September 2008

I Furiosi – Crazy CD Release Party
September 15, 2008 The Gladstone Hotel Toronto
Report by Jessica Lombardi with photos by Joe Pack
At the CD release party for their newest album Crazy, I Furiosi, a four-piece ensemble of early-music specialists, arranged a program full of mentally affected compositions, characters and composers throughout musical history, from the 17th century to the present day. In the background and setting the mood for the evening, the rotating play-list was comprised of music that varied from classic eighties tunes — including the Cars and the Beastie Boys — to Classical virtuosic pieces, and it was between this timeless musical landscape that I Furiosi took the stage and moved its audience through different time frames and mental states with their innovative sounds and charismatic performance styles.
Through interpreting their repertoire as both early-music experts and professional performers, I Furiosi’s approach appeals equally to intellect and emotion. At this performance, and on their CD, all the pieces were carefully chosen to invoke and reflect on a common theme of madness. Their collection of madsongs include: the madly virtuosic ‘Folly’ themed pieces La Folia, a trio sonata by Antonio Vivaldi, and Folias by Andrea Falconieri; the fervently repetitive "Lysander I Pursue" by John Blow; the insanely difficult Sonata detta la Luciminia contenta from Marco Uccellini, and Sonata Decima a 3 by Dario Castello; the moody and dynamic aria "Piangerò la Sorte Mia" from Guilio Cesare, and the Menuet from the Trio Sonata in G, from the impassioned Georg Friedrich Handel; choice pieces from Don Quixote including Jonathan Eccles’ "I Burn", "My Brain Consumes to Ashes" and Godfrey Finger’s "While I with Wounding Grief"; as well as pieces by the crazed genius Tobias Hume, the madman Francesco Maria Veracini, the ‘wacko of the Baroque’ Thomas Augustine Arne, and the ever-doomed Alessandro Stradella.
At the conclusion of each set, there were also rearranged songs by modern-day pop musicians: Leonard Cohen’s "Suzanne" ended the first half and Gnarls Barkley’s "Crazy" wrapped up the entire performance. Reworked, these pop re-inventions helped bridge the gap between several generations of music listeners by encompassing the art-music and popular music worlds.

An extraordinary level of musicianship was displayed by the musicians throughout the night, the result of a wealth of performance experience and education. I Furiosi’s core members — Gabrielle McLaughlin (soprano), Felix Deak (violoncello/viola da gamba), Aisslinn Nosky (violin) and Julia Wedman (violin) — are also members of various other national or international early-music groups, including the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra here in Toronto. Guest musicians at the performance, and on the CD, include Stephanie Martin (organ), James Johnstone (harpsichord), and Lucas Harris (theorbo/guitar), all very well-respected for their contributions to the practices of early music in Toronto, the United States, and all across Europe. Working together, these musicians bring forward fresh ideas which ironically stem from a distant musical past.

We welcome your comments and feedback
Jessica Lombardi
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