To Light the Bleak Midwinter: VIII Aurore – Helsinki Renaissance Music Festival

Due to the extraordinary circumstances in which we all find ourselves, this year’s Aurore – Helsinki Renaissance Music Festival will take the form of three concerts streamed online. The coronavirus pandemic presented us with difficult choices. One option was to postpone the festival until January 2022, but having conducted an opinion poll among our audience we decided to keep the Aurore tradition unbroken. Thus, though slightly modified, the eighth Aurore festival will take place on schedule.

Friday’s concert, The Nymphs’ Lament, takes us back to 1497 and the death of Jean de Ockeghem, conductor at the French court and one of the most significant composers of his day. On the occasion of Ockeghem’s death, Josquin Desprez, who himself had already achieved great renown at the time, composed the work Nymphes des bois (Nymphs of the Forest), perhaps one of the most celebrated musical works of the Renaissance. In this work, Josquin entreats his friends and fellow composers Brumel, Pierre de la Rue and Compère to join the nymphs in mourning for the death of the great master. But who were these friends and admirers of Ockeghem, and what was their music like?

Saturday’s concert, The Learned Women of the Renaissance – Caged Birds and Other Creatures, opens our ears to the long-silenced music of female composers, who as upstanding ladies of the court often did not even dare sign their own compositions. This concert features the Finnish premiere performances of madrigals by Eleonora d’Este and works by Hildegard of Bingen and the melancholic Archduchess Margaret of Austria, which here enter into dialogue with bird-themed works by other contemporary masters Clément Janequin, Jean Mouton and Pierre de la Rue.

Sunday’s ‘satellite concert’ Concerto delle Donne represents a fusion of the Renaissance, the early Baroque and contemporary poetry. The concert brings to life the camerata, an ensemble that briefly operated in Florence during the 1570s and 1580s. The camerata sought to reintroduce the ideals of Antiquity and classical rhetoric to music and drama. This concert presents music from northern Italy from the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, here interpolated with the poetry of Mitra Virtaperko, recited by the poet herself. The concert will be followed by an open discussion panel, in the spirit of the camerata, to be held via Zoom.

All three concerts will be broadcast via the Aurore YouTube channel. Payment for these streamed concerts is voluntary and can only be taken after the concert has ended.

A warm welcome to the most important midwinter music festival!

St. Paul’s Church


St. Paul’s Church (Paavalinkirkko), Sammatintie 5, Helsinki, is easily accessible by trams number 6 and 8 as well as a number of busses. See Reittiopas for connections. Please note that Aurore 2021 is held exclusively online due to pandemic restrictions.


Tickets are available in Aurore’s online box office.

  • voluntary streaming ticket €5

Aurore – Helsinki Renaissance Music Fair is organised by
Renessanssimusiikkia Paavalinkirkossa ry.

VAT ID FI25853317
Co. Mats Lillhannus
Pääskyvuorenkatu 41 • 20540 Turku • Finland