Commissioned by Christine Beason as part of the celebration of Quincy University's 150th anniversary, Ars Antiqua draws its inspiration from the medieval religious iconography found in the college chapel and other buildings on campus. The term Ã¬Ars Antiqua" (ancient art) refers specifically to the period in music history prior to the fourteenth century (the Ã¬Ars Nova") that saw the beginnings of polyphony in the form of organum - Gregorian chant melodies harmonized in fifths and fourths. The solemn chorale opening of Ars Antiqua attempts to suggest these harmonized chant melodies, using however, expanded modal harmony. In contrast, a faster, dance-like middle section Estampie, suggests the secular dances of the period associated with minstrels such as the Troubadours. After building to a frenzied Danse Macabre, the closing section returns to the spirit of the opening.
The recorded segments are by the Butler University Symphonic Band, Dr. Robert Grechesky, Conductor.