Fri 1/18 @ 7:30PM
Sat 1/19 @ 8PM
Sun 1/20 @ 4PM
When the 15th-century Leuven Songbook surfaced in 2016, early music scholars just about lost their minds at the magnitude of the find. The tiny “chansonnier” contained 49 polyphonic songs — including 12 that were completely new to experts in the field. These were primarily the popular songs of their day, many of them dealing with the vicissitudes of love.
This music has only been heard by audiences for the first time in the last two years. And Cleveland music lovers will get an opportunity to hear some of them, when local baroque ensemble Les Delices collaborates with Chicago’s Newberry Consort to present an evening featuring music from the songbook, with projected supertitles and images from the lavishly decorated songbook and others from the period. The ensemble of singers will be accompanied by period-appropriate instruments including medieval fiddles, harp, lute, organetto and recorders, as they perform some of the newly discovered tunes along with some that were hugely popular in that era and are familiar to aficionados of medieval music.
Among the performers are soprano Ellen Hargis, tenor Jason McStoots, baritone Daniel Fridley, Newberry Consort founding member/director David Douglass on vielle and rebec, Les Delices founder/director Debra Nagy on harp, voice and medieval winds, Allison Monroe on vielle and rebec), Charles Weaver on lute and Charles Metz on organetto.
“Considering a songbook owner’s experience of ‘piecemeal’ reading, tonight’s concert uses the book’s contents to construct an imaginary narrative of love and loss,” writes Nagy about the concert. “Like other late-medieval miscellanies of lyric poetry, our story is propelled not only by words but also images. Just as woodcuts of lovers broke up the visual monotony of printed pages while threading a visual narrative through printed books of lyric poetry like the Jardin de plaisance et de rhetorique, we’ve chosen images from a lavishly-decorated French manuscript of the Roman de la Rose (c. 1475) to illustrate and enrich our story.”
The performances will take place Friday at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Akron, Saturday at Lakewood Congregational Church and Sunday at Plymouth Church UCC.
Tickets are $25-$35.