When Yiddish Was Young. Program created with the support of the Rothschild Foundation and the EAJC

Marc Chagall, The Betrothed and Eiffel Tower (1914)

Marc Chagall, The Betrothed and Eiffel Tower (1914)

The alternation of periods of hostility with those of clemency on the part of the local population, princes and ecclesiastical institutions marked the existence of the Jews who lived in the German-speaking lands from medieval times throughout the Renaissance.  This continuous cycle of conditioned acceptance, oppression, expulsion (and worse) would not be broken until the enlightenment.  Still, despite adversity, there are clear signs of a flourishing cultural tradition, closely entwined with that of the surrounding populations.  In fact, it was a German dialect that would be the basis of the culture of one of the most important Jewish populations, the Ashkenazy, and it was in this era that the seeds of Yiddishkeit, a poetical and musical tradition that has identified an entire people for centuries, were sown.


Much Jewish poetry meant for singing has survived in 16th Century collections, in a German that, although written in Hebrew characters, was close to that spoken by the mainstream population.  In the small South German towns where Church and Synagogue were sometimes separated only by a tavern, Jew and Christian used the same music for dancing and celebrations, and much of the liturgical music and folk songs transcribed at the beginning of the last century bear strong traces of Renaissance music.  This is Yiddish before the “fantastic voyage” that would bring it across Eastern Europe and back again, but with its pithy humor, biting satire and contemplative moments, it is just as lively, earthy and touching as the Yiddish of yesterday and today.

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)


5 novembre 2014 Programs

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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.


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.