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A musical ode to Da Vinci
A musical ode to Da Vinci
14-Jul-2019 | Source:

Sensus Ensemble, an Italian quartet, will perform in the city to celebrate 500 years of Leonardo's true genius

Music, as his other pursuits, was a well-rounded passion for Leonardo da Vinci. He experimented with music, innovated and advanced it as a genre, as he has done with so many creative and scientific disciplines. He was a singer and instrumentalist, speculated on the meaning of music, invented musical instruments, designed sets for great court musical performances, studied musical acoustics and, not lastly, he himself composed very particular musical miniatures: his famous rebuses.

Now, to celebrate 500 years of Da Vinci, the Italian Embassy Cultural Centre, Mumbai, Royal Opera House and Avid Learning present Leonardo's Symphony, a performance of Italian renaissance music by the Sensus Ensemble. The Ensemble includes mezzosoprano Arianna Lanci, renaissance instrumentalist Adriano Sangineto, renaissance harpist Marianne Gubri and percussionist Marco Muzzati. Talking about the significance of renaissance music, Gubri, who has studied and graduated in Medieval Renaissance and Baroque harp in Paris, says, "Renaissance music in Italy was the result of different traditions: the first one, coming from the courts of Northern Europe, was the refined Franco-Flemish polyphonic, secular and sacred music based on mathematical proportions. The second one was about traditional and popular music from the Italian countryside, mainly music like strambotto, frottole and dances."


Marianne Gubri

The last one, she adds, was represented by humanist thoughts, from the Florence court, and the music that was improvised, sung and accompanied by the Lira da Braccio, a string instrument. It serves poetical and philosophical texts. She continues, "Due to this mixed tradition, the music was perfectly integrated with the different contexts of the society, from the court, to the church, from the countryside to the more sophisticated artistic circles of the time."

The Ensemble will bring to stage renaissance musical compositions, inspired by Da Vinci's rebuses. "The genius of Leonardo reflects itself in his sketchbooks. There are actually 18 rebuses, but some are small and not usable for a musical performance. So, we have arranged two of them in a plain monody for the singer with the only accompaniment of Da Vinci's instruments," says Gubri.

Da Vinci is commonly known as a painter, an inventor and a scientist. But very few know that he was also a great musician. Among the instruments he invented, which will be played, perhaps for the first time in India, include the organist viola, a sort of hurdy-gurdy, the paper organ and the continuous wind piva, a sort of flute fed by bellows.