Erin Headley is the world’s leading performer and scholar of the lirone, a musically rich stringed instrument renowned for its depth of emotive power. In her own words:
This instrument was called upon only for the most expressive and tragic narrative moments in oratorio, opera and cantata. The lirone (trans. large lyre in Italian) was invented in 1505, and early on associated with the poetry and music of Greek antiquity. During the course of the 16th century, that association began to change, as the Catholics recognized that the lirone’s spiritual qualities would suit their cause. By the end of its career (c. 1680) the lirone was associated exclusively with Catholic spirituality.
You can listen here, to the sound of Erin Headley’s lirone, in a 2012 recording of Anchor che col partire, with Stephen Stubbs (lute) and Andrew-Lawrence King (harp). Erin is guest conductor for Aston Magna’s opening weekend concerts, June 16-18. Purchase tickets early.