From sublime madrigals of love and loss to irreverent entertainments for the Venetian Carnival

September 5th 2014 – Ulster Museum, Belfast

For this program, Sestina performed some of the finest music ever written: Claudio Monteverdi’s 8th Book of madrigals: Madrigals of Love and War – where the composer explores the contrasting sound-worlds of the amorous and the martial emotions. Included in the selection was the stunning Lamento della Ninfa – where the solo soprano is instructed to sing “not to the beat of the hand, but to the beat of the heart”, i.e. in a free, improvisatory style. Interspersed with the madrigals was violin music by Marini and Merula.

The second half consisted of music written purely for entertainment. Adriano Banchieri’s  Il Festino nella sera dell giovedi grasso avanti cena (feast for the eve of Fat Thursday of Carnival). Fat Thursday is celebrated as the last Thursday before Lent begins (very similar to our own Shrove Tuesday), where the tradition is to eat all things sweet, and indulge in the pleasures of laughter and food with friends. Banchieri’s music has a selected cast of Cats, Dogs, filthy Monks, ugly women and lost lovers.

We were lucky to collaborate with the world renowned Theorbo player Paula Chateauneuf and professional tenor Matthew Long – who had recently recorded the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.


Musical Director Mark Chambers

Soprano Fiona Flynn and Caroline Jones, Alto Laura Lamph, Tenor Matthew Long and Thomas Herford, Bass Brian McAlea and Aaron O’Hare

Violin Carolyn Hall and Colin Norrby

Theorbo Paula Chateauneuf