- June 14, 2021
Fieri Consort are used to singing in unconventional acoustics. Their first appearance in BREMF 2014 was singing ‘Cries of London’ in The Latest cavern in Manchester Street! They were excellent then, and again as soloists in ‘Ruggiero’ 2015, in their Armada concoction 2018 and singing Barbara Strozzi in 2019, when, as today, they combined with members of Lux Musicae London to conjure up an historic musical experience.
‘The Destined Knot’ is a skilful compilation of deliciously sensuous madrigals by Luca Marenzio, cunningly linked to illustrate in unaccompanied song Guarini’s complex tale of ‘Il pastor fido’ (The faithful shepherd). The story was ridiculously popular in its day, even though everything is deeply tragic until the last-minute happy ending.
The five perfectly balanced voices of Hannah Ely (soprano), Sarah Anne Champion (mezzo-soprano), Chris Fitzgerald-Lombard and Tom Kelly (tenors) and Ben Rowarth, a very resonant bass, luxuriated in Marenzio’s plangent chromaticisms and elegant word painting. This, along with the entertaining introductions, made the poet’s melancholic drama easy to follow. Their accuracy and musical rapport is of the highest order.
The singers were ably supported by members of Lux Musicae London: Daniel Swani and Sophie Creaner (recorders), Aileen Henry (harp), Kristiina Watt (lute & theorbo) and Harry Buckoke (viola da gamba). Such an erudite programme could have been overwhelmingly gloomy without their instrumental diversions and discreet strumming behind the narrations. They tactfully leavened the mood without compromising the glorious intensity of Marenzio’s plaints.
Difficult journeys in the hot weather nearly ruined their day by the sea but we must all hope that they return to Brighton again soon!
13th June, 2021