Shard" by the ancient poetess, who was already celebrated as the "tenth muse" by Cicero during his lifetime. In "Manía" the composer Anja Herrmann used the original meter of the Sapphic verse and brought it into line with modern Western rhythm.

    "Chorus Musarum" II

Ecce quidam dulcis sonus multifidis suavitatibus suscitatur quem concinebat chorus musarum

tinnitibus docte modulationis nam nec tibiarum mela deerant nec ex fidibus sonitus

Sed armonia plenitudo sit collata in blandum cantum et voci musarum spatio complementi ac tunc omnis ille chorus superat.

"De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii", Martianus Capella (5th century AD)

Behold, there arose a sweet sound from manifold euphonies. The chorus of the Muses joins in, with masterly rhythmic ringing: the tune of the flutes was not lacking, nor the sound of playing the strings, nor the harmonic sonority of the organs.

But everything merged into a gentle song and the voices of the muses filled the room. Then their common choir overcame everything and recited in gentle beats with melodious voices and musical harmony.

loosely based on the old German translation "The Wedding of Philologia with Mercury" by Notker Teutonicus (950-1022)

The Latin text was edited by Lidia Buonfino, set to music by Anja Herrmann and notated by Jule Bauer.



ὕμμεϲ πεδὰ Μοίϲαν ἰ]οκ[ό]λ ̣ πων κάλα δῶρα, παῖδεϲ, ̣ 

ϲπουδάϲδετε καὶ τὰ]ν φιλάοιδον λιγύραν χελύνναν· ̣ 

Strive for the beautiful gifts of the violet-breasted muse, girl,

dance to the song-loving, high-pitched lyre!

Sappho, “Tithonos” fragment, ~ 600 BC

Ὅσον ζῇς φαίνου1

μηδὲν ὅλως σὺ λυποῦ

πρὸς ὀλίγον ἐστὶ τὸ ζῆν

τὸ τέλος ὁ χρόνος ἀπαιτεῖ.

I am an image in stone; Seikilos placed me here, in eternal memory, as a timeless symbol.

As long as you live, show yourself! Don't grieve too much.

A short time remains to live. Time brings the end by itself.

Seikilos, son of Euterpe

“Seikilos Epitaph”, ~ 200 BC, the oldest complete notated piece of music in the world

"Terpsichore" - dance in silence



“Ye gods, what are the crimes, the allegations? 

The seductive muses corrupt mortals: constantly awakening unworthy tendencies in inexperienced hearts.

To drive out the mad, tyrannical passions from every heart is the one great aim of virtue. And despite her, the great aim of the Vow of the Muses is to awaken her in every breast.

Amidst the storms of fierce affection, they want to move people's souls with illustrious themes: 

There the proud feeds his pride; there a lover stokes the impure flame; and there the heart subjected to anger kindles, burns, seeks revenge.

Shouldn't the muses be silenced? 


No, the divine heliconias are not enemies of virtue, ye gods;

It is true, the muses strive to awaken human passions; but whoever wants to erase them in man would make man a block or a stone. 

The world is not corrected, it is destroyed in this way. The true art consists in suppressing the harmful tendencies and awakening beneficial tendencies: an art bestowed only on my followers. Only they know how to remove the deceptive mask from a person's face and expose him to the eyes of others as he is when surrounded by hate, love, greed or anger.

So ye gods what are the allegations? 


The muses lie through their art!

They seduce souls into a deceptive pleasure. They fill the writings with follies, fables, dreams and chimeras.

Who will want to follow in the footsteps of truth? Cheating will be a virtue!

But whoever fulfills what he has promised others is wrongly called a liar. 

On the arduous yoke of virtue, souls are always led along flowery paths, that is the worry and thought of the muses. In order to please, one must arouse wonder, and not every event is suitable for this. Art has the gift of making the unexpected sublime and embellishing it with virtues that it does not have. In this way she becomes the decision-maker of every heart;

And by feigning a lie, art teaches truth.”

“il Parnaso accusato e difeso”(1738) - Pietro Trapassi (Metastasio)  (1698-1782)


my muse
About sudden joy

And woe trembling,


about bliss,

desperate car,


About deep sorrow

And heavy renunciation...


carried me

your strong hand

In consecrated days.

Ada Christen (1839-1901)


Banks of Helicon

Declare, ye banks of Helicon, Parnassus hill, and dales ilk one,

And fountain Cabellein,

Gif only of your Muses all Or nymphis may be peregal

Unto my lady sheen.

Or if the ladies that did laveTheir bodies by thy brim,

So seemly were or yet so suave,

So beautiful or trim.

Contemple, example Tak by her proper port,

Gif only so bonnie

Among you did resort.


No, no: forsooth was never noneThat with this perfect paragon,

In beauty might compare.

The Muses wad have given the grie To her, as to the A-per-se

And peerless pearl preclair.

Thinking with admiration Her person so perfyte,

Nature in her creation

To form her took delight.    

Confess then, express then, your nymphs and all their race, 

For beauty, of duty, 

should yield and give her place.

(Maitland Manuscript, Scozia ~1600)

Do through the world's unmysticity. Herabe from kuninges kunne screams. There they sing and there they sing

From syndic sculden ez quam. Daz daz side game urlôb nam. Unde iuncvrouwen jump

Do a lot of ez to the excited hant. A poor diet underwant it.

Of that the arts did not go abe 

That's how the gentlemen wear through art.

The same help beer favor. And they call it varender.

Anyone who really wants to take a stand in this regard. The sol yben seytenspil. Ande nywe sing songs

And scriken tzu the hochetzit. So vûr der arken kuninc dauit. The brut sol same jump.

So kuninc herod's daughter spranc. Thus art nympt enen rebound.

Henof sam they come down Dunct but uz daz eun scemelich live.

And we can't give it that way. The art have taken on.

When, as a result of the activity of the world, poetry and song had descended from the lineage of kings - it was due to sinful fault that the playing of strings and the dancing of girls disappeared - then it fell into the hands of the humble born. The common people took care of him so that art would not disappear. Then the gentlemen turned their helpful patronage to this for the sake of art and supported it with money and property.

Anyone who wants to take away their right to it should practice playing the strings and sing new songs and dance at the festival like King David before the Ark of the Covenant. The bride herself shall dance as King Herod's daughter danced; then art makes its way back up, just as it came down. But if that seems dishonorable behavior to you and you cannot do it at all, then you should support those who have taken the art into their care.


Master Alexander "A miracle in the world vert". "Jena Song Manuscript",13th century 


Se l'aura spira tutta vezzosa,

la fresca rosa ridente sta,

la siepe ombrosa di near smeraldi

d'estivi caldi timor non ha.

A balli, a balli, dear venite,

muse gradite, fior di beltà.


Or, che sì chiaro il vago fonte

dall'alto monte al mar sen'va.

Suoi dolci versi spiega l'augello,

e l'arboscello fiorito sta.

Un volto bello al l'ombra accanto

sol si dia vanto d'haver pieta.

Al canto, al canto, muse ridenti,

Scacciate i venti di crudeltà.

“Se l'aura spira” (Girolamo Frescobaldi 1583-1643)

In olden times there was a castle so high and majestic

Far it shone over the land to the blue sea,

A noble pair of singers once moved to this castle,

One with golden locks, the other with gray hair;


The old man said to the boy: "Now be ready, my son!

Think of our deepest songs, tune to the fullest tone,

Gather all your strength, the pleasure and also the pain!

It is up to us today to touch the king's stony heart."


The two singers are already standing in the high columned hall

And on the throne sit the king and his husband;

Then the old man strummed the strings, he strummed them wonderfully,

That richer, ever richer the sound swelled to the ear,


The crowd of courtiers in the circle forgets all mockery,

The king's defiant warriors, they bow before God,

The queen melted in melancholy and in lust,

She throws down the rose from her breast to the singers.


"You have tempted my people, are you now tempting my wife?"

The king screams it furiously, he trembles all over,

He throws his sword, which pierces the young man's chest with a flash,

Outside, instead of the golden songs, a stream of blood springs up.


And as if the storm has blown away all the listeners' swarm,

The young man rattled in his master's arms,

He wraps his cloak around him and puts him on his horse,

He ties him upright and leaves the castle with him.


But in front of the high gate, there the old singer stops,

There he seizes his harp, they praise all harps,

On a marble pillar, he smashed it,

Then he calls out so that there is an eerie shriek through the palace and gardens:


"Woe to you, wicked murderer! you curse of singing!

All your striving for wreaths of bloody glory is in vain,

Your name is forgotten, immersed in eternal night,

Be breathed into empty air like a last rattle!”


The old man called it, heaven heard it

The walls are down, the halls are broken,

No song or book of heroes announces the king's name;

Lost and forgotten! that is the singer's curse.


"La maledizione del cantorees singer's curse" Ludwig Uhland (1787-1862)

Antiphon Giulia/Jule with harp accompaniment “Glück zu dem Helikon”


1  luck to the helicon,

I hear the sound of the muses

Clio, Euterpe in

Melpomene agrees.


2  I hear sweet singing

Like the siren sound

moves forests and valleys,

Fulfilled the Jovi's hall.


3  Here the Orpheus up

His harp is still in tune

And all the muses number

Sing in the hall of the gods.

“Happiness to the Helicon”
lyrics: Martin Opitz (1597-1639)
music: Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672) from "Schütz catalog raisonné no. 96"


Audite, silete, divina musica,

dulci sona sussurat in aure cantica.

Iam varia voce concentum ducite,

dulcique jubilantes amore psallite.

(Michael Praetorius 1571-1621)


ἴδμεν ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγειν ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα,

ἴδμεν δ'εὖτ' ἐθέλωμεν ἀληθέα γηρύσασθαι.

Hesiod “Theogony” (~ 700 BCE), Music: Johanna Blackstone (2018)

The performing arts are ephemeral, mortal, ephemeral.

While the visual arts find expression in a medium outside of the artist that captures the moment for eternity, the performing arts exist only in the moment when work, performer and audience become one:

Then eternity reveals itself in the moment when the work of art is created, manifested and disappears again.

Ephemeral art is alive and therefore mortal. And that gives her the power to touch us so deeply:

Like us, she is born, grows and dies.

She is able to dissolve stony grief with tears, to lure people out of the wasteland with longing, to break through banality with a thirst for adventure and to awaken passion out of cool reason.

Oh muses!

let me become a tool

take possession of me.

let your tender power flow through me,

May I create eternity in your name, 

even if only for a fleeting moment. 

Lidia Buonfino (2020)


Christine Huebner, 2022

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