The Ensemble Musica Historica was founded in Budapest in 1988 by Rumen István Csörsz. The group has developed its interpretation through the study of classical and early music, as well as traditional music from Hungary and Eastern-Europe.
The group bases its repertoire on a significant amount of research focused on the connection between the Hungarian and Middle-European (Polish, Slovak, Bohemian, Moravian, Romanian and Croatian) music of the 15–19th c., while individual members have researched and published on: the Medieval and Renaissance sung poetry (from the court poetry to Balassi and his contemporaries); the Hungarian popular poetry of the 17–19th c; and the classical Turkish music.
We believe nevertheless, that no scientific research can substitute for artistic invention. Early music – beside the knowledge of the contemporary literature now availeable – remains an open, ever experimenting genre. Musica Historica has no intention of following a ”lapidary style”. The works of more than hundred years of age can seem distant, but in many cases (beside the stage productions on childrens’ programs, renaissance dancing parties or open air-music) they can recover their vitality and reach their audience when performed using interesting and unique approaches. The music of the old times can be compared to an ivy-grown but still habitable old house, which after renovation, could be lived in happily for the next few centuries.
The repertoire of the ensemble is mainly drawn from Hungarian and Middle-European musics from the 11–19th c. They also play works of Western-European medieval, renaissance and baroque composers, as well as turkish court music (16–18th c.). Programs include secular, sacred, vocal and instrumental music and is often completed with a demonstration of early instruments.
Musica Historica is one of the most widely performed Hungarian early music ensembles. They have had more than 1100 performances throughout the country – in concert halls, castles, museums, churches, schools, Renaissance feasts –, as well as together with other formations of the early music scene (Tamás Kobzos Kiss). Almost every year since their inception they have organized a series of promenade concerts at the Hungarian National Museum. The group tours frequently to places such as: Transylvania (Romania), Slovakia, Austria, Italy (Musicastello – with the Camerata Hungarica; Ferrara Buskers Festival; Musica Cortese Festival), Poland, Turkey, Germany (Kaltenberger Ritterturnier), and Czech Republic. They have also recorded for MTV (Hungarian Television), Duna TV, Hungarian Radio, the ORF and TV5 France. The ensemble has published three audiotapes and five CD jand has cooperated on several audio-anthologies.
The members of the group and their friends – dancers, literary researchers, organizers – founded the Musica Historica Cultural Association in 1997. Their aim was to organize early music programs, professional meetings, masterclasses, dance houses, and to develop the connections between historical dancers and musicians at home and abroad.