Programs

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UNA FESTA EBRAICA

5 novembre 2014

UNA FESTA EBRAICA

Celebrating the Life Cycle – Commissioned by the 2011 Utrecht Early Music Festival

From the traditional Jewish perspective, living a full life and fully experiencing every stage of the life cycle is considered just as important part of religious duties as praying, studying, observing holidays or following the intricate alimentary rules of kashrut.  As in most societies, the Jewish life cycle can be seen as a series of concentric circles: the daily, weekly and monthly rituals that make up everyday life; the liturgical year and its holidays; all encircled by life’s major transition points: birth, coming of age, marriage, death.  And, from time immemorial, song, prayer and dance have been part of celebrating these moments – “to life, l’Chaim!”

Repertoire: Alleluya Odeh Adonai, as it is sung in Rome during the all-night party that takes place before a circumcision, and Adonai con voi, a 16th century Gentile composer’s impressions of the drunken carousings of a group of Hebrew gentleman after just such a celebration…  Doz Mensh Geglikh’n, which compares Man to a different creature at every stage of life, and wedding songs (not always politically correct) from pre-expulsion Spain, 16th century Germany, and the Italian and Sephardic traditions.

7 – 8 Performers: Gloria Moretti, Anna Pia Capurso, Enrico Fink: voice; Avery Gosfield: recorders, pipe and tabor, Marco Ferrari: recorders, double flute, dulcian; 
Francis Biggi: cetra, colascione, lute, viola da mano, Massimiliano Dragoni: percussion, hammer dulcimer (Oleguer Aymami Busque, viola da gamba)

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HOMBRES DE MAIZ

4 novembre 2014

HOMBRES DE MAIZ

Co-production Casa Musicale / Festivoce / K617 / created in 2011 for l’Année du Mexique en France

HOMBRES-DE-MAIZ
Although Hombres de Maiz is a term that Latin American peasants have used to describe themselves since time immemorial, it could just as well be applied to the polenta-eating young men who came to Mexico from Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries.  The sailors, peasants and friars who sailed the seas in search of fortune brought their dances, ostinati and songs with them.  The familiar sounds probably helped to lift their spirits and keep homesickness at bay.  It was the pop music of the era, and they played it on anything they could carry: harps, guitars, recorders, violins, drums, pipe and tabor.  These sprightly tunes and simple harmonic patterns, as well as the European instruments, were quickly adopted by the native population, blending with the local styles and repertoires.  Incredibly, even today, traditional repertoires from Mexico and Italy are often remarkably alike, and many have kept tunes, harmonic structures and names that date back to the Italian Renaissance.  Here, Ensemble Lucidarium combines traditional Italian songs and dances with their 16th and 17th century models – Bergamasca, Ciascona, Mattacin – while Barbara Ceron Olvera, a bright new star on the early music scene, goes back to her roots, performing the powerful and touching music of her native Veracruz in a joyful musical melting-pot that preserves ancient sonorities while remaining surprisingly close to modern sensibility.

8 Performers: Barbara Ceron: voice, Veracruz Harp, Renaissance Harp; Gloria Moretti, Marie Pierre Duceau: voice; Bettina Ruchti: vielle, violin; Avery Gosfield: recorder, pipe and tabor, Marco Ferrari: recorder, clarinet, bagpipe; Francis Biggi: guitar, lute, viola da mano;
Massimiliano Dragoni: hammer dulcimer, percussion

Henry Lebedinsky, Fanfare Magazine:
The sound is clear, close, and honest, and contributes to the illusion of a live concert performance. This album is meticulously researched, well conceived, and expertly presented. The liner notes by Francis Biggi lay out the concept behind the program in just enough detail. It achieves what, in my opinion, too many recordings of Medieval and Renaissance music do not, presenting an engaging and thoughtful concept in an elegant and entertaining way. Lucidarium captures the vibe of a concert on this disc. It is not an aural catalog of ancient and obscure repertoire, but a living, dancing presence. This disc is one of the few that I’ve heard recently that makes me want to jump up and dance—and hear this ensemble live in concert as soon as possible. Kudos.

Arianna Crawford, American Record Guide:
This is a spectacular program: lively and extremely enjoyable. I highly recommend that you pick it up, put it on, and enjoy it.

Buy the CD

 

 

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LA ISTORIA DE PURIM

4 novembre 2014

LA ISTORIA DE PURIM

Music and Poetry of the Jews in Renaissance Italy. Program created with the support of the EAJC

La-Istoria-de-Purim-evidenza

Performed over 100 times from Budapest to Berkeley, La Istoria de Purim is a celebration of the musical and poetic legacy of the Jewish communities of  Renaissance Italy: a vast, entertaining and cohesive repertoire, the exuberant result of a fertile crossover fed by the confrontation between different cultures, made possible by one of the rare moments of peaceful cohabitation and mutual respect between Jews and their neighbors. Among enlightened clerics, there was a real curiosity about Jewish learning and practice, while Jewish musicians, composers, theatrical troupes, directors, costume makers, dancing masters, poets and playwrights abounded throughout the peninsula.  The repertoire of this time can still astonish us with its overwhelming richness: a prayer sung to the melody of La Follia, a rollicking song in Yiddish about a fire in Venice, sung poems in Italian for the celebration of Purim or Pesach, dances designed to celebrate life’s transitions… All this is a musical affirmation of the intensive, uninterrupted exchange between Italian Jews and Christians and the Jewish communities from all over Europe, with their customs, their songs and their dreams, for whom Italy represented a land of refuge and hope.
7 – 8 Performers: Gloria Moretti, Anna Pia Capurso, Enrico Fink: voice; Avery Gosfield, Marco Ferrari: Renaissance winds, 
Francis Biggi: plucked strings, Massimiliano Dragoni: percussion, hammer dulcimer (Oleguer Aymami Busque, viola da gamba)

Diapason (4 diapasons):
…”A joy which involves the agile voice of Gloria Moretti, the declamation of Enrico Fink, touching guardian of the memory of Israel in “En Kamokha,” and, above all, the excellence of an instrumentation, already infiltrated by Baroque presentiment, in the diptych Pass’e mezzo and Saltarello alla bolognesa where the rhythmic intuition of maitre d’oeuvre Francis Biggi triumphs.”

Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace – A Surprising Heritage Revealed.
…There was no need to be a scholar in order to be moved by the singing of Gloria Moretti …  No more than it was necessary to understand Hebrew, Yiddish or Italian to be won over by Enrico Fink’s cheeky humor in his larger-than-life narrations … it was enough to be swept away, by the refinement and conviction of the performers, to a place where magic reigns.

De Stentor – Jewish tradition, Italian style
…here we have specialists at work.  As is the case of their approach to every repertoire, Ensemble Lucidarium has carried out a profound investigation, this time of the Italian Jewish communities of the 16th Century.  …Within Lucidarium, everyone has mastered all of the parts, so that there is a constant stream of mirthful interchange and improvisation.  A swinging saltarello, a frightening rattle, and precise guitar articulation combine for a perfect mix.

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Other programs

3 novembre 2014

Other programs

Lucidarium on Demand – Commissioned Programs
Lucidarium has a long history of creating themed programs for festivals, for example “Una Festa Ebraica” for the Festival Oude Muziek Festival (theme: Roma – Città Eterna), “Ninfale” for the Boston Early Music Festival (theme: Metamorphoses: change and transformation), “Il Moro di Granata” for “Figures Mediterrannées” (Radio France) and “Kehi Kinnor,” a semi-staged production with historical dance created for the marriage-themed 2010 York Early Music Festival, “Macchine” for the Royaumont Foundation.
If you would like to commission Lucidarium to create a program, please contact us for prices and proposals

Older programs
In the twenty-three years since its founding, Lucidarium has created and performed dozens of programs – far too many to fit on one website…
Here is a selection, please contact us for prices and more information

LO MIO SERVENTE CORE – TRADITION AND AVANT-GARDE IN THE MUSIC OF DANTE’S TIME
7 performers (6 musicians, one narrator)
EN CHANTAN M’AVEN A MEMBRAR – TROUBADOUR, TROUVÈRE AND MINNESANGER FROM RHONE TO RHINE
7 performers
LE DROICT CHEMIN, POPULAR DEVOTION AT THE TIME OF THE REFORMATION
8 – 11 performers
CHANTONS “NOËL” A LA PUCELLE – A FRENCH RENAISSANCE CHRISTMAS
6 – 10 performers
MACCHINE – SCIENCE AND MUSIC AT THE TIME OF LEONARDO DA VINCI
9 – 11 performers (vocal quartet + 5 – 7 instrumentalists)
IL MORO DI GRANATA – ANIMA MEDITERRANEA BETWEEN CONFLICT AND CONCORDANCE
KEHI KINNOR – A JEWISH WEDDING
9 – 12 performers
(7 – 10 musicians + Bruna Gondoni and Steve Weintraub, historical and Yiddish dance)
MUNDI SPLENDOR – MUSIC IN VENICE AT THE WANING OF THE MIDDLE AGES
7 musicians

The series “Klein aber Fein” consists of programs using a reduced formation, suitable for intimate spaces or conferences.

MED-REN-JAM
A “just for fun” instrumental jam session made up of dance music, intabulations and Improvisations from sources ranging from the 13th to 21st century.
4-5 performers

AL NAHAROT BAVEL: JOY, FOLLY, PENIENCE AND LAMENTATION
4-5 performers: Enrico Fink, Gloria Moretti: voice, 2-3 instrumentalists

DIZE LA NUESTRA NOVIA – WOMEN’S VOICES FROM ACROSS THE DIASPORA
4-5 performers: 4-5 performers: Gloria Moretti, Anna: voice, 2-3 instrumentalists

ROSTIBOLI GIOSO – duo Gosfield / Dragoni
Percussion, pipe and tabor, hammer dulcimer, double flute and recorder, in an eclectic program ranging from medieval dances to Klezmer

Please contact us for prices and more information

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I MODI DELL’AMORE

5 novembre 2010

I MODI DELL’AMORE

Love, Lust and Diversity in the Italian Renaissance

Although spiritual, pure love, considered an experience capable of renewing the human spirit, was undeniably the main subject of Renaissance poetry, another kind of love was also written about, more or less explicitly, in a number of late fifteenth and early sixteenth century sources.  When describing the imaginary land of ‘Arcadia,’ the poets of the Renaissance painted a picture of a place where nymphs, gods and heroes acted without shame or reserve in their relentless pursuit if pleasure.  When describing the joys and heartaches of the complicated love lives of these mythical figures, the heirs of Petrarch did not use the same kind of introspective, yearning tone they employed for courtly poetry.

Poetry devoted to Eros – which, in the Renaissance, following the Classical tradition, was used to describe love as a pure, transcendent force – is set to music in sophisticated madrigals, while those that treat Antieros, the ‘other’ love: physical, free, and void of all sentiment, are usually found in the musical forms considered ‘minor.’ It’s no accident that this kind of poetry was relegated to popular-style music, often written in dialect, even if most of the musicians and poets who composed them were also fully capable of writing refined madrigals and high-toned poems.

The modi of the title are a series of drawings (lost, but the basis of later engravings and woodcuts) that portray gods, nymphs, satyrs and heroes in poses that leave little to the imagination – a kind of Italian Renaissance kama sutra. These modi would be published (and quickly banned) accompanied by a series of licentious sonnets penned by Pietro Aretino. Aretino was just one of the many homosexual or bisexual intellectuals active during the Italian Renaissance.  Indeed, probably inspired by Classical mores, the Italian courts were remarkably tolerant, so that painters, sculptors, thinkers and poets such as Angelo Poliziano, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Leonardo da Vinci, Marcello Ficino, and Pico della Mirandola, were able to express their diversity more or less openly in their art and lifestyle.

Repertoire: Here, love will be viewed in all of its guises: romantic, in the madrigal, considered the summit of secular composition. Physical love is expressed in the earthy frottole, canzoni villaneschi, and moresche from late 15th and 16th Italian sources and in settings of texts from the Commedia dell’Arte. Some rather graphic examples are ‘Hora mai che fora son,” where a former nun expresses her joy at being able to finally get out of her habit or  ‘Veni, veni clerici,’ an ode to solitary comfort. Pieces praising diversity include texts by Angelo Poliziano exalting the love of men over that of women, or “A Paris la joyeuse cité” a piece that apparently talks about a celebrated transvestite – reflecting the sometimes surprising broad-mindedness of Renaissance Italy.

7 – 8 performers: Gloria Moretti, Anna Pia Capurso, Lior Leibovici: voice, Avery Gosfield, Marco Ferrari: Renaissance winds, Francis Biggi: plucked strings, Massimiliano Dragoni: percussion, hammer dulcimer (Oleguer Busque Aymami: viola da gamba)

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Reviews

Raze/Raise

Lucidarium is an irresistibly fun group, a light-hearted collection of friends out to relish each other’s company by making music together. That unbuttoned ethos is a welcome intrusion in the concert hall, one that will hopefully infect other performers.

Basler Zeitung

Next to their stylistic confidence and saddle-sure historical interpretation, Ensemble Lucidarium shows us just how contagiously vivacious the reconstruction of medieval sounds can be.

Tagblatt.ch

The six members of Lucidarium let their listeners dive into a completely enchanting world… The musical poetry of the Middle Ages was brought back to life in the most beautiful way possible

New York Times

… The Ensemble Lucidarium, an Italian group, in a program of vocal works (and a couple of high-energy saltarellos) on Wednesday afternoon, performed in a style free of vibrato and other forms of modern polish but plentifully adorned with florid vocal embellishments…

American Recorder Society Magazine

Anyone who arrived thinking of Medieval repertoire as “minor” or as music that ‘all sounds alike’ left with changed ideas.

The Arts Desk

There was a naturalness and relaxedness to their performance that was immensely pleasing.

Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace

… it was enough to be swept away, by the refinement and conviction of the performers, to a place where magic reigns.