Charleston Pro Musica play the strange but charming sounds that music lovers jumped and jived to way back when the old millennium was yet young. And we can still rock to it, thanks to the skill and scholarship of old-time groovemaster Steve Rosenberg of the College of Charleston and his assorted sidekicks.
The Pro Musica ensemble is an incredibly versatile bunch of crack period musicians who often look (and sound) different every time you see them. The performers, styles, and instruments vary considerably according to the period, genre, and nationality of the music at hand. Don’t confuse them with the most excellent Chatham Baroque — the Early Music Series’ other main period ensemble. It’s an apples-and-oranges kind of thing: CB sticks to Baroque music (after 1600), while CPM’s stuff goes back as far as several centuries before that.
CPM have seven different programs on tap. Their three larger events — with Robert Taylor’s sweet-sounding and spirited College of Charleston Madrigal Singers — offer broad surveys of Renaissance-era choral and instrumental fare. Emerging star countertenor José Lemos will appear three times, sampling spectacular ancient arias, the music of medieval Spain, and a broader multinational assortment, respectively. Rosenberg and friends, including super-percussionist Danny Mallon, will devote two more events to the demonstration and lore of more obsolete instruments than you can shake a drumstick at.
Expect toe-tapping fun and museum-grade fascination for listeners of all ages. Grab a Piccolo brochure to match up performers and dates.
CHARLESTON PRO MUSICA/MADRIGAL SINGERS • Piccolo Spoleto’s Early Music Series • $12 • May 26; June 3-6 & 9-11; 3 p.m. • First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, 53 Meeting St. • 554-6060