Hearing the phenomenal40. First glimpse of Striggio's mass in surround sound

As I’ve mentioned in earlier blog posts, a CD and DVD is about to released by a group of singers called I Fagiolini – the little beans. It contains, among other things, two pieces of music for a phenomenal forty separate voices* (hence my attempt to get the #phenomenal40 hashtag off the ground – help!). One is called Spem in Alium (a well known piece to music boffs and people who generally don’t see enough sunlight), and the other is called the Missa Ecco sì beato giorno / ecce beatam lucem.

This is such a crazy, big, groundbreaking recording, I’ve gone out and bought a surround sound DVD system just to hear it at its best.

Composed around 450 years ago, there is a real connection through this music to an age long past, but which fascinates us still – the age of Tudor England, and our intoxication then and now with the elevated lives of royals and high society.

If you’ve seen the first of these two videos, you’ll know that last weekend I was lucky enough to grab a couple of hours with the man who has made this recording happen – Robert Hollingworth. In this video there’s a tantalising extract of the recording, you get a sense of what it is like to stand in the middle of these ethereal voices – choral and instrumental – and how it feels to be totally enveloped by Striggio’s mighty, long lost Mass.

If, like me, you learned a new word while watching the video. You’ll find the definition of “bifurcated” here. A day without learning, ey?

Because this recording is unlike anything so many people will have heard before, I really want to encourage you to share this video and blog post, to get news of the recording out there. If you’re excited by this recording I’d love you to share this blog post, Facebook ‘like’ it (up there at the top!) and if you tweet it, it’d be great if you could use the hashtag #phenomenal40.


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* It gets even better – at one point the ‘new’ Striggio piece goes up to sixty separate voice lines. Incredible.