I Furiosi’s sophmore album is intended to “provide a window into the damaged human psyche [that] itself enchants and intrigues us all.” The combination of Gabrielle McLaughlin’s pure soprano and the warm string sound of Aisslinn Nosky, violin; Felix Deak, cello/gamba and Julia Wedman, violin is exactly right for the music.
Known in Toronto for their bold and imaginative programming choices, this is an ensemble doesn’t believe period performance and effete are synonymous. I Furiosi is one of the few groups I’ve heard that makes period performance sound contemporary or, to muddy the waters even more, not like a museum.
Roughly half the tracks are for ensemble only and they are just as much of delight as those with McLaughlin. Intuitive phrasing and strategic use of vibrato give the pieces a clean warmth.
The ensemble is miked closely on this record, giving the feeling of being inside the group when listening.
My only beef with this otherwise spectacular album is that the program notes are available only as a PDF from the Dorian site. They are illuminating and it is a shame they are not included with the disc.
For the final track, I Furiosi chose to include Suzanne by Leonard Cohen. Whether this was incorporated to further push the boundaries of performance practice or simply because they liked it is irrelevant. the song and playing make a beautifully haunting end to this cracking album.
1. Sonata Decima a 3 (Dario Castello, c. 1590-1644)
2. I Burn, my Brain Consumes to Ashes from Don Quixote (Jonathan Eccles), 1668-1735)
3. Passagallo from Sonata Xll in d minor (Francesco Maria Veracini, 1690-1768)
4. E pur cosi/Piangero la Sorte Mia from Guilio Cesare (George Frideric Handel, 1685-1759)
5. Trio Sonata Xll “La Folia”, RV 63 (Antonio Vivaldi, 1678-1741)
6. While I with Wounding Grief from Don Quixote (Godfrey Finger, c 1660-1730)
7. Menuet from Trio Sonata in G Major, Op. 5. No. 4 (George Frideric Handel, 1685-1759)
8. Sonata detta la Luciminia contenta (Marco Uccellini, c 1603-1680)
9. To Fair Fidele’s Grassy Tomb (Thomas Augustine Arne, 1710-1778)
10. Folias (Andrea Falconieri, 1585-1656)
11. Ohime Lassa, Aria con violines from Susanna (Alessandro Stradella, 1639-1682)
12. Deth (Tobias Hume, c. 1579-1645)
13. Lysander I Pursue (John Blow, 1649-1708)
14. Suzanne (Leonard Cohen, b. 1934)