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MusicPart of Humanities

Atalante CD released to rave reviews

Published: 2 December 2011
Theodora Baka as Artemisia

AHRC Creative and Performing Arts Fellow Erin Headley has released the first CD of her new recording series Reliquie di Roma (Relics of Rome) to widespread critical acclaim. Entitled Lamentarium, the disc is based on Headley's research on repertoire starring the lirone, a haunting and ethereal bowed instrument favoured for early modern vocal accompaniments.

In the 17th century the lirone was said to 'transport the soul and elevate the spirit'. Its true realm was the lament, a genre embracing the whole spectrum of human emotions and which reached its height in Rome in the 1630s. Headley’s ensemble Atalante is named in honour of Leonardo da Vinci’s friend and pupil Atalante Migliorotti, inventor of the lirone. Their luxurious continuo band of triple harp, chitarrones, keyboards, viol consort and lirone greatly enhances the sublimely dark and sensual vocal repertoire, including music not heard for over 300 years.

Reliquie di Roma celebrates the generation of Roman composers after Monteverdi, of which Luigi Rossi was the main figure. His suave and lyrical melodic writing and ultra-emotive recitative was the finest achievement of the original bel canto school, which also numbered such distinguished composers as Marco Marazzoli, and Domenico and Virgilio Mazzocchi. Lamentarium offers laments of the aging Helen of Troy warning of the destruction caused by a beautiful face, and of Artemisia cautioning against excessive grieving, Mary Magdalene’s torturous spiritual and sensual journey at the Crucifixion, and the revelations of the Blessed Virgin.

Lamentarium is available from Nimbus Records. These rich and vibrant settings also make superbly compelling videos, and in a further effort to promote this magnificent repertoire, Atalante have selected scenes for staging, costumes and subtitles. Clips will feature on YouTube and longer versions will shortly be available on DVD.

‘Breathtaking performances of delicious music'
Marc Rochester, Gramophone

‘One of the best recordings I have heard all year’
Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International

‘I can’t believe that Lamentarium will not be in my top ten recordings of the year’
Tim Thurston, RTE Lyric FM Ireland

‘If your head has ever been turned or your heart pierced by Monteverdi's more famous laments, you'll probably love this’
Michael Dervan, Irish Times

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