Mary already

In tempore pestilencie - counterfactual for a given occasion
Fri 15.05.20


Mary already - In tempore pestilenciae

“Maria zart” is a movement by the otherwise unknown Pfabinschwantz, which we had planned to perform at the Barfüsserkirche on the occasion of the opening concert of the new ReRenaissance series – a meeting of musicians and listeners that seems unthinkably far away at this point. When we play this piece, we like to give a tongue-in-cheek account of the notion at the time that anyone who played or heard it was immune from the “French disease” (and received 40 days worth of purgatory indulgences to boot). Although none of us is superstitious enough to assume that a song could mysteriously save us from the recent pandemic, we think there is a shred of truth in the notion that music can invigorate the mental state and strengthen it against the unseen enemy.

“Maria zart”, in this setting by the otherwise unknown Pfabinschwantz, was in the program for the opening concert of the ReRenaissance series in Basel – a meeting of musicians and listeners which in this moment seems unthinkably far away. When we perform this piece we are happy to be able to tell our audience, with a wink, that anyone who plays or hears it will be immune to the “French illness”, and also receive an indulgence of 40 days from purgatory; such was the belief at the time it was written. Although none of us now is superstitious enough to think that listening to a song can mysteriously save us from the pandemic, there is a glimmer of truth in the idea that music can elevate the mind and strengthen it against the invisible enemy.

Jacob Lawrence – Tenor

Baptiste Romain – Clein violin

Tabea Schwartz – Great violin

Elizabeth Rumsey – Grand Violin

Marc Lewon – lute

Direction: grassroots

Video audio editing: Leonardo Bortolotto


Mary already, you wear the crown of angels as a prince. You step up and give us rest. The sinner thirsts for it, so that in distress he may follow his commandment and thus be delivered from the burden. So we ask you, now speak for us and report the request: Lord, protect us all from the great death. Your’ divine power may acquire the Confederation in adversity. (Marco Leoni – Note also the coronas/fermatas in the facsimile from his hand).

IN TIME OF PESTILENCE Beautiful Maria, You wear, like a prince, the crown granted you by the angels. Come near to us and give us Peace. May the sinner in his distress thirst to turn towards His guidance, and so be delivered from tribulation. Thus, we implore you, intercede for us now and present our plea: Lord, protect us all from the Great Death. May the Swiss Confederation in this time of affliction be granted your divine strength. (Marco Leoni)


Mary already

The first three concerts in 2020 had to be postponed, so this counterfactual by Maria Zart was created, song lyrics with reference to the Corona.



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