Claudia Caffagni , Livia Caffagni, Ella de Mircovich,
Doron David Sherwin, Elisabetta de Mircovich
Inspired by Romance lyrics (reverdies) celebrating the return of Spring, the ensemble laReverdie was founded in 1986 by two pairs of sisters, all singers and instrumentalists, with the intent of exploring the musical repertoire of Europe from the High Middle Ages to the end of the 14th century.
The painstaking attention to authenticity with which laReverdie prepares its programs is only one of the numerous means through which the ensemble strives to communicate the vitality, meaning and unaffected harmony of everything it presents to its audience.
A particular attention is given to the wide and mostly unexplored repertoire of "sacred theatre": liturgical dramas and dramatic liturgy, collective representations, manifestations which evoke the religiousness of an age whose echoes are not extinguished yet. The aim is not so much to meticulously catalogue a collection of archaeological relics as it is to faithfully reconstruct the musical heritage of the Middle Ages as a living fragment of a culture long since past but not lost.
laReverdie has enjoyed the regular collaboration of various other musicians: among the others Doron David Sherwin, one of the leading specialists of cornetto, as well as a versatile arranger, singer and percussionist.
laReverdie has been a customary guest at a number of the most prestigious festivals of early music in Europe, including: Festival Cusiano di Musica Antica (San Giulio d'Orta 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2003), Il Canto delle Pietre (Autunno Musicale di Como 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2001), Musica e poesia a S. Maurizio (Milano 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001), Settimane Musicali di Stresa (2002), Settembre Musica (Torino, 1997, 1999), I concerti del Gonfalone (Roma, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2003), Mittelfest (Cividale, 1999, 2001), I Concerti del Quirinale (2002), Luci e Tintinni (Colle val d'Elsa 2002, 2003), Cultura dei Mari (1996, 1998), Aliamusica (Parma-Piacenza 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004), I Concerti della Normale (Pisa 1999, 2000), Grandezze & Meraviglie, Festival Musicale Estense (Modena 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004), Tage alter Musik in Regensburg (1992, 2000), Staufener Musiktage (1994, 2002), Festival van Vlaanderen (Brugge, 1992, 1993, 1995), Netwerk voor Oude Muziek (Utrecht, 1994, 2004), Tage alter Musik in Herne (1994), Festival de Mùsica antiga (Barcellona, 1995), Ambraser Konzerte (Innsbruck, 1995, 2000), Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien - Musikverein (1996), Rencontres Internationales de Musique Médiévale du Thoronet (1995), Festival de L’Escarène (1996, 2000), Festival de Musique de Clisson et de Loire-Atlantique (1996, 1997), Festival de Conques: "La lumière de Roman" (1997), Rencontres de Musique Ancienne de Ribeauville (1997, 2004), Festival Musique en Catalogne Romane (Perpignan, 2004), Semana de Musica Antigua (Burgos, 1997), Rhein-Renaissance ‘97 (Köln, 1997), Festival Internacional de Musica (Povoa de Varzim - P, 1998, 1999), 16eme Fesival d’art Sacré de Champeaux (F, 1998), Evenements musicaux - L’Hippodrome (Douai - F, 1999), Adma (Friburgo - CH - 1999), Resonanzen Wiener Konzerthaus (Vienna, 2000), Festival Internacional En El Camino de Santiago (Jaca, 2000, 2001, 2004), Festival de Música de Vigo Are-More (Vigo - E 2003), Festival Internacional Santander (2000, 2001), Festival Internacional de Musica Antigua (Darroca, 1997, 2001, 2004), Festival de San Sebastian (2000), Internacional Early Music Festival (Jaroslaw - PL 2000, 2001), XXI Festival Radovljica 2003 (Radovljiza, Slovenia 2003).
The group has recorded for the Italian State Radio RAI, the Bayerischer Rundfunk, Südwest Rundfunk, WDR (Germany), BRT3 (Belgium), ORF 1 (Austria), Antenna 2 (Portugal), RNe and RTVE (Spain), Radio 2 (Polonia), Radio Televizija Slovenja (Slovenia), Espace2 (Svizzera), KRO Radio4 (Olanda) and France Musique, as well for ARCANA with the co-sponsorship of the WDR. Its most recent recordings received very often the highest award from the French monthly Repertoire des disques compacts and the Diapason d'Or of the month; the CD "Speculum Amoris" received the Diapason d'Or de l'Année from the French press in 1993.
The ensemble is giving seminars on several repertoires of the music of the Middle Ages in various Italian Institutions, and since 2003 teaches in the medioeval section of the XXXV International Course of Ancient Music in Urbino; together with Aliamusica of Parma, under the patronage of the Department of Musicology of the local University, she has instituted and regularly collaborates with an comprehensive project of educational initiatives in the field of early music. Source: La Reverdie
Bestiarium (2006 reissue)
Jacopo da Bologna -Madrigali e cacce (2005)
Hildegard Von Bingen - Sponsa Regis (2004)
Dufay - Voyage en Italie (2003)
Nox Lux (2001)
Legenda Aurea (2000)
La Nuit de la Saint Nicholas (1998)
Insula Feminarum (1998)
Historia sancti Aedmundi (1997)
Suso in Italia Bella (1996)
Laude Di Sancta Maria (1995)
O tu chara scienca (1994)
Speculum Amoris ( 1994)
La Reverdie (1993)
A Dante, Petrarca & Boccaccio - Dolci stili of Ars Nova
5 musicians + 1 actor
Guillaume Dufay - A journey to Italy
Bestiarium - Animals in the music of the Middle Ages
O Tu chara scientia - Music in Medieval thought
Insula Feminarum - Medieval echoes of celtic feminity
Itinerarium Rome - A musical pilgrimage from the isles of the North to the Papacy
Venetiarum Cardines - The Eastern gates of Italy
Speculum Amoris - Love lyrics from the mystic to the erotic
Suso In Italia Bella - Music in the courts and cloisters of northern Italy
NoxLux - Mors & Vita Duello
In Festo Sancti Nicholai - A liturgical drama of medieval England
In collaboration with "I cantori Gregoriani": 9 performers
Sponsa Regis - The Triumph of the Virgin in the works of Hildegard von Bingen
Historia Sancti Eadmundi - From Dramatic Liturgy to Liturgical Drama
Lyra mystica - Music and Sanctity
Laude di Sancta Maria - A vigil of "Laude" for the Virgin Mary
Legenda Aurea - Laude of the Saints from Cortona and Florence
Livia Caffagni interview (excerpt -1-)
Livia Caffagni interview (excerpt -2-)
Livia Caffagni, born in Bologna in 1963, grew up in an culturally and artistically rich environment, which (along with much more) she owes to her affectionate parents Paola and Mirco.
In 1972 she began to study the recorder with enthusiasm, earning her diploma under the guide of Giorgio Pacchioni.
At the same time she studied the viola da gamba with Carol Lewis, Nanneke Schaap and Paolo Pandolfo.
Since 1981 she has performed extensively in early music, having founded the ensembles "Ribes Nigrum", "La Capriola" and the orchestra "Concerto Barocco".
In 1987 and !988 she earned a study grant from the Italian Foreign Ministry to conduct musicological reasearch at the Institute of Musicology of the University of Bern, Switzerland.
In 1989, a few weeks before her marriage to the only American cornettist present on this website, she graduated "cum laude" in foreign languages and literature at the University of Bologna. Her graduate dissertation in Gregorian semiology has since been published in the periodical "Studi Gregoriani".
For several years she has been active as a teacher and presently teaches recorder at the Conservatory of Trento.
In 1992, following a radical conversion to the Catholic faith, she chose to limit her numerous peripheral pursuits to more fully dedicate her energies to Medieval music (which continues to fascinate her as an artist and as a reasearcher), teaching, her family, and prayer - though not necessarily in that order.
She considers irrelevant the problem of the "modernity" of Medieval music, preferring to concern herself with that of the "eternal" nature of everyday life...
In laReverdie she has found the ideal means to bring the various competences she has acquired throughout the years to fruition - as well as to acquire new ones.
Claudia Caffagni, Livia's sister, was born exactly two years and thirty days after her.
She began to play the recorder at an early age, but in order to avoid unfavorable comparisons with her sister - who in the meantime had become a virtuoso - she began at the age of thirteen to study the lute under the guidance of her father Mirco, falling hopelessly in love with the instrument. Frequenting summer courses in Italy and abroad, she studied with Federico Marincola, Jacob Lindberg (with whom she successfully completed a diploma examination in 1989) and with Hopkinson Smith at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
Since 1984 with the founding of laReverdie together with Ella de Mircovich and a lutenist friend, she began to expand her musical activity beyond that of the Renaissance (a repertoire which she has performed as a soloist) to the fascinating world of Medieval music. From then on her life story has closely followed that of the group that brought her to study voice and the psaltery, an instrument which she spends entire mornings improvising upon, preferably in the first and third mode - her afternoons being occupied with her son Lorenzo, the youngest and most faithful fan of laReverdie.
Actively involved - for those who don't know, laReverdie is a democratic group in which each member is called upon to give their best efforts, in order to realize the potentials of all members - in musicological, theoretical and didactic research, she has published various articles, including "Methodological Approaches for Recuperating the Medieval Repertoire" in "Musica Antica", 1997/II.
In 1996 she was awarded, with her sister, the prestigious "Premio Ghirlandina" from the Rotary Club of Modena, annualy awarded to a Modenese who in an artistic field has distinguished themself for their success and international recognition (previous winners include Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti, Liliana Cavani...).
In addition she has found time, after Classical studies, to earn a diploma "cum laude" in Architecture from the University of Venice with a graduate dissertation entitled "Temperments in Music and Architecture: the School of Riccati" and to collaborate in the examination of interdisciplinary doctoral treatises on music and architecture at the same institute.
Since 2002 she teaches "performance practice of early music" at the Conservatory "G. Tartini" of Trieste.
In laReverdie her duties, together with those of her colleague Elisabetta (also born in 1966) include organisation, logistics, public relations and the transport of people and various objects.
Ella de Mircovich
Ella de Mircovich was born in 1961 in Trieste, just when an exceptionally cold February night was at its darkest. This could provide a sound scientific explanation for her nasty temper, as well as the more despicable and outlandish traits of her personality.
Coming from a family of tangled Mitteleuropean origins, from a forceful Prussian grandmother she inherited a passion for musical and literary traditions of Northern Europe, and a certain penchant for Germanic languages.
Although she haunted a number of assorted schools, institutes, academies and summer courses, the only diplomas she can lawfully boast of are those in Lithurgical Prepolyphony (a bombastic Italian way of saying Gregorian Chant), and Metal Arts & Crafts. Among the several singing teachers she barely paid attention to, we may mention the late Andrea von Ramm, who constantly and wisely advised her to become some sort of an actress instead of some sort of a singer.
She made some feeble attempts at teaching vocal technique in her home city, shamefully failing in the meantime to earn a driving licence; but having sung and played with an amazing number of groups since her most tender years, she is, at least, utterly immune to any manifestation of stage fright.
Her female colleagues have threatened her with sanctions if she refused to include the traditional tedious list of academic accomplishments (which the average reader usually happily manages to skip), but being perversely stubborn she will admit only to having had some dealings with the International Saga Society and of being fairly widely read. She definitely never had any musical "coup de génie" except when she started, together with her friend Claudia, the former "trifid" core of laReverdie: (the thing obviously needed a lot of further improvements, though the credit for these cannot be ascribed to her).
She doesn't really much approve of deep-seated convinctions in general, but there is one which she nevertheless devoutly holds: the very first duty of a good medievalist is not to nourish any sort of dreamy nostalgia. This is why she duly proceeded to pick up several surreptitious hobbies, such as: her faithful spouse Alois and flawless little son Aelfred, astrophysics, junghian autoanalysis (her indispensible mental hygiene, though for an artist something in the line of Yoga or Tantra would have been much more chic), cognitive psychology, and sociobiology (which she does not consider a dirty word).
Beyond the professional literature she is forced to follow because of her job, she almost exclusively reads only high-quality hard science fiction, hard science essays, and junk (though also hard) informatical heuristics. To this add the hard fact that she listens only to Wagner, The Police, Sibelius, Irish folk and Bach, from whose Musikalische Opfer she has developed a kind of pathological addiction. She will honestly admit to having sided, in her silly youth, with the White Rose against the Red one, with Pelagius and Abelard against the saints Augustine and Bernard, and with the Vikings against the rest of more polite Europe: having at last come of age, she hopes to have reached at last a sufficiently poised and equanimous view of the Middle Ages. This notwithstanding, she persists in singing and playing most of her repertoire by heart, in being one of the last surviving soloists of cithara teutonica (a barbarous contraption whose only practical value could be that of accompanying the recitation of Germanic epic), and in giving personal names to scarcely sentient common objects like her battered PCs Mimir, Alan (named after the AI father Turing, of course) and Piter (family name DeVries), or her harps Nerwen Altariel, Alia the Abomination and the two-headed Oswold&Oswy.
She has only one true regret in life: that of not having been born some sort of lyric tenor, like Wolfgang Windgassen, Martyn Hill or Sting, her own paragons of virile vocal virtue. She does not worship any female singer except Ella the Great (and by the way, it is not because of the latter if de Mircovich shortened her native "Raffaella", but rather a harmless Germanistíc whim, "Ella" being a much revered Old English male name.) The world would have been a better place if she had chosen to follow her only real talents, becoming a typist, a seamstress or perhaps a translator, instead of a musician. In any case, be it known once and for all that any textual-ideological crimes of laReverdie must be ascribed to her: she is an uncommonly long-winded writer, as anybody who has read this far (to say nothing of her CD liner notes) has surely realized by now. She almost never has musical ideas of her own, and what few she has ever produced are promptly dismissed with relish by the whole band, herself included.
She indulges in viciously prowling round the Net disguised as the depraved Harkonnen scion, the naBaron Feyd.Rautha@libero.it, at which address you could even try to contact her, if you really trust your luck.
Elisabetta de Mircovich
Elisabetta de Mircovich, Ella's sister, was also born in Trieste, but in 1966.
Before she could read or write she sang, under the somewhat less then loving guide of her older sister, carols, discants and other ancient ditties, acquiring a considerable repertoire in a manner not at all unlike that in which the "pueri cantores" of the Middle Ages recieved their earliest musical instruction.
She began performing Medieval and Renaissance music at a very early age, working in a number of groups as a singer as well as playing various string and wind instruments.
In her home town she studied music and classics. In 1989 she earned a diploma "cum laude" in cello with Libero Lana, studying subsequently with Mario Brunello.
A prizewinner in numerous musical competitions, she has performed on the modern and the Baroque cello with various groups. She has studied early vocal technique with Andrea von Ramm, Hans-Ludwig Hirsch and Elisabetta Tandura.
She has performed with Alan Curtis (Monteverdi's "Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in patria" at the Semper Oper in Dresden, 1993), and is a member of the Sonatori della Gioiosa Marca, with whom she has performed and recorded Legrenzi's "La morte del cor penitente". In her studies of the Medieval repertoire, rich as it is with musical (and other) discoveries, for her and her colleague Claudia the encounter with the ensemble Sequentia has been of fundamental importance. With this pioneer ensemble she has also recorded two CDs.
In laReverdie she excercises the duties of fiddle player, chauffeur, arranger, chain-smoking singer, and negotiator in the occasional stormy disputes which inevitably arise within a group whose members wear their hearts upon their sleeves... In order to adequately respond to the recurring journalists' query "Do you consider yourself modern as a performer of this music?", she has for years been living a double (or triple!) life as a mother, wife, and member of an up-and-coming nostalgic-experimental rock band, in which she can finally play the electric cello (with distortion!).
Doron David Sherwin
Doron David Sherwin was born in Los Angeles in 1962.
The son of two night-club singers, he became interested in early music at a very early age, studying various early wind instruments before finally stumbling upon the cornetto.
His first studies with Michael Collver brought him to Europe where he settled in 1983. Since then he has peformed throught the world as a soloist and member or collaborator with ensembles such as Hespèrion XX, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the Taverner Players, Tragicomedia, Capriccio Stravagante, Cantus Cölln, and the Clemencic Consort.
He acquired a diploma in cornetto (the first in at least 350 years) from Bruce Dickey at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, and has performed regularly with him since 1986 in the ensemble Concerto Palatino, universally acclaimed as the world's best early brass ensemble and among the leading interpreters of early Baroque music.
He has studied medieval vocal technique with Richard Levitt, Dominique Vellard, and Susanne Norin.
Sherwin has performed for radio and television in all of Europe, the United States, Canada, Israel and Japan and has a discography of over 60 recordings for companies such as EMI-Reflexe, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Harmonia Mundi France, Erato, Virgin, Arcana, Accent, and Sony Classical.
A specialist in the improvisational styles of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, he has given courses and seminars at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy as well as in Vicenza, Göteborg, Trondheim, Fribourg and Basel, and since 1994 teaches cornetto and historical improvisation at the Staatliche Institut für Musik Trossingen in Germany.
Since 1989 he lives in Modena, Italy, and is one of the few musicians never to have performed in duet with Luciano Pavarotti.