Calextone | June 5

A Pandemic Pentameron: Music of 14th-Century Italy

Great art is often forged in the cauldron of great misery. This was certainly true of mid-14th century Italy, which in the grip of the Black Death nonetheless produced some of the most important European writers and composers of the time.

In this timely program, the medieval specialists of Calextone will weave together visual art, music, and the written word to resurrect a world uncannily like our own. This concert takes Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron—one hundred tales of wit, eroticism, tragedy, and much else—as the basis for exploring three major surviving sources of music from the time: the Squarcialupi Codex, the Rossi Codex, and British Library Add. MS 29987. The madrigale, ballate, and caccie from these collections will enchant you with stories of hunting, outdoor games, love, ribaldry, and much more.

Our guide for this program will be none other than the bardess of the French court, Christine de Pizan (1364–c. 1430), in a text written by Lawrence Rosenwald.

Letitia Berlin, recorders, douçaine, psaltery, and vocals; Frances Blaker, recorders; Shira Kammen, vielle, harp, and vocals; Allison Zelles Lloyd, voice and harp

also featuring guest artist Peter Maund, percussion

Purchase tickets


SATURDAY, June 5, 5:00PM Pacific Standard Time
Online livestream access provided with purchase. Concert will be available on demand after livestream through July 5.

$15 individual general admission; $20 household general admission (two or more individuals in one residence)

With your ticket purchase, you will receive a unique link to our high-definition livestream. Each presentation will feature pre-recorded and live material, as well as a special opportunity to interact with our artists through our live chat.