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Stephanie Haas: voice, percussion
Christoph Haas:
bowed psalterium, long necked lute (tambura), tenor fiddle (rubeba), dulcimer, frame drums (deff, doira, tar, bendir, tamburello), bells (cymbala, tintinnabula), gongs, percussion


Ensemble Cosmedin invites the audience to discover anew the meditative beauty and the spirituality of early music. The ensemble derives its main inspiration from mediaeval sacred music of the Middle Ages, while their delight in improvisation and experiment creates a bridge to contemporary music.

"Their performances succeed in blending contrasting mentalities and styles. The minimalism of their means is the point of encounter between the Middle Ages and the present."     Markus Dippold


Ensemble Cosmedin is considered to be one of the most prominent ensembles for medieval and contemporary sacred music. Concerts in the cathedrals of Chartres and Vézelay, Cologne, Speyer, Bamberg, Limburg, Frankfurt, Naumburg, Chur, Mainz and Trier, in the Palatine Chapel Aachen, in Müstair, Ascona, Lugano, St. Gallen, Amsterdam, Straßburg, Ulm Minster, Milan, Paris, Berlin. Invitations to festivals (Voix et Route Romane, Festival Europäische Kirchenmusik, Hildegard-Herbst Bingen, Nibelungen-Festspiele Worms, Kultursommer Rheinland-Pfalz), CDs, TV- und Radio-Features.


"Ensemble Cosmedin demonstrates with feeling and sensitivity how mediaeval music can be brought to life. Their subtle interpretations of pre-Gregorian chorales, works by Hrabanus Maurus, Abaelard, Hildegard von Bingen and Leonin are based on a detailed study of the manuscript sources."   Werner M. Grimmel


Their concerts unfold in a harmonic tension between the vocal lines of the chorale and instrumental compositions.


"Since 1999, the artist duo Stephanie and Christoph Haas have been working as Ensemble Cosmedin on innovative approaches to early music. Their repertoire, documented on several CDs, spans from pre-Gregorian chant via Hrabanus Maurus, Hildegard of Bingen and Leonin to present-day music (Milko Kelemen, Sofia Gubaidulina, Aribert Reimann and others). The moving solo voice acts in counterpoint to the instruments, whose origins lie in the Middle East."  Stephan Rommelspacher (Cathedral music director, Trier)

A great voice
„Your concert at the cathedral was really a great moment. I've heard a lot of interpretations of Hildegard's music since 1994, year of our very first concert, and I confirm that Stephanie is a great voice!“ Lorant Hecquet (promoter of the Cathedral concerts) Vézelay, September 2013
A dialogue across the boundaries of time
"Stephanie and Christoph Haas carry out a dialogue across the boundaries of time - between the sacred music of the middle ages and contemporary compositions. Magnificent, fresh and dynamic interpretations of some of the most challenging chants of the middle ages by Hildegard von Bingen, Pierre Abaelard, Leoninus and others - confronted and merged with the compositions of Milko Kelemen, Sophia Gubaidulina, Aribert Reimann, Joanne Metcalf and Christoph Haas. The Ensemble Cosmedin has achieved the musical transformation of a supracultural vision: that of man rooted in the earth, but reaching up to heaven. The 12th century, in which the songs of Hildegard von Bingen were written, was a time of cross-frontier communication, of intellectual expansion, of curiosity and willingness to enter into dialogue with what was different and "foreign". It was in this century that Petrus Venerabilis, the Abbot of Cluny, ordered a Latin translation of the Koran, to enable himself and others to hold well-founded discussions with the Moslems. It was also in this century that Pierre Abaelard wrote his dialogue between a Moslem, a Jew and a Christian. Hildegard von Bingen held discussions with Jewish theologians in her convent. The instrumental compositions of Christoph Haas focus on the origins of European sacred music, which was strongly influenced and enriched by oriental traditions." Dr. Barbara Stühlmeyer (musicologist)

"Stephanie and Christoph Haas founded the "Ensemble Cosmedin" in 1999. A musical couple of particularly high quality. All that counts for them is the direct presence of the music. Several CDs bear witness to this. They are treasures that will last. Their musical collaboration began with Hildegard of Bingen. Very daring songs, often with extreme demands on the singer's range. We are moved by their intensity as much as by their fervent religious eroticism. Stephanie Haas has assimilated into her singing the fervour and visionary raptures of the famous Benedictine nun, her lyricism, her musical prayer of praise. This singing contains depth and transcendence, it opens itself fully to the meaningfulness and beauty of Hildegard's chants. She sings these songs with strength and clarity, forming perfectly each individual note. Reaping the fruit of her intensive study of the source material and anchored in Hildegard's spirituality. Everything she sings reveals a moving commitment - and has been thought out and deliberately formed. Her phrasing is richly decorative. But this linear splendour never becomes uncontrolled, because it is performed with precision. The "illuminatio", the enlightenment of her singing comes from within, from a lively intellect. Today Stephanie Haas is one of the greatest and probably most qualified Hildegard singers of our time. Stephanie Haas is also an exceptionally gifted interpreter of other medieval composers. For Pierre Abaelard, Leonin, Hrabanus Maurus. Her rendering of them follows a consistent, liturgically orientated direction. An example of this is her feeling for the light symbolism in the Whitsuntide hymn "Veni, Creator Spiritus". Here too, her singing radiates authenticity. So she is specialized in ancient music? Not at all. Stephanie Haas also has a heart and a voice for contemporary music. For Milko Kelemen, Aribert Reimann, Sofia Gubaidulina and many others, whose work she sings with the greatest intensity and sovereign technique. It is this immense range, covering centuries and styles, that makes her so absolutely authentic as a singer. Christoph Haas is the cosmopolitan, worldly-wise master of rhythm. He is familiar with rhythm cultures from Latin America to India. He is acquainted with the harmonics of antiquity and with the "ordo" or number, in which cosmic dimensions are mirrored. He knows the relationships between architecture and music, between space and sound. And he is a composer and percussionist who can merge the complexities of rhythm and sound to form a harmonic entity. Highly intelligent, and yet always rooted in the magic and ritual source of rhythm and sound. The long-necked lute, psalter, bells and frame drums are his favourite instruments. The subtle accompaniments that Christoph Haas composes for his wife's singing open up spaces. They are more than merely distinctive: they establish the unity of past and present, reflectively, encouragingly. They open up - and this is true of the solo pieces too - a window to transcendence. They are full of joy, of clarity and inner dancing. Music, which does not make a statement, but which is all-meaningful. Heaven and earth. Man and mystery. Abundance and stillness."   
Hansdieter Werner

Sacred Music of the Middle Ages
Love, fervour and passion dwell within the ruby in crystal form. Its lucent red is a symbol of our innermost heart and was the inspiration that led to this selection of meditative spiritual music of the Middle Ages and the present day. Pre-Gregorian chorales from the Lateran Basilica, poetry of Hrabanus Maurus (780 - 856) in ancient verse form, compositions by Abelard (1079 - 1142), Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179) and Leonin (Notre-Dame Paris about 1180) encounter the music of Christoph Haas, with its characteristic accentuated rhythms and airy lightness.  Ensemble Cosmedin present this mediaeval vocal music with great sensitivity and glowing intensity, inviting us to rediscover the beauty and spirituality of music from ancient times. The inherent dynamism and drama of the sung words is intensified by their strict adherence to the text, based on the study of early handwritten sources.
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