Com­ing up in Philly Music: A masque from the past with Music for Twelfth Night’

1 minute read
A 400-year-old form of entertainment continues to find relevance in this week's offering from Piffaro. (Photo by David Lowe.)
A 400-year-old form of entertainment continues to find relevance in this week's offering from Piffaro. (Photo by David Lowe.)

Are you looking for an escape from the age of the mask? How about a return to the age of the masque?

The masque was an English court entertainment featuring costumes, spectacles, and plenty of music and dancing. It was a forerunner of English opera that flourished in the 17th century. One of the most famous examples is Henry Purcell’s The Fairy-Queen, based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Piffaro had to cancel the online version of the Renaissance holiday program it presents every December. It’s replacing it with a celebration of Twelfth Night, a traditional post-Christmas time for music and masquing, featuring selections from English masques. Some of the best composers of the English Renaissance wrote dances, songs, and other pieces for masques. The music will be colored, as usual, by the unique sounds produced by Piffaro’s menagerie of Renaissance instruments, with an extra emphasis on the more exotic items suchas the buzzing crumhorn and douçaine (a sort of Renaissance version of the bassoon).

What, When, Where, and Accessibility:

Piffaro, the Renaissance band, will premiere Music for Twelfth Night on Tuesday, January 5, at 7:30pm. The concert will be available on-demand through Monday, January 11. Tickets are $15 and they’re available online.

Image Description: A person dressed in all black wears a feathered mask with horns. They're playing a crumhorn instrument. Plants decorate the background.

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