Jazz & Renaissance Music Meet at the Duomo


The ensemble who will be performing in the Duomo, including Gavino Murgia (second on the right)

The 26th edition of the O Flos Colende free music series will inaugurate on Monday, May 15, at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (9 pm). Dedicated to Norwegian saxophonist, Jan Garbarek, and the British male vocal quartet, Hilliard Ensemble, the concert will be conducted by the organist and musicologist, Gabriele Giacomelli.

In 1994, Garbarek and the vocal quartet presented modern reinterpretation of 12th to 16th century music by such composers as Cristóbal de Morales and Perotinus Magnus at the monastery of Propstei St. Gerold in Austria. Their album was entitled ‘Officium.’

On Monday, the Marco Mencoboni’s choral group Cantar Lontano will be taking over this innovative project in partnership with Gavin Murgia, a saxophone and clarinet virtuoso, in tribute to the 1994 performance. The performance will incorporate pieces played at the original concert, including ‘Parce mihi Domine’ (Cristobal), O Salutaris Hostia (Pierre de la Rue), Beata Viscera (Pérotin) and l’Ave Maris Stella (Dufay). Works linked to the history of Santa Maria del Fiore will also be brought into the repertoire, with a contemporary spin.

Gavino Murgia, born in 1969 in Nuoro, Sardinia, taught himself saxophone and began playing in bands and theatrical productions from a very young age and has performed in prestigious international concerts around the world. He is a man of many talents.  Murgia also plays the triple pipes, a traditional Sardinian instrument; the duduk, a double reed woodwind instrument originating from Armenia; and sings in Sardinian choirs that specialise in the throat singing technique, one of the world’s oldest forms of music.

Marco Mencoboni, born in 1961 in Marcerata, central Italy, is a renowned harpsichord player, organist, conductor and artistic director of the Cantar Lontano ensemble, a talented group of choristers. His thorough and committed research into Cantar Lontano – a polyphonic singing technique that originated in the 17th century – has invigorated the choral group, and pushed its members to develop as musicians. His further accomplishments include directing the Festival Cantar Lontano until 2014; founding the music label, ‘E lucevan le stelle records;’ and teaching harpsichord at the Frosinone Conservatory. (Sophie Holloway)