Firenze 1350 | A Medieval Florentine Garden
The concert programme reflects the ethical problem, which we take up at this point in our deliberations on the events of Holy Week. Following the tragedy and trauma of Good Friday, the experience of emptiness and abandonment on Holy Saturday leads us to a kind of denial. In this context, the programme proposed by Anna Danilevskaia – a violinist and a fiddle (vielle) virtuoso – which takes us on a journey to medieval Florence seems like an apt fit. It is an extraordinary repertoire representing a highly developed musical culture with a very strong sense of identity; however, when listening to this music, we have to put aside the romantic narratives about Florence that we have known.
In the mid-14th century, the city was going through a rough time. Back in the 1340s, several important banker families, including Bardi and Peruzzi, went bankrupt plunging the city into a deep economic crisis. In 1348, the plague started, decimating the population. Despite these tragic events, the local musical culture survived. The idyllic lyrics certainly clashed with the dramatic situation of the city and its residents, but the music also carried consolation. In Giovanni Boccaccio’s famous Decameron, a group of young people fleeing the plague gathers in a garden in the hills around Florence, spending time telling stories and making music. In a way, the Sollazzo Ensemble’s concert is meant to be such a metaphorical musical garden where you can forget about the outside world.
Anna Danilevskaia – vielle, artistic director