Vocal ensemble mix it up

VOCAL ensemble I Fagiolini will perform a varied programme at the Stephen Joseph Theatre tonight.

Formed 25 years ago, the group specialises in early and contemporary music.

Their stylish staged productions of Renaissance and Baroque music-theatre works, together with virtuosic performances of the contemporary repertoire, have won them friends from the BBC Proms to Soweto and brought this repertoire to specialist and new audiences.

Their programme includes a new work by British composer Orlando Gough. It combines the music of 16th century Flemish composer Giaches de Wert with the poetry of one of the 16th century’s most important and flamboyant poets, Torquato Tasso, who finished life in a mental asylum with delusions that he was going to be murdered.

“The text consists of 14 intense miniature poems,” says Mr Gough. “The music is very varied, exotic and dramatic, with obvious influences from Messaien and certain types of world music”.

I Fagiolini director Robert Hollingworth adds: “I’ve long been fascinated by the ‘lyric poetry meets Dungeons and Dragons’ world of Tasso’s Jerusalem Freed, a crusading epic that Monteverdi and others found so inspiring. I wanted a new piece based on it but which would be relevant to the exciting music of this period that I love.

“Orlando Gough and Timothy Knapman have solved this with a brilliantly conceived series of episodes to be inserted between the pages of a moving cycle of pieces by Monteverdi’s inspiration, Giaches de Wert. The score looks a challenge but inherently singable and great fun!”

Tonight’s show is due to begin at 7.30pm.