Thursday, August 23, 2012

Magnificent late Prom - I Fagiolini

A remarkably full house for a remarkable late prom
A truly remarkable Prom last night - recreating music of 400 years ago, given by I Fagiolini under their massively talented director Robert Hollingworth.  They were joined by the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble and The City Musick.  The idea was to give something resembling a Vespers that would have been sung around 1612 - although of course without the actual service of some of the possible embellishments (like fireworks) that might have happened in a grand Italian household.

The opening number was Viadana's Deus in auditorium, Dixit Dominus, a lovely performance with all the singers and (almost all the) instruments. Then Gawain Glenton and Emily White performed a set of "Divsions" on Palestrina's 'Introduxit me Rex', and there was more fine Viadana, with Clare Wilkinson as soloist. Then a curious and interesting Plorabo die ac nocte by Alessandro Grandi.

There was then a stunning performance of a reconstruction by Hugh Keyte of a 20/28-part Magnificat by Gabrieli. This was, as Keyte admitted, "after" Gabrieli since he was reconstructing an arrangement for 7 choirs of a lost original for 3, and only the parts of Choirs 1 and 2 are extant.  However the overall result was quite amazing.  Towards the end a trumpeter and two drummers appeared in the organ loft with bells and cannons (recorded) coming from the top right of the Hall. The overall effect was magnificent.

A Monteverdi Salve Regina was a very moving duet, and then another remarkable Gabrieli reconstruction by Hugh Keyte, of his In ecclesiis. This reconstruction was mainly expanding Choirs III and IV and there were certainly some "crowd pleasing" elements but of course there were "crowd pleasing" elements in renaissance music and rightly so.

Altogether a triumphant evening - in which the cumulative effect was even greater than the sum of the excellent parts.  As the best choral music and concerts should be.  It was also gratifying to see the Albert Hall so full (the capacity is just over 5,500 and I would be amazed if it were less than 65% occupied, so over 3,500 people for a concert of 400-year-old music from 1015 to 1130.

Our daughter-in-law was one of the additional singers which is what prompted us to attend, but we were delighted to have done so, since otherwise we would have missed an exceptional evening. Catch it on the web, or buy the CD.

PS there is something amazingly visually compelling about theorbos, and Lynda Sayce sounds and looks magnificent.

No comments: