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La Morra

La Morra is well-established as one of Europe’s leading ensembles for Late Medieval and Early Renaissance art music. Their Music in the Park Series Program "Shaping the Invisible" explores Italian music from the time of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Sunday, February 25, 4:00PM

Saint Anthony Park United Church of Christ

LA MORRA is well-established as one of Europe’s leading ensembles for Late Medieval and Early Renaissance art music. An international vocal-instrumental formation named after Henricus Isaac’s famous instrumental fantasia, LA MORRA makes its home in Basel, the cosmopolitan cultural capital of Switzerland, where the tradition of historically informed performance of early music at the renowned Schola Cantorum Basiliensis dates back to the 1930s. Under the joint artistic leadership of Corina Marti and Michal Gondko, LA MORRA re-configures itself according to the requirements of the repertoire, usually numbering four to seven musicians.

Reputed for the evocative, thoroughly researched programming as well as interpretations that “never fail to keep the listener’s attention alive” (Gramophone), the ensemble has travelled extensively across Europe as well as in the United States and in the Far East, appearing in the most prestigious early music festivals and concert series.

Italian Music from the Age of Leonardo

The famous artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was a musical man. Not only was he interested in the science of acoustics: he also designed musical instruments and accompanied himself, while singing, on the lira da braccio. For Leonardo, music was figurazione delle cose invisibili — “shaping the invisible”.

Late fifteenth-century / early sixteenth century Italy was a place with an extraordinary vivid musical life. The oltramontani (as the Italians called the many Franco-Flemish masters of counterpoint and musical design) created here some of their most groundbreaking works at the request of wealthy Italian nobility. The demand for their expertise forced native Italian musicians to focus – and excel at – self-accompanied improvised solo singing. Skillful instrumentalists and instrument makers, both native and foreign, contributed musical and constructional innovations that redefined solo and ensemble music making with instruments. During Leonardo’s lifetime those differing musical worlds began to permeate each other, paving the way for the creation of new, thoroughly Italian musical genre: the frottola.

The program offers a hand-picked selection of songs and instrumental music composed (or circulating) in Italy around the turn of fifteenth and sixteenth centuries – the time of creation of Leonardo da Vinci’s arguably most famous works: “Mona Lisa Gioconda” and “The Last Supper”.

Ivo Haun de Oliveira, voice
Corina Marti, harpsichord, recorders
Michal Gondko, lute
David Hatcher, viola da gamba
Guest Appearance: Nigel North, lute