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    From Faventina to Narcisso Speculando, discover Mala Punica’s most performed concert programmes.


    Liturgical settings in the Codex Faenza 117

    The Codex Faenza 117 features the richest instrumental variations of medieval plainchant masses and offices that have come down to us, including three pairs of Kyrie-Gloria settings, a ceremonial motet and several sections of a Marian office. Mala Punica’s ground-breaking recording of this repertoire has shown different possible combinations between voices and—mostly keyboard—instruments to be suitable for the repertoire. The program stages five voices and five instrumentalists.

    Missa Cantilena

    Liturgical Parody in Italy, 1390-1415

    The most successful of Mala Punica’s programmes: mass movements by Matteo da Perugia and Zacara da Teramo resulting from their own adaptation of secular songs into settings for liturgical use. Daring polyphony, rich instrumentation and highly virtuoso singing in an unprecedented wealth of detail. Missa has inspired audiences in twelve countries across Europe and America and been the highlight of numerous festivals. It features six singers and four instrumentalists.

    Sidus Preclarum

    The complete motets of Johannes Ciconia

    Most of Ciconia’s eight surviving motets are dedicated to prominent Paduan and Venetian dignitaries of the time, including three bishops of Padua, a Venetian doge, and cardinal Francesco Zabarella, Ciconia’s main Paduan patron. They constitute a highly solemn repertory in which virtuoso singing hides and at the same time reveals complex and fascinating musical structures. Sidus preclarum presents Ciconia's motets in a blend of four to six singers and four to five instrumentalists.

    Napoli gothique

    Filippotto and Antonello da Caserta, 1375-1415

    Two styles compete with each other: French-texted Ars subtilior and Italian love songs and lamenti which were possibly heard side by side in fourteenth-century Caserta, the Angevin residence outside Naples. Filippotto and Antonello da Caserta’s songs showcase the thrill of that stylistic tension, which Mala Punica performs with four voices and five instruments.

    Iter Ytalicum

    A musical journey through 14th-century Italy

    Deeply lamented by Petrarch, fourteenth-century Italy was a land divided by wars and ever-changing alliances between independent states. These produced strikingly different cultural dialects and musical styles, exemplified here by four of the principal musical centres on the peninsula: Padua, Naples, Milan, and Florence. Mala Punica’s smallest ensemble, the programme stages three singers and four instrumentalists.

    Narcisso speculando

    The madrigals of Don Paolo da Firenze, 1390-1425

    Sea storms and falconry, battles, scenes of love and jealousy, satiric mock-epics and medieval masques, nocturne allegories, dances and the most powerful representation of Narcissus’ beauty and death: Paolo’s madrigals are theatrical miniatures like the illumination of those choirbooks edited by Paolo himself in Trecento Florence. The cast is four singers and five instrumentalists.


    Dante's legacy in late Trecento Italy

    Dante’s imagery left a deep imprint in his Florentine fellows. Stunned by his work, writers and poet-musicians admired, imitated, and commented upon his Stilnovo poetry and above all on his cosmological masterpiece, Divina Commedia. Mirrors, angels, ghosts predicting the future, Beatrice's eyes, the silence in the sky of Saturn, thunder, sorrow, ecstasy, human and divine Love: Paradiso explores Dante’s fingerprints in the works of Francesco Landini, Lorenzo Masini, Paolo da Firenze and their contemporaries. Three to four singers, four instrumentalists.


    Music and migration in late medieval Europe

    Music has long been the solace and talisman of wandering people: from the crusaders—who traversed the Mediterranean until and even beyond the 14th century—and the pilgrims heading for Europe’s major shrines, to the transit routes of desperate populations escaping war and famine. Mala Punica perform some of the most touching songs and lyrics on farewell and nostalgia preserved in 14th-15th century sources. The programme features three to four voices and three to four instrumentalists.

    Inaudita imponere

    Johannes Ciconia, 1390-1410

    Johannes Ciconia’s unprecedented ability in and command of very different, earlier and later Italian-Trecento genres and styles has long puzzled scholars, more so since new research has shown him moving to Italy as late as the 1390s. A follower of Zacara da Teramo in Rome in the years 1391-97, he then moved north to serve the Paduan court until his death in 1412. Mala Punica combines some of his secular songs with motets and mass settings in a small ensemble of four singers and three to four instrumentalists.

    Other Programmes

    Ha Fortune! Les impasses de l'Ars subtilior, 1380-1420

    Pax Pax Pax Italy and the Viscontis's threat around 1400

    Le Grant Desir The songs of Matteo da Perugia, 1400-1430

    Urbi et Orbi Ars nova in Rome, 1380-1400

    Dulcor Britannicus English motets in late-medieval Italy, 1420-1440

    Reworkings New music and medieval models (with works by Pablo Ortiz, *1956)

    Mala Punica reveals to us a universe of true musical goldsmithing.

    — Jacques Merlet

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