Lucidarium Brings Renaissance Valentine's Day Program to Main Stage of Houston Early Music Festival

By: Houston Early Music
| Published 01/08/2016


HOUSTON – Swiss early-music ensemble Lucidarium will present “Ay me sospiri – Love Letters from Renaissance Italy,” a program of music devoted to love, on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church as part of the Houston Early Music series. The concert also serves as a main-stage event for the 2016 Houston Early Music Festival.

Houston Early Music

“Throughout history, song and love have been an inseparable pair,” said Lucidarium co-director Francis Biggi. “ 'Ay me sospiri' is a program dedicated to love in the bustling cities of Renaissance Italy, where life was an intense experience full of constantly changing sights, sounds and smells.”

Featured on the program is music exploring love in its many guises from the streets and courts of 15th- and 16th-century Italy. One song talks about burning up with the flames of passion, another voices despair at being scorned by a once-passionate lover, while a third ponders whether suicide is the only answer to an unrequited love.

“These are themes that must have appealed to courtiers, nobles, intellectuals and common people alike,” said Biggi, who will play the lute and other plucked-string instruments. Joining him will be the group's other co-director, Avery Gosfield, who will play recorder, pipe and tabor, double flute, bagpipe, and dulcian, an early version of the bassoon. Other group members include wind player Marco Ferrari, hammer-dulcimer player and percussionist Massimiliano Dragoni and singers Gloria Moretti and Anna Pia Capurso. Viola da gamba player Tina Chancey will join them as a special guest.

Lucidarium is known for innovative programs that delve into the links between oral and written musical transmission, based on the research of Biggi. He studies modern recordings, often on YouTube, to understand performance styles that go beyond written notes, then applies what he's learned to early music.

In addition to performances of early music, Lucidarium presents crossover concerts, playing in Jewish and world-music festivals throughout Europe and North America. The group has appeared in the Boston Early Music Festival, Holland Early Music Festival, Seattle Early Music Guild, Houston Early Music and many other series on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lucidarium will present “Ay me sospiri – Love Letters from Renaissance Italy” at 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 14, at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1311 Holman St., Houston, Texas 77004. A preconcert talk will begin at 3:15 p.m.

Tickets are available for $40 general admission, $35 senior admission and $20 for students with a valid student ID card. Children under the age of 15 receive free admission.

For more information, email or call 281-846-4222.

As the city’s only organization dedicated to covering the large historical span of early music in all of its forms, Houston Early Music epitomizes a movement that has swept the world of classical music. Officially incorporated in 1969, the nonprofit provides performance opportunities for up-and-coming and major early music artists from around the world in an annual concert series. A successful educational outreach program introduces a future generation to a broad range of music. Houston Early Music is funded in part by grants from the Houston Arts Alliance, the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts.