September 17, Saturday, 6 pm
St. Catherine’s Church, Vilniaus g. 30
Gourmet delights from Renaissance Europe
England, Spain, Italy: from starters to dessert
I FAGIOLINI, United Kingdom
- Anna Crookes – soprano
- Clare Wilkinson – mezzo-soprano
- Robert Hollingworth – countertenor, director
- Nicholas Hurndall Smith – tenor
- Jonathan Sells – bass
A musical meal from Renaissance Europe, sampling tastes and cultures from different countries. The English ‘starter’ includes a dance from William Byrd, an ode to him by Tomkins and an intricate madrigal by Gibbons. The musical tapas that follows takes us to Spain, offering works from the Palace Songbook accompanied by a salad (ensalada being the term for the mixture of languages and time signatures that ‘El Fuego’ uses, and the title under which Mateo Flecha’s collection of works was published in Prague in 1581). The main courses (primi and secondi piatti) come from Italy: two major madrigal cycles by Monteverdi and De Wert, a Dutchman who lived and worked in Italy – masterworks of the period. Between these, audiences shall enjoy pallette-cleansing sorbets from France – the playful bird-calls of Janequin and the chansons of Le Jeune.
Grounded in the classics of Renaissance and 20th century vocal repertoire, the group I Fagiolini is renowned for its innovative staged productions of Renaissance and Baroque music theatre works, recognition for which came in 2005 with the prestigious award the Ensemble Prize from the Royal Philharmonic Society. The ensemble’s stage productions include Handel with masks, Purcell with puppets and madrigal comedies with more masks. In 2004 with director John La Bouchardière it premiered The Full Monteverdi, a dramatised account of the composer’s Fourth Book of Madrigals (1603) which has since been turned into a highly successful film shown all over the world. The Birds followed in 2005, a new opera for vocal ensemble, speaker and no conductor by Ed Hughes. In 2006 I Fagiolini toured its Simunye programme, the result of a South African choir collaboration from 1997. In 2009 it launched Tallis in Wonderland, a new way of hearing polyphony. I Fagiolini has recorded 16 CDs and two DVDs featuring neglected English and north Italian Renaissance work and given live performances around the world, from BBC Proms and the Lincoln Center Festival to the Far East and Africa. 2011 sees the group’s 25th anniversary, celebrated with a European tour, and the release on Decca of a lavish world première recording of Striggio’s 40-part mass (until recently lost).
Robert Hollingworth founded I Fagiolini in 1986. Directing this group has taken up much of his time since but he has directed other ensembles at home and abroad, most recently the French choir Accentus, BBC Singers, NDR Chor, the Academy of Ancient Music and the English Concert. In 2004 Robert directed the Nederlands Kamerkoor in a ground-breaking new music-theatre project (Faust) set in startling venues such as an Amsterdam vast ship-building yard and a disused station. Also in Holland, he directed Opera Zuid’s underground production of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. He has conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra in a project with ‘The Full Monty’ composer, Anne Dudley, and the BBC Singers in programmes of Renaissance and Baroque works, Poulenc, Schnittke and Adès. Robert writes and presents programmes for BBC Radio, notably ‘The Early Music Show’ and ‘Discovering Music’, is a judge on the UK’s Choir of the Year and has worked on a number of films including Quills. From 2006-9 he was an artistic advisors to the York Early Music Festival and since then has advised the Trigonale Festival, Austria. Monteverdi and Monty Python are equal influences.