What image pops into your head when you think of “classical music”?
An orchestra, right? Playing a symphony— a composition without any singers.
However, from the beginnings of the classical tradition (Gregorian chant, around 800) to 1600, vocal music was the main concern of composers, the highest musical endeavor. That began to shift in the 16th century, and by the 17th, the most talented composers devoted some of their output — if not all — to music without any words.
Jordi Savall and his ensemble, Hespèrion XXI, captivated a full house at St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church on Sunday evening with a program of music for viol ensemble from that transitional period. Beginning with vigorous Venetian dances from 1500, the program traveled to England, France, Germany and Spain across the decades, ending in 1700…