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Monteverdi String Band

The Madrigal Reimagined

A celebration of the Italian madrigal and the creativity and virtuosity it inspired, illuminated by contemporary readings

The Madrigal Reimagined

Supported by a grant from Continuo Foundation

Supported by Continuo Foundation

Con un non so che di frizzante – ‘with a little something sparkling’ – is how the blind poet Giulio Strozzi (1574) described the essence of the madrigal: a short poem, flexible in rhyme and rhythm, beloved of poets for brief, touching scenes of love and longing. In its musical form, though, it came to take on an extraordinary, independent life of its own: the staple of every composer, it became a vehicle for new means of expression, rather like the string quartet in the time of Beethoven.

In The Madrigal Reimagined, we take this blossoming a stage further, presenting madrigals in diverse settings from solo voice and lute to a full string band, with or without voice, to explore every facet of the madrigal’s transformative journey from gentle part song to one of the dramatic cornerstones of opera. Monteverdi’s powerfully poignant and transgressive settings (some even compared his playing fast and loose with the rules of counterpoint to heresy - no joke in the time of Galileo) nestle with virtuosic ornamental reworkings of older madrigals, and instrumental cameos to create miniature scenes, framed by topical readings from the worlds of music, dance and theatre.

  • 📅Wed 15 November 2023
  • 📍St Catharine's College, Cambridge
  • 🕑7:30pm
  • 🎫£22.50; £7.50 (concessions, with ID); free for under 18s

St Catharine's College, Cambridge
Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1RL, United Kingdom