Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Florilegium Chamber Choir - Monteverdi, Cavalli & Carissimi - 05/22/11

Monteverdi: Selections from the Third Book of Madrigals
Cavalli: L’alma fiacca svani from La Didone – Christie Finn
Monteverdi: O primavera
Monteverdi: Occhi un tempo mia vita
Carissimi: Ferma, lascia ch’io parli (The Lament of Mary Stuart) – Christie Finn
Monteverdi: Vattene pur crudel, Part I
Monteverdi: Là, tra ‘l sangue, Part II
Monteverdi: Poi ch’ella, Part III
Monteverdi: Rimanti in pace, Part I
Monteverdi: Ond’ei di morte, Part II

Even though we're nearing the end of May and the regular musical seasons are over or slowly coming to an end, that does not mean that there is no music to be heard in the Big Apple (That'll be the day!). So when I realized that the Florilegium Chamber Choir was coming back to the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in my neck of the woods, I immediately marked the date on my calendar. And sure enough, after tackling some challenging contemporary works by Ligeti last winter, they were all back on Sunday afternoon with some more traditional Baroque Italian pieces by Monteverdi, Carissimi and Cavalli.

A quick look at the program and you knew you were not in for anything even remotely cheerful. The whole performance seemed to revolve around the eternal themes of love’s joys and sorrows as well as death, and even the natural attractiveness of the Italian language did not manage to lift up the general mood. The concert was nevertheless a lovely journey thanks to the ethereal combination of multi-layered harmonies that kept of melodies lines delicately intertwining and progressing.
The soprano of the afternoon, Christie Finn, had a clear, pretty voice that she was able to put to good use especially in Carissimi’s The Lament of Mary Stuart. One of the very first “mad” arias ever, it describes Mary Stuart’s state of mind during her final moments and gives the soloist plenty of opportunities to display her vocal skills, which Christie Finn did with much aplomb.

Even if the weather outside was cold and gray and the music inside was soft and sad, Sunday afternoon in the church turned out to be a very pleasant and rewarding time.

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