Although the sale of Old South Church’s 1640 Bay Psalm Book in November made international headlines, one piece of the story was missing. The words of this book were intended to be sung. Sine Nomine has embarked on a project to bring these sounds back to life.
Drawing on materials held at Harvard University, Artistic Director Joseph Fort has reunited the texts of the Bay Psalm Book with the melodies that would have been sung by the Puritans themselves. The choir will perform these in the various ways they were sung in their 17th-century environment. The group will perform one piece in the Massachusetts dialect of the Algonquian language, demonstrating a Puritan practice that is thought never to have been attempted in recent time.
In addition, Sine Nomine will present some music from a book of lighter, secular songs, which traveled across the Atlantic with the early settlers, as well as pieces from the English Renaissance — a musical culture they left behind. To cap this, the group will give the world premiere of Joel Rust’s “Meditation,” a setting of a text by 17th-century Massachusetts pastor-poet Edward Taylor.
The free performance is part of the Town of Dartmouth’s 350th anniversary celebrations.
Sine Nomine is an auditioned chamber ensemble based in Fall River, drawing its members, both professional singers and experienced amateurs, from across the Massachusetts SouthCoast and greater Providence area. For more information, visit www.sinenomine.org.