Mon­teverdi reimagined for the mod­ern era

Mak­ing its de­but with an in­spired pro­gramme, the Fieri Con­sort is one to watch, says Han­nah French

BBC Music Magazine - - Choral & Song -

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

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