Cries from the Heart

Italian and French passion – 17th and 20th century classics

Performers: 8 singers
Monteverdi – Madrigals from Books IV-VIII (1603-38)
Poulenc – Sept chansons (1936)
Monteverdi – Lamento d’Arianna (1614)
Berio – cries of london (1974)

I Fagiolini is strongly associated with the music of Monteverdi. From a new generation of British performers, it has carved out a reputation for performances and productions of his works that combine intelligence and passion. Behind all of this is director Robert Hollingworth’s expert knowledge of the period and very personal approach to the music.

What separates Monteverdi from most of his contemporaries is the power of his music to move modern listeners: there’s something visceral about the way he embodies emotion, while the acoustic layout of his vocal writing is perfect, especially the way he uses dissonance. The same could be said of Poulenc, who had just been working on Monteverdi madrigals before writing his ‘Sept chansons’ in 1936, a rarely heard series of settings of Apollinaire and the surrealist, Paul Éluard. Their fleeting imagery is magically caught in these seven masterworks.

Berio wrote his ‘cries of london’ for the King’s Singers in 1973 before rearranging it for the Swingle Singers. It’s a characterful, comic and virtuosic play on the Tudor genre that incorporated the cries of London street traders into consort works.

“A group with the versatility of a Meredith Monk.” BBC Music Magazine

“The sheer wit and charm of I Fagiolini’s singing and acting tend to obscure the high musical standards involved in everything they do.” The Guardian