Monteverdi reimagined for the modern era
Making its debut with an inspired programme, the Fieri Consort is one to watch, says Hannah French
Tears of a Lover: Monteverdi and Reflections
Monteverdi: Interrotte speranze; Lamento d’arianna; Ingegneri: Io non hebbi giamai pace ne tregua; Marenzio: Se quel dolor che va inanzi al morire; Rowarth: The Turn Fieri Consort; Aileen Henry (harp) Fieri Records FIER001TOAL 75:07 mins Fierce, proud, and fiery: a product of The Sixteen’s Genesis programme (which provides free training and mentoring to young singers in the art of ensemble singing), the democratic, conductor-less Fieri Consort has found profound direction in this debut recording – adeptly produced by John Rutter. Exquisite blend quickly emerges as a touchstone for the intense programme, established and encapsulated in the opening statement of Monteverdi’s duet Interrotte speranze as Aileen Henry’s Renaissance harp breaks all hope, leaving Josh Cooter and Tom Kelly to resign themselves to eternal damnation.
In an inspired move, Ben Rowarth’s commission, The Turn, alternates with the four movements of Monteverdi’s Lamento d’arianna, switching the perspective for the split second in which Teseo eyeballs his lover. It’s a clever concept, and the emotional upheaval is deftly handled as both singers and composer extend the 16th-century priorities of textual expression, speech rhythms, and surprising melodic leaps, creating and recreating piercing tension. Rowarth’s soundworld challenges from a place of commonalty: text, texture, or segue of harmonic language, before pushing the technical boundaries in a thoroughly 21st-century aesthetic.
The startling chromaticism and momentum of the Igegneri and Marenzio works shines through to complete this accomplished recital – a ref lection not only of Monteverdi, mortality and magnitudes, but of a group that gives somome of the best in the business a run for their scudi.
PERFORMANCE ★★★★★ RECORDING ★★★★★
Hear extracts from this recording and the rest of this month’s choices on the BBC Music Magazine website at www.classical-music.com
Exquisite blend characterises this intense programme
A striking combination: the Fieri Consort couple Monteverdi with Ben Rowarth