‘Breathtaking performances of delicious music’Gramophonene
ATALANTEErin Headley, director
‘Atalante and its inspired director must be congratulated for bringing together musicianshipand scholarship in a way that is, in the end, truly revelatory.’ Ian Fenlon, early Music
‘If your head has ever been turned or your heart pierced by Monteverdi’s more famous laments, you’ll probably love this’ Irish Times
With Monteverd's Arianna and the birth of opera and solo song in the early 1600s, a compelling new genre emerged that would sweep the whole of the 17th century...The heirs of Monteverdi in Rome, led by Luigi Rossi and Marco Marazzoli, raised the lament to even greater expressive heights. Helen of Troy, Dido, Artemisia, Mary Magdalene and St Catherine are but a few of the tragic heroines who have recently been rescued from the vaults of the Vatican Library by Erin Headley and her ensemble Atalante.Atalante's performances have captivated listeners from around the world since 2009 with this remarkable and enchanting repertoire whose hallmarks are sensuality, realism, ecstasy and eroticism: qualities most vividly exemplified in art through the narrative dramatic sculptures of the incomparable Gian Lorenzo Bernini. First awakened in Rome, this ultra-expressive, extravagant style later came to be known as ‘Baroque’.
To present the music as fully immersive experiences in the concert hall, Atalante have created musica illuminata:staged narrative scenes based on images from antiquity portrayed as in Baroque art. Characters in Caravaggio-style costumes, designed by Alessio Rosati step out of the picture to declaim and re-enact their remarkable stories.In Atalante's videos, these dramatic narratives are set in evocative surroundings, with subtitles to elucidate the dramatic unfolding of the poetry, allowing listeners to virtually experience the music with the cultural store of a 17th-century mind.
At the heart of Atalante is the lirone, a multi-string bowed instrument whose magical powers were said to 'transport the soul and elevate the spirit'. That other-worldly sound combines with Italian triple harp, chitarrone, harpsichord and viols to create an extraordinarily ethereal and luxuriant continuo for the accompaniment of this sublime repertoire.
‘Music of the highest invention and emotional sophistication. The rich accompaniment by Atalante, not least the unique sound of the lirone, surrounds the voices like luxurious Baroque embroidery.’ International Record Review