James Weeks - Primo Libro premiere
At the Aldeburgh Festival in June, excerpts of Primo Libro were performed by EXAUDI. El Pais, the Spanish Daily, describes the occasion below.
This whistle-stop chronicle must end with brief reference to the concert offered on Saturday in Orford Church by the vocal group EXAUDI, with a programme based on the sometimes heavy chromaticism of the madrigals of Lasso, Rore, Marenzio, Luzzaschi and, above all, of the theorist Nicolà Vicentino, who experimented with an octave not of 12 but rather of 31 different notes, thus making his pieces into the true precursors of modern microtonality. The conductor of the group, James Weeks, explained all these technical schemas in an accessible way and, like a good Briton, with an enormous practical sense and using examples sung by himself. The greatest surprise of the concert was not, however, the accumulation of dissonances ("Tune up your ears!" the conductor asked the public), but rather the world premiere of several madrigals from the 'Primo Libro' of Weeks himself, which were extremely original and interpreted wonderfully by the seven singers,of whom the magnificent mezzo-soprano Lucy Goddard stood out as a luxury item for a group of this kind. Britten and Pears, who loved music and words, would have enjoyed themselves enormously...'
(21 Aug 2017)