Exposition Teseum, Tongeren © Stefan Matthijssens
The Alamire Foundation delivered almost all the content material for the practical development of the musical section (the ‘Music Box) of the Teseum, which opened in 2016 as a museum dedicated to the Tongeren church treasures. Five manuscripts to be exhibited were selected from the relatively large collection of manuscripts at the Basilica of Our Lady in Tongeren. All five of these were entirely digitised by the Alamire Digital Lab. Furthermore, advice was given on a rotation system for the folios to be presented for viewing over a five-year period.
Tongeren Basilica has a large, interrelated collection of important music manuscripts, from tenth-century gospels to printed sixteenth-century missals. The five manuscripts selected give a good idea of the late mediaeval liturgy at Tongeren Basilica. The most important book for the liturgy of the hours was the antiphonary, of which two copies were made, one for each side of the choir. A smaller book of suitable hymns was carried in processions, called a processional. During mass, the singers mainly needed a gradual, which contained both the alternating Gregorian chants and those that were always sung. Last but not least, the Liber Missarum was used for polyphony sung during the mass.
All the texts for the audio guide accompanying the musical section of the museum were delivered, and the Alamire Foundation helped to design the artistic concept of an installation to evoke the performance of both Gregorian and polyphonic music in Tongeren. Both audio and video recordings were made for this purpose, with the ensembles Psallentes and Cappella Pratensis.
The supplementary digitisation of sources in Tongeren was done in the spring of 2015; music recordings by Psallentes and Cappella Pratensis and video recordings for the Music Box animation were made in the summer of the same year. The definitive choice of manuscripts for the display was made in the spring of 2016, at which point the texts for the audio guide were finalised. The Teseum opened in June 2016.