KA001KA005: Some Strange Felicity, Sospiri Ardenti: The music of two generations of English composers comes vividly to life in a program created around Shakespearean theater music by the ensemble Sospiri Ardenti. Based on the plays Twelfth Night and The Tempest - two of the best-loved Shakespearean comedies (which were richly provided by Shakespeare himself with musical moments), this program presents dramatized scenes from the plays, incorporating 16th- and 17th-century songs and instrumental works and dance. A simple but effective staging adds drama, humor and visual spectacle! Another exciting feature of this program is the contrast in musical styles between the first and second half. In the first half, the phantasmagorical world of The Tempest, inhabited with unearthly beings, is presented with the florid and sweeping music written for the English Restoration staging, approximately one hundred years after Shakespeare's time. In the second half, the very human comedy of love and folly, Twelfth Night, is presented as Shakespeare himself might have heard it with original Elizabethan music; Fresh and surprising! Compositions from: Henry Purcell, Robert Johnson, Matthew Locke and John Banister (The Tempest); and from Thomas Morley, John Dowland and William Cornyshe (Twelfth Night)

The ensemble Sospiri Ardenti specializes in the music of the late renaissance and early baroque -- a period of turbulent discussion over the directions which music should take, and of a passionate interest in the way in which musical texts could and should be emphasized in music and in performance.  The name Sospiri Ardenti (passionate sighs) is taken from a song title out of Giullio Caccini‘s 1602 treatise, „Le Nuove Musiche.“ The humanistic renaissance search for the importance of the text and the early baroque passion for declaiming this text in an intelligible way were inspiring factors for the forming of the ensemble.  The members of Sospiri Ardenti have specialized themselves in historical performance practices, and have performed with such renowned ensembles as the Flanders Recorder Quartet, American Bach Soloists, Artek, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Mark Morris Dance Group and others.  The ensemble has performed in Europe and in America.







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