"the very embodiment of sprezzatura" - Early Music Today
"technically superb, but in a highly expressive way" - Robert Hugill
What we do
The Monteverdi String Band is dedicated to celebrating the sound and style of the early violin consort, in both well-established repertoire and innovative new programmes. Our instruments are carefully chosen: they are modelled on originals from the early decades of the 17th century, rather than the 18th century, when developments which led the violin away from its origins as a consort instrument transformed its sound into something perhaps more brilliant but less rich and grounded. We relish the sound of pure gut strings in equal tension; this and the use of matching instruments brings a unique sound to the ensemble: as a recent critic wrote, “The MSB’s sound is quite unlike any that of any other ensemble I know that plays this music”.
We enjoy working with other like-minded ensembles, including the English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble, Passacaglia, and His Majesty’s Sagbutts and Cornetts, in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Lully and Biber, with the occasional foray into the 18th century.
The challenge of creating new programmes is one we find richly rewarding and for which we are delighted to have earned a reputation. This began with The Madrigal Transformed, first performed in Sardinia in 2014, in which we interleave “modern” (17th century!) and ancient (16th century) madrigals with contemporary readings; our reconstruction of Monteverdi's Combattimento was created for Martin Randall’s 2015 Venetian festival and will be performed in UK festivals in 2016-17; and autumn 2016 brings a new musical-theatrical collaboration on the life of Galileo.
Il Combattimento di Tancredi and Clorinda , Venice, 2015 Photo: Karolina Sofulak
News: March 2016
Tickets are selling fast for our Arts Council England funded staged reconstruction of Combattimento at the London Festival of Baroque Music on 14th May.
This extended version of the show we took to Venice features madrigals, virtuoso instrumental works, contemporary poetry, historical costumes and swordsmanship. Karolina Sofulak's powerful direction and Natalie Rowland's innovative lighting design promise a very special evening's entertainment.