Italian Fire - English Ice
Director - Robert Hollingworth
England and Italy at the turn of the 16th century.: the greatest a cappella music ever written.
While Monteverdi perfects the passionate miniature in Mantua and Venice and Gesualdo desperately tries to outdo… well, everyone, in London the younger English composers, inspired by William Byrd, turn to melancholy.
I Fagiolini and Robert Hollingworth have a life-long love affair with Monteverdi: five CDs, one major film, countless broadcasts and YouTube videos, 88 performances of the immersive project - The Full Monteverdi. Reaching their 40th anniversary in 2026, the group attempts to sum up what they’ve learnt along the way.
At the same time, their understanding of their own English repertoire, the plangency, the melancholy expressed through dissonance (which Monteverdi also loved) shines a spotlight on this very English melancholy.
Is it really Italian Fire and English Ice?
Or does each exist in the other?
Wilbye – Draw on, sweet night
Sweet honey-sucking bees
Weelkes – Noel adieu thou court’s delight
Thule, the period of cosmography
Tomkins – Music Divine
Too much I once lamented
Monteverdi – Cruda Amarilli
Lamento d’Arianna Sfogava con le stelle
Rimanti in pace - and more
Gesualdo – Mercé grido piangendo
Asciugate i begli occhi