Celebrated British ensemble reconstruct 400-year-old lost choral masterpiece for seven choirs and release world-premiere recording of Italian Vespers extravaganza
Following their multi-award winning 2011 Decca debut recording of Striggio’s Mass in 40 Parts from 1566, Robert Hollingworth takes his maverick ensemble I Fagiolini on a new journey unearthing lost works from the High Renaissance and early Baroque. The group’s second Decca album 1612, set for release on June 5th, presents the world-premiere recordings of Viadana’s 4-choir Vesper Psalms, a reconstruction of Giovanni Gabrieli’s 28-voice Magnificat, a reconstitution of his In Ecclesiis and other lost treasures from this glorious period of multi-choir music. 1612 is a majestic and intricate feast of kaleidoscopic color for voices, brass, wind, strings, lutes and organs.
The recording of Gabrieli’s lost Magnificat is the culmination of a musical detective story. Reconstruction of the piece had been considered impossible, with only 8 of the 28 parts existing, until Hugh Keyte (whose new edition of Tallis’ Spem in Alium featured on the Striggio CD) noticed a number of provocative clues. With scholarship fired by imagination, Keyte, Hollingworth and I Fagiolini brought the piece back to life and recorded it for the first time, including full military fanfare. The recording recreates a thanksgiving Vespers in commemoration of the famous Venetian naval victory at Lepanto in 1571, celebrated for over 200 years after the event in a new festival – The Feast of the Holy Rosary.
The title of the album refers to the momentous year of 1612. Gabrieli, the most brilliant of Venetian multi-choir composers, died. Monteverdi was fired from his position in Mantua and shortly afterwards moved to Venice. His former colleague Viadana published a collection of 4-choir Vesper Psalms with a layout considerably more forward-looking than Monteverdi’s 1610 Vesper psalms. Written for more clear-cut groups of soloists, choir and two accompanying ‘choirs’, here realised on cornett, violins, sackbuts, dulcians and organs, the psalms combine delicious invention with massive sonority.