Neuenburg in Freyburg ©

Hyperborea and the Festival Montalbâne

“Hyperborea – Music from the North” summons medieval music-lovers and performers in Freyburg this summer to take part in the 22. Medieval Musical Festival of Montalbâne.

Ensemble Triskele in Freyburg 2012
Ensemble Triskele in Freyburg 2012

Central for choosing the theme of this year’s festival are the two prominent performers, the Swede Miriam Andersén and the Dane Poul Høxbro. Both are internationally known for their research into Medieval and Viking instruments trying to reconstruct the lost music of the Vikings. In the early years in the history of the festival, a wide variety in the program was sought after. Nowadays, however, the organisers of Festival Montalbâne have chosen to focus on specific regions. This year, the North; in 2014, Iberia and El-Andalus will be on the programme.

Whatever the focus, the organisers try to organise a programme with music, written or performed exclusively for the event. Thus the music is not a plain revival of medieval music but has a decidedly “modern take” in its sound. At the same time it is dedicated to exploring the more delicate and refined performances of medieval music, seldom heard at the more common medieval festivals.

PONS VIVI opens the festival with the “King from Thule” in the church of St. Mary in the city of Freyburg with Ian Harrison on the bagpipe, Poul Høxbro on the flute, and Susanne Ansorg of the violin. Another highlight will be a performance of the Nordic Epos Kalevala with the harpist, Andrew Lawrence-King. Other performers come from Estonia and Lithuania.

At the end of the festival, Miriam Andersén will sing a number of Nordic ballads and Rune-songs.

Mentioned should also be the legendary midnight concert in the chapel at Neuenburg, where Norbert Rodenkirchen on his flute will try to catch not only the rats but also the roots of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

As usual, the surroundings for the festival is especially evocative: Freyburg with towering Neuenburg, one of the largest early medieval German castles, which is not in ruins. And which recently was elected the most beautiful castle in Sachsen-Anhalt.


Read more about Freyburg and Neuenburg in Medieval Histories 2012  5:1-2
Listen to the haunting sound of Norbert Rodenkirchen playing the Pied Piper of Hamelin – Hameln 1284 – auf den Spuren des Rattenfängers