Voices of Music presents Leonardo da Vinci: A Musical Odyssey in three concerts this weekend, with the kind of repertoire that he likely would have heard as he traveled in Italy and France during the Renaissance. Hanneke van Proosdij and David Tayler came up with the program with Larry Rosenwald, who will be linking one piece to the next with verse narration. The artist himself was known to improvise poetry while playing the instrument called the lira da braccio.
There’s more information on the Voices of Music website.
“We wanted to highlight Renaissance music,” says Hanneke van Proosdij, “And one of the topics that we were thinking of was the life of Leonardo da Vinci, and what kind of music he would have heard during his lifetime.” He was well traveled, for someone living in the 15th and 16th centuries. David Tayler explains: “He was in Venice, he was in Florence, he was in Milan, and then at the end of his life, amazingly, he journeyed to France, because he got sort of a retirement appointment. And then, of course there’s this music from the court of Francis the First, where he was the master of ceremonies for the king’s parties.” So there’s both the music he’d hear in the market, (where he famously went to buy birds only to set them free) as well as in the upper-most circles of society. Larry Rosenwald, who teaches at Wellesley, and will serve as narrator, planned the concert program with van Proosdij and Tayler. “It’s a wonderful life that he lived. It’s full of events, it’s full of accomplishments, it’s full of travel, observation. There’s just so much material. When Hanneke and David and I talked one night, we were generating ideas enough for two or three shows, and then we had to cut from there.” The instrumentation for the concert includes much of the available kinds of musical forces of the day: “We’ll have viola da gambas, we’ll have recorders, we’ll have singers, we’ll have lute… hurdy gurdy, shawms, percussion. Lots of different sounds appropriate for the music from each different city and each different social background.”