On The Vine – June 2015
In most years Musica Viva’s concerts feature some form of vocal music, from outstanding soloists at one of our festivals to world-class choirs. In this special birthday year our International Concert Series celebrates with a newcomer to our concert platforms, a unique group renowned as much for the excellence of its singing as for its collaborations with circus performers and theatre companies.
I suspect that only an English ensemble like I Fagiolini, that takes its sense of whimsy as seriously as it takes its music, could refer to itself as “little beans” while consistently delivering awe-inspiring performances. Renowned for the finesse and scholarship of its performances of Renaissance music, the group is also acclaimed for its mastery of contemporary repertoire. Its hallmark ‘themed’ theatrical programs are brilliant and amusing in equal part, featuring tantalizing, yet strangely apt, titles like Tallis in Wonderland and The Full Monteverdi.
The program for the group’s concert tour in July is a more traditional compendium of single-part a capella music, weaving a circuitous path from the 16th to the 21st centuries, zigging through Italy, France and Britain with a final zag to Australia. The first half delivers some of the greatest madrigal gems of Gibbons, Monteverdi and Janequin, ceding the second half to the modern world and Poulenc’s surrealist Sept Chansons, plus a Hymn to Awe by Welsh composer Adrian Williams written expressly for the group.
The program’s world premiere will be provided by leading Australian composer Andrew Schultz, commissioned specifically for this tour by Geoff Stearn. Le Molière Imaginaire is a setting of the last scene of Molière’s play Le Malade Imaginaire, in a new translation by the composer with the help of English writer Tim Knapman. Molière hated doctors, and this witty evisceration of “money-raking quackery” is custom made for I Fagiolini in every way imaginable.
Carl Vine AO
I Fagiolini tour Australia 25 July – 8 August. For more information on I Fagiolini, and to book your tickets, please visit: www.musicaviva.com.au/IFagiolini