Claudio Monteverdi’s madrigals are a theatre of the senses. The murmur of the waves, an amorous glance, the coolness of water or the heat of the sun are all brought to life through the composer’s unparalleled gift for marrying text and music. Indeed, the music in these eight books stands alongside Schubert’s songs, or Bach’s cantatas, as one of the greatest collections of intimately personal music ever produced.
This programme aims to showcase the ravishing beauty of these madrigals, as well as their expressive scope: profound darkness and blinding light; searing grief and amorous rapture. Like Shakespeare or Leonardo, there is a fresh twinkle to Monteverdi’s genius each time you look. This is music to stir the passions and move the soul, and – as the composer explicitly desired – to make us feel and know more vividly both the pain and pleasure of being alive.