The Ladyslipper Ensemble's April 11 concert at Northtown Library will feature three of the group's six members. Sahar Hassan, a mezzo soprano, will share the stage with Phillip Rukavina on lute and Mary Burke on the viola da gamba.
They'll perform a variety of baroque songs from old masters.
Two pieces are by Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi, from a book of songs titled "Scherzi Musicali," which are musical vignettes that "are like little dramas," Hassan said.
One song, which translates in English to "Your Scornful Looks," is fast-paced, energetic and playful. A man sings to a woman who is "very scornful but he's in love with her, so he'll take anything from her," Hassan said.
"So Sweet is the Torment" is on the slower side and is "strophic," so the verses repeat four times. "The melody is simple and beautiful," Hassan said.
Monteverdi is one of the most influential composers in Western music, Hassan said. He had a huge impact on 20th-century composers like Igor Stravinsky, she said. "He put a great deal of emphasis on words and emotions."
Also on the program is a mix of pieces by Henry Purcell, an English theater composer in the 17th century. The song "She Loves and Confesses Too" is a song on a "ground," a type of composition in which the base line repeats while the "singer does their thing," Hassan said.
The song is about someone who is trying to win another's affections. The singer "likens it to a town that has won triumphantly, enjoying the fruit of his conquest," she said.
A couple of works are from Michel Lambert, a 17th-century French composer. They are referred to in English as "courtly airs," as they were originally performed in the courts of kings.
Rukavina and Burke will also do some solos and possibly a duet.
Hassan will give descriptions of the pieces, including some historic context. Additionally, Rukavina and Burke will discuss their instruments, how they're made and their place in this repertoire.
For example, they'll talk about how early music string instruments use gut strings, which are made from sheep or goat intestines, Hassan said.
Possible spoiler alert: Gut strings produce a warm sound but are very susceptible to temperature changes and humidity levels.