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Dulce Melos

Established in 2003 by Marc Lewon (lute, Germany), Margit Übellacker (dulcemelos, Austria), and Yukiko Yaita (recorders, Japan), Dulce Melos is an international ensemble dedicated to the performance of instrumental music of the late middle ages and early Renaissance. The struck and plucked strings and the recorder, combined with the bowed strings of Elizabeth Rumsey (viola d’arco, Australia) and Uri Smilansky (viola d’arco, Israel) provide an ideal combination of instrumental sounds for the repertoire at hand. The members of the ensemble met as students at the Medieval Department of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis and have since performed and recorded together as a project-based ensemble. The characteristic sound of the ensemble derives from a balance of subtlety and virtuosity, marked by exuberant polyphony and individual skill. The critical consideration that the players bring to the primary sources of this music distinguishes their performance and informs their personal arrangements of these pieces. The ensemble is particularly involved in the reconstruction of long neglected instruments and their reintroduction into historical performance practice—among them the dulcemelos, from which the ensemble takes its name: a medieval form of hammered dulcimer, the name of which means ‘sweet melody’ or ‘sweet sound’.

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