Striggio 40-part Mass: From dream to chart-topper

Tuesday 21 June 2011, 11.00AM

Speaker(s): Robert Hollingworth (I Fagiolini)

Last September, solo-voice ensemble I Fagiolini rehearsed and recorded their biggest project to date: a recreation of Alessandro Striggio's Mass in 40 parts (1566). Rediscovered after four centuries of obscurity, this mass - the "missing link of Renaissance music" - seems to have inspired Tallis' 40 part motet Spem in Alium. I Fagiolini did not take the 'easy' route of assembling 40 singers for an all-vocal performance, but performed both works with a rich palette of instrumental Renaissance colour. So for four days, over sixty Renaissance period instrumentalists and singers (the biggest pro gathering in this country for about 20 years) converged in London for intensive rehearsing and recording which culminated in the Decca surround-sound disc released in March and in the top 5 of the specialist classical chart since then.

This enormous undertaking represents the intersection of many aspects of the music world: editing from part books, performance practice, collaboration between a huge and disparate ensemble of musicians, cutting-edge recording technology, and the essential arts management issues of fundraising and publicity.

Come and hear I Fagiolini's director Robert Hollingworth talk about the research and artistic vision behind this project, the real-world networking that brought it all to life, and the sounds of the recording itself, taking advantage of the Rymer's state-of-the-art sound equipment. This seminar will be followed by a live workshop on the mass directed by Hollingworth. Audience members will observe the workshop from the center of the stage, surrounded by the choirs, for a truly immersive experience. If you are interested in singing in the workshop, email Robin Bier (rb580) for more information.

Here is a link to a microsite and 5 minute teaser documentary on the Striggio project to whet your appetite for epic-scale consort music:

Location: Rymer/107