Music at Dante’s Time
Tickets: unreserved seat € 15
bagpipes, straight and double flute, cennamella Goffredo Degli Esposti
viella, ribeca, buccina Gabriele Russo
lute, chitarrino Peppe Frana
voice, harp Katerina Ghannudi
voice Andres Montilla
voice, percussion Enea Sorini
music by Guirault De Borhneil, Bertran de Born Arnault Daniel, Bernard de Ventadorn, Marcabru Folquet de Marseilla, Marchetto da Padova and by anonymous authors of XIII-XIV sec. from Laudari di Cortona, Magliabechiano and from Codice Vaticano Rossi 215
Between the disciples of Ars Antiqua and the first steps of Ars Nova – when waning feudalism gave way to the markets (the bourgeoisie) of Central Italian cities and fiefdoms in the North – music underwent a profound transformation.
Ensemble Micrologus leads us through the music of the thirteenth century, that of the lyrical poets – the “troubadours” – which Dante knew and wrote about, raising their status to sit alongside the most ancient songs and dances.
The concert opens with the sounds of old court instruments, evoking the hymn-like spiritual ardour channeled by city confraternities and in the poetry of the troubadours, which Dante himself recounts in the De vulgari eloquentia.
Gradually, the sonorous universe of the Divina Commedia emerges: if the Inferno features mainly the sounds of “high and low voices”, Purgatorio is filled with the sounds of singing, especially the psalmady of Gregorian chant, and in Paradiso the music becomes polyphonic: vision, light and angelic movement.
The finale leads us to the courts of the della Scala family, from Verona to Padua and its University, where the Rossi Codex 215, which contains the first monodic ballads and polyphonic madrigals, was written. The court of Cangrande della Scala – a patron who hosted Dante during his exile, and was dedicated by the poet in the first canton of the Paradiso in 1316 – was described as a place where all “good customs’’ could be found: “here are the storms of love and to love…guitars and lutes, violas and flutes, voices high and piercing which you can hear singing… here good singers with monochords, and troubadours you will find agreeable”.