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Cat. No. CHAN 0749 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 0749 - Monteverdi: Monteverdi Series: 2
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Available From: 01 February 2008
Volume two continues to juxtapose the full range of the secular chamber works, from a cappella madrigals through duets to grander pieces with strings, so that in any single disc the listener can appreciate the full extent of his genius in this genre. The Guardian wrote of volume one’s wide sequence ‘It’s put together with imagination, wit and profound admiration of Monteverdi’s word setting, and every number is performed with the same combination of sterling values’.

This second volume allows the listener to trace Monteverdi’s evolution from the early Mantuan a cappella madrigals that made his reputation to the late concerted madrigals of the 1630s written for the Viennese court. These styles seem worlds apart, yet both are forged by the same desire, to confront and master the tension between mere art and real life. Volume one was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice and reviews said ‘I Fagiolini are most seductive and persuasive in Monteverdi… Frankly you won’t hear madrigals better sung,’ (Independent on Sunday) and ‘This release guarantees both immediate and lasting satisfaction… it belongs in any decent Monteverdi collection,’ (American Record Guide).

Robert Hollingworth hopes the recording will ‘bring certain extraordinary madrigals into the light’. One such piece is ‘Rimanti in pace’, which, as James Weeks also says of the much better known ‘Si ch’ io vorrei morire’, is unlike any other Monteverdi madrigal. Amongst the other works included is the glorious Sestina, taken from Sixth Book, which has its own real-life context: it was written by 1610 at the request of Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga, in memory of the young soprano Caterina Martinelli, who had lodged with the Monteverdis and had been about to sing the title role in Monteverdi’s new opera Arianna when she died. Also represented is the Seventh Book which really consolidates Monteverdi’s new approach to secular vocal expression, an enormously varied collection of solo monodies, duets, continuo madrigals, arias and even a ballo, Tirsi e Clori.

"The singing and playing are wonderfully sensitive and acute. It’s classy, provocative stuff"

The Guardian

"This is a disc to be relished as much for its sudden contrasts as for the ensemble’s unfailingly spirited, idiomatic performances… In terms of expressive range, I Fagiolini is without equal."

Independent on Sunday

"‘Rimanti in pace’ is an early masterpiece from Book 3, sung with the tenderest of touches at the melting harmonies, and the ‘Lagime d’amante’ (book 6) – written in memory of Caterina Martinelli who died of smallpox before she could take the title role inMonteverdi’s ’Arianna’ - is given the most persuasive of performances I have heard of this piece."

BBC Music Magazine

"Under Robert Hollingworth’s inspired direction, the five singers squeeze all the emotion possible out of the suspensions, both diatonic and chromatic. The same five are equally passionate in the sorrowful ‘Lagrmime d’amante’. The disc ends with the ballo ’Trisi e Clori’: here Hollingworth varies the scoring to excellent effect. Another unmissable disc, then."


"I Fagiolini are surely unequalled in their ability to project Monteverdi’s madrigals as miniature dramas… Such graphic outpourings of overwhelming emotion are perfectly complemented by more light-hearted pieces such as the delightful duet Chiome d’oro, with its captivatingly dancelike violin ritornello."

The Telegraph

"Robert Hollingworth’s group offer more of their trademark imaginative programming in this second in a series working the crannies of Monteverdi’s madrigals. Plucking skilfully from most of the early master’s nine book’s of Madrigals, I Fagiolini garnish this secular repertoire with their usual fine musicianship and flair."

The Times

"As the group’s director, Robert Hollingworth, mentions in his refreshingly honest booklet note, these works ‘never reveal all their secrets in any one performance’, although Fire and Ashes discloses Monteverdian secrets with almost embarrassing, certainly captivating, generosity."

Classic FM

"The performances are dramatic, brilliant, expressive and well-sung"

Early Music Review

"The singers are permitted strong personalities and for me the music usually benefits from such a confident and animated standpoint. The instrumental forces employed – harpsichord, virginals, percussion, chitarrone, lute and harp – are carefully balanced, so as not to intrude but support ... I Fagiolini indulges fully here, yet manages to control a sense of the musical whole. This is an inventively constructed recording, which succeeds on its own terms in splicing together Monteverdi’s secular chamber works through a variety of milieu, here spanning the period 1592-1638."

International Record Review

"This recording is quite a treat! The blunt sensuousness depicted on the CD sleeve effectively prepares the listener for the strikingly luscious and constantly varied sound dominating the recording. The opening Sinfonia from Ballo delle ingrate makes it clear that the singers of I Fagiolini are supported by a first-class instrumental ensemble ... Overall this is a first class recording and a must for any lover of Monteverdi."


Musica (Italy)


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