Ovid, Metamorphosis, Music and Poetry in the Late Middle Ages. Commissioned by the 2011 Boston Early Music Festival

Le ninfe cucinano Biblioteca Ricc. 1503, GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO, 1482

Le ninfe cucinano Biblioteca Ricc. 1503, GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO, 1482


Ovid played an important role in the European cultural universe of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.  His influence can be found in the mythological and metaphorical themes that abound in the poesia per musica of late medieval Italy: from texts which recall the myth of Diana and Acteon, to songs which evoke the Iguane, the mythical nymphs which as legend would have it, inhabit the Euganei mountains.  Even the madrigal, the most characteristic musical form of the Italian Trecento, was considered the result of an mythical metamorphosis, where learned musicians miraculously transformed the “natural” songs of ancient shepherds into a refined and subtle art form.


Repertoire: madrigali and ballate and sung declamation treating mythological themes, instrumental dances from the late 14th century.

Texts by: Franco Sachetti (1330?-1400?,) Giovanni Boccaccio (1313?-1375?,) Francesco Petrarca (1304 – July 19, 1374) Giovanni dell’Anguillara (died 1572,) Riccardo Collotti (ca. 1900 – ca. 1990;)

Music by: Jacopo da Bologna, Vincenzo da Rimini, Francesco Landini, Andrea da Firenze, Matteo da Perusio.

7 Performers: Gloria Moretti, Anna Pia Capurso: voice; Avery Gosfield, Marco Ferrari: medieval wind instruments, Francis Biggi: cetra, medieval lute, Massimiliano Dragoni: percussion, Oleguer Aymami Busque: viella

Early Music America:
Ensemble Lucidarium made its BEMF premiere… in a terrific program entitled ‘Ninfale: Ovid, Poetry, and Music in Italy at the End of the Middle Ages.

The Boston Music Intelligencer :
Taking their cue from Boccaccio, Avery Gosfield and Francis Biggi of Ensemble Lucidarium presented a lively and varied program of late medieval music and poetry…  The performance of an anonymous early two-voice madrigal, Pianze la bella iguana, by the two sopranos without accompaniment, was a delight, their voices complimenting each other in perfect intonation… A medieval jam session involving all members of the ensemble brought the first half of the program to a rousing close.

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.