A while back I discovered a video on Youtube that made an strong impression on me. It wasn’t your usual rough and ready production but one clearly intended to represent an ensemble in the best possible light. The performance featured a duo—an organetto player and a percussionist performing a piece, “Per non far lieto,” from the Squarcialupi Codex (early 15th Century).
Inspired by the title of the work performed in their video, the ensemble was called Per Far Lieto and, to my surprise, they’d only recently begun exploring the medieval repertoire as a duo.
Per Far Lieto’s members are Catalina Vicens, organetto, and David Kuckhermann, percussion.
Catalina Vicens was born and raised in Chile, but her professional studies in early keyboards were undertaken in the U.S. and Europe. There’s more biographical information about Catalina on her myspace page.
Here’s Catalina Vicens performing an early 17th-century Italian toccata at the harpsichord:
David Kuckhermann is not your typical percussionist, but a frame-drum specialist who’s main interest in is Middle Eastern styles, which he’s made his own. You can find out more about David at his website and myspace page.
Here’s David Kuckhermann in a trailer for one of his instructional videos:
The following video is the one that brought them to my attention. It is an excellent example of what kind of performance is possible when two fine musicians just click. The music they make really speaks for itself.
Per Far Lieto performing “Per non far lieto”:
You can hear Per Far Lieto on the Harmonia episode “Medieval Instruments,” performing various works from the Squarcialupi, Faenza, and Rossi codices—all terrific performances.
In the meantime, you can listen to “Sal so quel monte” at the top of this post.