5 Star Review from the Guardian: "Dazzling"
Bath Internation Music Festival, Bath Abbey Diamond Jubilee Concert, 5th June, 2012
If Robert Hollingworth's I Fagiolini began as a handful of beans in Oxford in 1986, this Bath Festival concert was a bit like having several splendid beanstalks sprung from them, with Jack himself handing out golden eggs in the form of the most glorious polychoral music by the 16th-centruy Allesandro Striggio. In the mid-1950s, Striggio's extravagantly scored work effectively served as diplomatic Faberge eggs on the European mission he undertook on behalf of Cosimo de' Medici. It was on a detour to London that Stiggio met Queen Elizabeth I and that historical connection was the seed of this diamond jubilee celebration.
I Fagiolini won major awards last year for their recording of Striggio's 40 and 60-part mass, missing for over four centuries, but hearing the performance live in Bath Abbey was a spine-tingling experience. Five choirs of eight parts each - I Fagiolini joined by Bath Camerata and supported by organ, viols, sacbuts, cornets and ducians - were disposed around the nave, creating a captivating atmosphere where individual voice s emerged with clarity as well as making concerted harmonies swell and face, separating and fanning out in a kaleidoscope of sound. The second Agnus Dei, with 20 more individual lines added for dazzling effect, was unlike anything of it's time.
Striggio's brilliant Ecce Beatam Lucem had opened the performance and Tallis' Spem in Alium - probably inspired by Striggio, although written some 40 years later for Elizabeth I - sounded even more magnificent wth the presence of instruments. The Venetian splendour of Gabrieli's Magnificat at a 20.28 (con il sicut locutus), reconstructed by Hugh Keyte, was also stunningly executed under Hollingworth.