Mass Felix Namque (anon, 1510)
6-channel digital audio, gypsum plaster, drywall, chipboard, metal wall studs, steel, stripped digital speaker, castor wheels, custom benches.
Score: Mass Felix Namque (Kyrie)
Performance: Jack McCombe
Felix Namque (Latin for "Be Happy") is a religious mass composed for 6 vocalists in the year 1510 – the same year in which the first influenza pandemic was ever documented. The composer of this historic work remains anonymous to this day.
The polyphonic score, now held by Edinburgh University Library, was not known to exist until its recent discovery in the mid-20th century. Following its finding, the piece is now assumed to have been lost or hidden during the 16th century Scottish Reformation.
Presented within a 6-channel audio/architectural installation, the score of Mass Felix Namque has been reproduced and performed in my own whistling; a medium which is closely associated with historic folklore and the foreshadowing of danger and disaster.
The original score was transposed and adapted for whistling with close consultation and whistling lessons from world champion whistler Yuki Takeda.