Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pedro Memelsdorf And Mala Punica Perform Johannes Ciconia At 2013 Utrecht Festival

We go from the utterly ridiculous (see previous post) to the truly sublime...

An hour ago I was listening to a 1995 recording by recorder player Pedro Memelsdorff (bio, photos) and harpsichordist Andreas Staier of two-part English consorts in the second half of the 17th century... John Playford, William Lawes, Matthew Locke, etc.

But I wasn't content to stop there. I googled Memelsdorff, and found a veritable gold mine of material on him. He has grown; his art has grown and the scope of his activities has broadened immensely. Memelsdorff, born in Buenos Aires and active in Europe since the 1970s, seems to have been known back in 1995 primarily as a truly excellent recorder player, and no doubt he still is, but since then both his ambitions and his skills have diversified greatly.

Now director of the long-famous Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, he also formed and performs with the group Mala Punica (Lat. "pomegranate"), a group devoted to historically plausible (and artistically stunning) performances of, among other things, works in the ars subtilior ("the more subtle art") style, an intentionally complex and avant‑garde style in parts of France and Spain at the end of the 14th century. The work they perform in the video below is by Johannes Ciconia (c. 1370‑1412), at the 2013 Festival Oude Muziek ([Utrecht] Festival of Early Music), in the Geertekerk (St. Gertrude of Nivelles Church).

After truly TMI, here is the Ciconia performance. Is it avant‑garde enough for you? It sounds pretty forward-leaning to me!


  1. Replies
    1. Isn't it though, karmanot! One of the long-term realizations of every performer of any sort of very old music is that its creators were real composers, as real as any of our 18th- or 19th-century famous names. Some aspects of the human potential develop over centuries; others seem fully formed from ancient days.



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