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Among the different practices of the Renaissance, the act of singing to the accompaniment of the lyre held a special symbolic role, linked to the myth of Orpheus and to the divine figure of Apollo. With its origins in the mid-15th century, this recitation of epic and lyrical texts initially took the form of monophonic music accompanied by the lira da braccio. With the invention of the lirone in the years around 1500, the role of the accompaniment develops into the recitative style of the 1600s which led to the development of the earliest operas.

Le Miroir de Musique is an ensemble specialised in the music of the late middle ages and Renaissance, from the golden age of the troubadours to the humanist movements of the 16th century. The ensemble is based in Basel (CH) and brings together the most prolific of early music performers, many of whom are graduates of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. The image of a «Mirror of Music» is borrowed from Jacques de Liège’s treatise (Speculum Musicae), and reflects our goal of painting a vivid picture of medieval and Renaissance music, in a spirit of fidelity to the original sources.

This project was first conceived for the Festtage Alter Musik in Basel in 2013, at the suggestion of Peter Reidemeister. The programme was developed in close collaboration between the five musicians and the musicologist Martin Kirnbauer.