Una Musa Plebea: “minor” repertoires of the Italian Renaissance

Una Musa Plebea: “minor” repertoires of the Italian Renaissance

Una-Musa-Plebea-evidenzaLife in the bustling city states of Renaissance Italy must have been an intense experience, full of constantly changing sights, sounds and odors.  People of all classes were thrown together, and very different levels of society often had surprisingly similar tastes in music.  Although great Northern masters like Josquin composed for the courts, most people preferred the era’s home-grown repertoire: Giustiniane, frottole and improvised sung poetry with soaring melodies, sonorous harmonies and universal themes; the dances that still swing after 500 years.

Next to Lucidarium’s performances of “everyday” repertoire from the 15th and 16th century, “Una Musa Plebea” boasts a series of fieldwork recordings of some of today’s finest sung poets – the carpenters, masons, schoolteachers and post-office workers who have lovingly kept this centuries-old tradition alive.


L’alto Tirreno – con le sue coste e le sue campagne – rivive in questo raccomandabile CD un proprio passato per l’arte e la buona volontà di un gruppo di artisti di straordinaria sensibilità, i quali, senza degnazione ma con un’operazione culturale di rilievo, disegnano – non solo in bianco e nero – lo sfondo variegato di quella grandiosa civiltà cui si aggancia, alla fine, con arte purissima, il cantore-improvvisatore-dicitore Dolando Bernardini con i versi del suo Orlando furioso.

American Record Guide – Catherine Moore
This imaginative and unusual program brings together Renaissance music and contemporary
poetic improvisations that show how the traditions of speech and song declaimed with music have carried through the centuries. Performing poets from Tuscany and Corsica use their rich “musical” voices to demonstrate a living art form that complements the popular forms of song and dance from the 15th Century. All the performers are experts in their genres, and very fine booklet notes supply details of improvisational structures and explain the common ground in this continuum of performance history. The program is sequenced in very satisfying way, and themes across Renaissance texts and texts from the early 21st Century sit happily side by side…

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4 novembre 2014 Discography

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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.