This dance drove half of Europe crazy: the follia, the Italian name which means “madness” or “insanity,” spread like wildfire from the Iberian peninsula across the continent starting in the 16th century. It was considered so unbridled and wild that it was even banned for a time. The follia is based on a very simple formula: above a concise bass sequence in the triple meter of the sarabande, the upper voice ascends and descends; parallel to this, the harmonies constantly shift between major and minor. This scheme developed in the Baroque era into the most popular basic pattern for variations, which are increasingly shortened and speeded up until the listener becomes dizzy. The 2018 Swiss Music Prize-winning lute virtuoso from Ticion, Luca Pianca, a longtime collaborator with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Giovanni Antonini, will perform some of the most beautiful examples of the follia (plus other crazy “extravaganzas”) on his theorbo, whose deep, brazen sound is ideal for the prominent bass part. And in the process he will drive us into a frenzy.