Sunday, July 14, 2024

Metamorfosi Trecento

There was a time, the time when myth was the most powerful explanation of our world, when the existence of men, animals, gods, trees and flowers were connected in a fluid and always exchanging chain. Travelling through different forms of being was frequent and was a way – if not the way – to know. The most influent myths in european culture has been and are the greek ones. In the fourteenth century Italian and french cultures there happens a renaissance of the Antiquity that we normally associte to next century's humanism. 

Metamorfosi '300 is the title of the italian part of a musical research on the classical myth in late middle ages. The ancient classical myths, atransmitted mainly by Ovid's Metamorphoses and by its medieval translations and adaptations, appear in some pieces belonging to the Ars Nova repertoire. But myth does not come back without metamorphosys: an epiphany of truth in the politheistic world, it changes into a moral tale, an exemplum which teaches how to behave according to the system of virtues and vices of christian ethics, or again in a love story, an archetype of the pains, beauty and impossibility of courtly love.
And it's particularly this last metamorphosys, metamorphosys being guided by the supreme power of love, that is the novelty of the italian Maestri. In their lyrics myths lose their moral function to serve the court of love.
In the songs of our program one can in fact hear sing the error of Narcissus's lonely and delirious dream to love himself, which caused him the mortal voyage into the other dimension of water thus rebirthing as a water-flower, Daphne who dreamt to become a tree to escape Apollo, Orpheus who can enchant the beasts, but can’t voyage into the realm of death without losing love, the serpent-monster Phyton which frightens the Egypt, Callisto, who was transformed into a bear and then into the Ursa Major constellation in order to be loved by Jupiter, Medusa and her terrible gaze, and the deceiving chant of the "bella Yguana", the dreaming figure of the sourceress-siren, symbol of the metamorphic seduction of the appearances, and of the hypnotic enchantment of music.
Our program starts from here. “Si chome al canto della bella Yguana” talks about the most famous voyage, Ulysse’s one, and the singing of the Sorceress Circe which distracts him from the Return for one year. It’s an evocation of the fantastic singing of the sorceress and of the sirens too; in the end of the magic of music in general, its dreaming and allucinating power to make us travel. What Jacopo and the other Italian and French maestri had already understood and translated into their polyphonies is that the most powerful traumreise is probably music itself.
“These things never happened, though they always are”. This was Salustius sentence on miths. And infact, beginning with the fourteenth century, western music always drank from the myths' source. When composers were not inspired by the great moral tale of Christ, when the story was not sacred, they turned to the myths as a great and unsurpassed repertory of exemplar stories, narrative archetypes in which everyone could and can always recognize himself. A come back to the ancient which begins in the fourteenth century and characterizes the long way to the most important secular genre, up to the first florentine and mantuan experiments: the opera.
But nowadays we don’t share a memory of myths, as it was for the selected audience that had a daily frequentation with classical myths. For this reason, in order to bring to a vision the ancient tales only quickly mentioned and given as known in Ars Nova pieces, we created a collaboration with Nuria Sala Grau, a dancer and choreographe specialized in narrative dances (the indian bharatanatyam one above all) to tell with gestures and body language the myths cited in the lyrics. So it's born the idea of a danced concert, during which myths are given a shape in front of us, as if dance would be our secret memory of the ancient stories alluded by the music.

Metamorfosi Trecento

Transformations of Myth in the Ars Nova
A Danced Concert

“These things never happened, though they always are”

Sì chome al Canto della bella Iguana - Jacopo da Bologna (f.1340-?1386)
Non più Infelice - Don Paolo da Firenze (c.1355-dopo1436)
Strinçe la Man (strumentale) - Bartolino da Padova (c.1365-1405)
In Nova Fert/Garrit Gallus/Neuma - Philippe de Vitry (f. prima metà del Xiv sec.)
Phyton, le mervilleus Serpent - Guillaume de Machaut (c.1300-1377)
Constantia (strumentale) - Anonimo (codex Faenza 117)
Calextone, qui fut Dame terrouse - Solage (f. fine del XIV sec.)
Je suy navvrés/Gnaff’a le Guagnele - Antonio Zacara da Teramo (1350/60-dopo 1413)
Tre Fontane - Anonimo (codex London add 29987)
Par le grant Senz d'Adriane - Philipoctus de Caserta (f. II metà del XIV sec.)
Qual perseguita dal suo Servo Dafne - Niccolò da Perugia (f. II metà del XIV sec.)
Non al so Amante più Diana piacque - Jacopo da Bologna
Non al so Amante più Diana - strum
Già da Rete d'Amor - Matteo da Perugia (f. I quarto del sec. XV.)
Fenice fu - Jacopo da Bologna
Sì dolce non sonò col Lir’ Orfeo - Francesco Landini da Firenze (c.1325-1397)



la fonte musica:
Francesca Cassinari, Alena Dantcheva (soprano)
Gianluca Ferrarini (tenore)
Efix Puleo  (viella da braccio)
Teodoro Baù (viella da gamba)
Federica Bianchi (clavisimbalum)
Michele Pasotti (liuto e direzione)   
Nuria Sala Grau (danza e coreografia)