The members of the Ensemble Micrologus were among the first musicians who promoted the rediscovery of medieval music in Italy, by means of new interpretative ways that helped this music to be increasingly appreciated by a growing public, both in Italy and in Europe.
The Ensemble set up its musical activity on the research and study of direct and indirect sources, with a view to establish the interpretation of medieval music on credible assumptions, with regard to performance and, more generally, to musical aesthetics. The Ensemble’s work is thus based on the research of the sources, on historical, paleographical, organological and iconographical surveys (that allowed its members to recreate unique musical instruments), and also on the comparative study of written repertoires, on one hand, and collections that belong to oral tradition, on the other.
Ethnomusicology has been playing an essential role in reviving medieval music interpretation, as the result of its thorough studying has been the rediscovery of specific techniques, for both vocal and instrumental performance, together with the solution of many issues about intonation in modal and polyphonic music. Most scholars actually agree on the fact that the musical cultures that belong to oral tradition keep up several archaic features, which are very close indeed to some features of ancient music in general, and of medieval music in particular; due to this comparative study, grounded on an accurate methodology, we can now formulate theories about important aspects of medieval music interpretation, specifically about phrasing, vocal emission and instrumental and vocal ornament, thus distancing ourselves from some misleading performances which stem from more recent repertoires.
With a view to re-establish the primary function of music, for both performers and listeners, the musicians of the Ensemble Micrologus perfected an innovative way of interpretation that goes beyond the idea of a concert as a show – in fact, this concept of “show” was unknown in ancient times –; for this purpose, in their musical performances they bring together their academic and musicological knowledge and the skills they developed playing in countless medieval festivals; among them, let us only quote here the Calendimaggio (May Day) of Assisi, where the musical event takes place in its original sound and time setting : churches, yards, village squares, streets, all places in which prayers and celebrations, epic chants and lyric poetry, fairs, dances and religious processions all regain their ritual and symbolical essence.
All these elements joined together allow the Ensemble to propose, in an innovative way, unpublished music works, as well as partially known musical manuscripts that, after a thorough study, result in exhaustive performances and recordings, yet without disregarding the listener’s enjoyment and need for comprehension.
After playing for many years in Assisi’s Calendimaggio, Patrizia Bovi, Adolfo Broegg, Goffredo Degli Esposti and Gabriele Russo decided to found the Ensemble Micrologus, in 1984. Up to now, they have created more than twenty different shows and some theatre representations, that they performed in Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Slovenia, Poland and Japan.
At the same time, they are involved in the activities of the Art, Music and Show Laboratory of Assisi, where they hold courses and workshops that originated several sacred dramas and sacred representations. In the ‘80s they took part to the works of the Centro Studi Ars Nova of Certaldo, where they had the opportunity to share their knowledge with the most outstanding European musicologists.
The musicians of the Ensemble Micrologus utilize faithful copies of ancient instruments (thanks to the permanent collaboration of expert instrument makers) and also accurate costumes and sets in their theatre representations; each year, they propose to the public one or two new performances around specific topics alternating sacred and profane music (from the 12th to the 15th centuries), as well as a few commissions from several European festivals.
The Ensemble sometimes avails itself of the valuable help of outstanding scholars, such as Professor Dinko Fabris, of the Ancient Music Department of the Conservatory of Bari, and also of the collaboration of some important research centres throughout Europe, like the CERIMM of the Rouyamont Abbey, in France, where the Ensemble will carry out some research until the end of 2002.
For several years now the Ensemble Micrologus has been holding courses and stages regarding the interpretation of medieval music, collaborating with many important institutions such as Urbino’s Festival, La Cité de la Musique of Paris and the Rouyamont Abbey.
The musicians of Micrologus also participate in theatre, dance and cinema projects (they are the authors of the soundtrack of the film Mediterraneo, directed by Gabriele Salvatores) and they work with many important artists of contemporary music.
The Ensemble Micrologus recorded 15 CDs and was awarded twice with the “Diapason d’Or de l’Année” prize, in France: in 1996, for the CD Landini e la musica fiorentina (Landini and Florentine music) and in 1999, for the CD Alla Napolitana (the latter was created together with the musicians of the Ancient Music Centre of Naples, a musical group called “la Cappella della pietà de’ Turchini”). They also made many TV and radio recordings in many countries: RAI 1, RAI 2, and Radio 3 in Italy, Radio France Culture, Radio France – Musique, ORF in Austria, Radio Suisse in Switzerland, Asaki Television in Osaka, Japan.
Since 1995 until 2000 Ensemble Micrologus has been recording under the French label Opus 111 – Naïve – Paris.
In 1995 they created their own label ed.disc. Micrologus and they are also producing their own recording.
Born in Assisi, Patrizia Bovi begun very early to study music first at Perugia Conservatory and then with Sergio Pezzetti. She begun to study medioeval and renaissance music cooperating with Ensemble Alia Musica from Milan and following seminars on antique vocal practice. both in Italy and abroad. In that period she executed Italian repertory among Sixth and Seventh Century with relevance to Monteverdi (Ballo delle Ingrate, Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, ecc.) and some early seventh century products (La Dafne from Marco da Gagliano, Euridice from Jacopo Peri and La Morte di Orfeo from Stefano Landi).
In 1984 she founded Ensemble Micrologus, a group whose main aim is research and interpretation of medioeval music. The group encountered greaty international success among audience and critics and every year they perform several concerts in Italy and abroad.
Since 1990 she is part of Quartetto Giovanna Marini, taking part to all its productions and tournée, while since 1995 she also cooperates with Ensemble Organum by Marcel Pères in a sacred rapresentation taken from Laudario di Cortona, whose first performance was held at Cité de la Musique in Paris.
She also recorded more than 40 CDs with Micrologus for Quadrivium and Opus 111 : the CD dedicated to “Landini and his contemporaries” won the Diapason d’or award for 1996, in 1997 the CD “O Jhesu dolce”, devotional songs from florentine and venetian confraternite in XV century.in 2000 Alla Napolitana won the award of Diapason d’or of the year
With Quartetto di Giovanna Marini she recorded several CDs (among them “Partenze”, for the twentieth anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s death), and the Laudario di Cortona with l’Ensemble Organum for Harmonia Mundi. For Zig Zag territoire with the violinist Chiara Banchini a cd on Tartini.. In 2013 was released the cd “Lucrezia la figlia del papa Borgia” 1480-1519 who presented with the group Medusa her last research.
She directed and performed music for “Myth” of the coreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and she’s performing all over Europe, US, Corea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand in his last productions Babel , “Play”and “4D”.
Patrizia Bovi perfectioned a teaching method for medioeval chant with rapport to traditional music, helding stages in Italy and abroad and especially at Corsi di Musica Antica in Urbino and at Fondation Royaumont near Paris.She is giving regular courses at Centro Studi Europeo di Musica Medievale Adolfo Broegg. In 2008 she received the award “Chevalier des Art set des Lettres” from the Ministery of french culture.
Goffredo Degli Esposti
Goffredo Degli Esposti (1963) is an Umbrian musician who specialises in research into, and performance of ancient and traditional music with wind instruments. Having taken his diploma in the transverse flute, recorder and specialized in Baroque flute, he has followed courses of study with Susan Milan, Andras Adorjan, Gustav Sheck, Mario Ancillotti, Bartold Kuijken, René Clemencic and the Courses in Medieval Music at the Centro Studi dell’Ars Nova Italiana of Certaldo (Italy). He began his concert activity in 1980; in 1984 he founded the Ensemble Micrologus, with whom he plays in the most important Festivals of Ancient Music in Europe and the Americas; he has also made CDs and radio recordings and collaborated on music for the theatre and the cinema, including the soundtrack of the film “Mediterraneo”. His enthusiasm and his ability to play various wind instruments in the Mediterranean tradition have led him to various musical experiences, collaborating with the Mancuso Brothers, Ambrogio Sparagna, Giovanna Marini, Sonidumbra, the Tamburi del Vesuvio, Tetraktis Percussioni, Daniele Sepe, Vinicio Capossela. Nowdays he is working on musical improvisations for wind instruments with the new groups Lirum Li Tronc (Renaissance music), Bandance (new folk) and with the singer-songwriter Raffaello Simeoni for “Mater Sabina Project”.
He has given seminars and courses at various European Schools: at the Cité de la Musique in Paris, at the Abbaye de Royaumont in France, at Jeroslaw in Poland, at the Istituto superiore di Studi musicali “Briccialdi” in Terni, and International Courses of Ancient Music in Urbino and in Copenhagen. He has recorded 26 CDs of medieval music for Quadrivium, Fonit Cetra, Zig-Zag Territoires and Opus 111, of which two have been awarded the “Diapason d’Or de l’Année”, and 10 CDs of traditional and experimental music for Ricordi, Penta Music, SudNord Record, BMG, Il Manifesto and Alphamusic.
The Umbrian musician, GABRIELE RUSSO is co-founder of Ensemble Micrologus for which he works on research into the practical techniques and construction of bowed stringed instruments of the medieval period. He studied classical and rock music (violin and guitar) and also plays folk music as violinist, guitarist and mandolin player with the Umbrian group Sonidumbra. He has appeared both in Italy and abroad, playing in the most important early music festivals with Micrologus. He has recorded more than 25 medieval music CDs and appeared as well on many other recordings, including with a host of well-known names in traditional and experimental music, such as Fratelli Mancuso, Ambrogio Sparagna, Giovanna Marini, Sonidumbra, Daniele Sepe, Novalia, Raffaello Simeoni, Vinicio Capossela. He has given seminars and workshops in various European centres: in Antwerp, Belgium; at the Cité de la Musique in Paris; at the Abbaye de Royaumont in France; Jaroslaw in Poland; at the international centre for early music, Musica Antica in Urbino; in Orte (TR Italy); Maccagno (VA Italy); in Copenhagen and in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
From 2009, has has been teaching, alongside the other musicians of Micrologus, at the International Annual Summer Courses at the Centro Studi “Adolfo Broegg” in Spello, Umbria.