La Fonte Musica
Alena Dantcheva and Francesca Cassinari sopranos
Gianluca Ferrarini tenor
Susanne Ansorg and Teodoro Baù medieval fiddles
Michele Pasotti lute, director
This renowned Italian ensemble La Fonte Musica presented this well balanced programme of music from their latest Diapason d’or-winning recording. The music being a selection of 14th century music which clearly show the early metamorphosis of these ancient myths into things pliable and mutable to the traditions of courtly love of the transformations of Ovid’s myths in the 14th-century Ars Nova. The music was accompanied by projections of mysterious and fantastical images from medieval manuscripts.
La Fonte Musica say of their name; The fonte (fountain) alludes first of all to the fountaine, a topos in medieval poetry, a place of regeneration and life, centre of the garden and a symbol of pleasure. The fountain (fonte) is also a place of music and of the Muses, its symbolic roots deepen into classical myth.
The programe flowed with allegory, myth and some lovely touches of humor which brought to life this music and allowed us into the privllaged lives of the elite who would have enjoyed it. With an emphasis on courtly love each piece was a rediscovery, tantalizingly familiar in many ways but then original and touching in its own space. Ansorg and Baù brought a harmonic resonance to the evening which underpinned the flowing lyrical singing of the three principal singers all of whose voices were superb, with Passotti directing from the lute providing a counter musical encouragement, filled with passion and ethereal joy. He also has the most delightful habit of rising onto his toes whilst playing, it makes him seem to levitate around the music.
The high-point of this concert for me was the late 14th century ‘En attendant’ by Filippotto da Casertawhic – it flowed around the warm acoustic graces of St Georges church giving us a passionate insight into the devout heart of this music.
See the full listing of music performed here.
As my charming and well informed companion commented, it was very interesting to see music which would only have perhaps had an academic following two decades ago enjoying such a warm welcomed and presentation to a full audience who appreciated the delicate charms of this very early music.
The BREMF is a platform for such musical exploring and we are lucky to have a festival with such commitment to authentic presentations from world class musicians of rare and exotic music from our distant cultural past. They are researched, then brought back to life for our enjoyment by ensembles such as La Fonte Musica. Catch them if you can.
You can learn more about La Fonte Musica on their website and to buy tickets for up and coming performances or see the full programme of concerts, workshops and presentations from the Brighton Early Music Festival on their website.
An enjoyable evening out at the BREMF only slightly marred by the rather high bar prices, possibly the highest prices we’ve paid recently at any event.