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Published: Friday, 3/19/2004

Ancient tunes re-created


For 25 years, Musica Antigua de Toledo, the area's premiere early music ensemble, has been exploring sounds whose legacy dates back centuries.

Sackbutts and krummhorns in hand, the members play melodies inspired by such eminences as Richard the Lionheart and Henry V.

Musica Antigua de Toledo presents "Chasing Musical Tales (or Tails)" at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Christ Presbyterian Church.

"We decided to use music that tells stories as well as music by composers who have interesting anecdotes connected with their lives," said Alice Neff Peterson, the ensemble's coordinator and a founding member.

The various "tales" include murder and medical mayhem.

Consider Italian Renaissance composer and lutenist Carlo Gesualdo, a prince of Venosa who was far less gentle than his artistic inclinations might imply. In 1590, he killed his wife and her lover.

Composers could be victims as well.

"[Johann Sebastian] Bach and [Georg Philipp] Telemann were both treated by the same eye doctor. Both got infections and went blind," said Peterson.

The program's "tails" refer to the intricacies with which composers once wove their music.

"Here we are talking about music that chases its own tail. This was especially the case in the Renaissance with its use of musical imitation. Lines go forward and backward," she said. "In Italian caccias one part seems to chase after the other."

Musica Antigua was founded in 1979. The ensemble has presented a concert series since 1982.

Musica Antigua de Toledo presents music of Palestrina, Josquin Desprez, and others in a concert titled "Chasing Musical Tales (or Tails)" at 3:30 p.m. Sunday in Christ Presbyterian Church, 4225 West Sylvania Avenue. Tickets are $8, $7 for seniors and students. Information: 419-475-6177.

Contact Steven Cornelius at: scornelius@theblade.com

or 419-724-6152.

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