An evening of music, song and dance from the early Middle Ages to the Renaissance period is probably unlikely to set the pulse racing for most and yet while not exhilarating, the evening did prove to be informative and pleasantly enjoyable.
The band, in understated but effective period costume, delighted the audience with a miscellaneous array of hymns, dances, canzonas and what was simply described as a ‘Scottish brawl’, spanning four centuries of medieval and renaissance music. The performance took place in the beautiful St Celia’s hall, fittingly the home of the Museum of Instruments. The band used a fine collection of copied period instruments, from a kortholt to an organetto. In the interludes between songs there were helpful and comprehensive explanations of the groups of instruments that were being used.
The band performed with the Renaissance and Elizabethan dance company ‘Polyhymnia’, a group which had painstakingly reconstructed the authentic dances of the period from surviving books and manuscripts. They performed the subtle and graceful choreography in exquisite and lavish costumes, beautifully made and with assiduous attention to detail.
While the quality and professionalism of the dancing, playing and singing is unlikely to blow the audience away, the band certainly impress with their faithfulness to historical accuracy and their obvious passion for the period, which can’t help but affect the audience.