Surprises aplenty from I Fagiolini: Monteverdi’s other Vespers

I Fagiolini‘s very interesting programme of music by Monteverdi and his contemporaries pulls together a wide range of works, but somehow lacks an ensemble feel. These “Other Vespers” are not exclusively by Monteverdi: Robert Hollingworth has included pieces by Monteverdi’s contemporaries Bovicelli, Donati, Usper, Viadana and Gabrieli, as well as earlier bits from Monteverdi’s own corpus (such…

Music more than words: Britten and Tippett at the Aldeburgh Festival

Although I had undoubtedly come to Snape that evening solely in order to hear Ian Bostridge sing Britten and Tippett, I left feeling the most astonished, and exhilarated, by Britten’s extraordinary String Quartet no. 1, played with blistering skill and forensic intensity by the Arcadia Quartet. Britten’s String Quartet no. 1 had a tremulous, magical opening into which…