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Chi Vuol Veder, Chi Vuol Servir...

Sacred Music and Moral Poetry from 14th-c. Italy

Vocal and instrumental works by Matteo da Perugia, Francesco Landini, Zacara de Teramo, Marchetto da Padova, etc..

The trecento, or the 1300s, is known as the revolutionary time of Giotto and Brunelleschi in their use of perspective and geometry in visual arts and architecture, and of Petrarch and Boccaccio, and their new lyrical way of writing poetry, heritage from the Provençal troubadours and from Dante’s dolce stil nuovo. It was also a time where people were affected by natural catastrophes, political conflicts and the plague, which had devastating effects in all the population. In spite of adversity, in Italy a new intellectual world was emerging: a world in service of philosophy, music and language. Petrarch served as one of the pivot figures in the rediscovery of rhetorical traditions of antiquity, a movement that changed the arts, aesthetic theory, politics and religious thought in all Europe – until nowadays.


This intellectual and human-centred world was not contrary to the Christian faith cultivated for centuries in Italy; Humanism served as a tool for religion, for persuading the growingly literate society to virtuous and prudent actions. This worldview is summarized in Petrarch’s letter to Dionisio da Borgo San Sepolcro, as he describes his ascent to Mount Ventoux:


“I thought in the silence of the lack of good course in us mortals, who neglect what is the noblest in ourselves, scatter our energies in all directions, and waste ourselves in vain show because we look about us what is to be found only within.”



The rhetoric of the time is one of the main elements of the music of the trecento, giving it the powers to move emotions, either by the words or by the musical lines themselves.  It shows humanity with all its distinct capabilities, talents, worries, problems and possibilities.


"Chi vuol Veder, Chi vuol Servir" or "The one who wants to See, who wants to Serve"


One of the main moral themes touched in this program is human BLINDNESS.

The poet observes himself and the world around him blinded by temptations and false acts, and only finds truth in the Christian faith. It is through servitude to God and to life itself – nature, BEAUTY and LOVE- that he can restore his sight and follow a virtuous life.

ENVY, ARROGANCE, GREED and RESENTMENT are questioned and condemned, seen as devastating limitations of humanity – something that our contemporary society has to deal with constantly and concerns us in our daily life as individuals.

SERVITUDE is another pivotal element of these texts. This concept, that today is often neglected and linked with limitations or even humiliation, was highly regarded at the time. The cultivation of servitude to God, but also to the world around each of us without expecting anything in return, would become one of the greatest forces of love and dignity.


Servir Antico, (or the Old Servitude), takes these timeless moral elements for bringing Early Music, and its content, closer to contemporary audiences.



Catalina Vicens

Giotto Invidia

Line-up: 5 musicians / readers

- 3 singers 

- 2 medieval fiddles

- Portative organ

- Positive- / church organ (optative)



Marchetto da Padova, F. Landini, J. Ciconia, J. da Bologna, Niccolò da Perugia, Andrea da Firenze, Matteo da Perugia, Don Paolo da Firenze, Bartolino da Padova, A. Zacara de Teramo, Codex Faenza



- Liturgical music

- Secular music

- Organ literature

- Vocal music

- Morality

- Italy

- Lauda

- Motet

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Mother and Child, Genurt Marias, Salzbur

Picture: Giotto di Vondone (1267-1337),

Invidia (1305-6) Capella Scrovegni Padova, Italy.

Servir Antico

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