Second in I Fagiolini's Monteverdi series for Chandos, 'Fire and Ashes' explores the pains and joys of desire and loss in music from the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Books of Madrigals. This is a disc to be relished as much for its sudden contrasts as for the ensemble's unfailingly spirited, idiomatic performances. After the greedy energy of "Ardo, avvampo" the desolation of "Rimante in pace" is doubly arresting. So too the haunting goodbye of "L'agrime d'amante al sepolcro dell'amata", aguably Monteverdi's finest madrigal. In terms of expressive range, I Fagiolini are without equal.
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