Ciaramella Early Music Ensemble performs “Dances on a Moveable Ground,” a program of early to modern compositions and improvisations tracing the history of the ground bass.
Ciaramella Ensemble ventures toward modern times with intoxicating dance melodies from musicians who lived from the 1500s into the Baroque era. Ground bass patterns underlie all of this music; sometimes one can hear it clearly and sometimes the ground bass line is veiled within the polyphony. Ciaramella performs on shawms, recorders, bagpipes, sackbuts, plucked-string instruments, and percussion, improvising florid polyphony in the manner of the Burgundian alta capella ensembles that piped across Renaissance Europe. The Cleveland Plain Dealer praised the group for performing intricate 15th century counterpoint "with the ease of jazz musicians improvising on a theme."