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


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.

4 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.