Top-hit songs and dances of the 13th and 14th centuries, and the sacred and secular vocal music inspired by them, will be performed by Ensemble S.P.A.M. at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, May 26 at 7:30 pm. Advance tickets – $27 reg/$25 seniors/$15 students/$5 under 12 – are available online.
Popular song and dance music were likely as much enjoyed during the Middle Ages as they are today. Countless visual images and written descriptions of musicians and their instruments survive from the Middle Ages. But much of their music has been lost. While many of its makers may have been virtuosic singers and players, what they sang and played was never written down.
Ensemble S.P.A.M. will perform 13th-century French, rondeaus and caroles, and motets from 13th-century France containing both sacred and secular/popular elements; secular ballades and virelais by French ars nova composers Guillaume de Machaut and Guillaume Dufay; 13th-century Italian sacred laude, caccie and ballate by the Italian composers Magister Piero and Francesco Landini, a fractal canon by Johannes Ciconia, and a saltarello contained in an anonymous Italian manuscript owned by the British Library.
Ensemble S.P.A.M. is made up of Shira Kammen (vielle, harp, voice), Peter Maund (percussion), Allison Zelles Lloyd (voice, harp) and Marsha Genensky (voice). Get it? First names are the clue!