Friday 7 September 2012

Courtauld Late - Music from Drawings

Last night, 6 September, the Courtauld Gallery held one of their late openings. There was the exhibition, Mantegna to Matisse, plus talks from Niccola Shearman and music from Exaudi, conductor James Weeks. The exhibition was impressive in that it was taken entirely from the Courtauld's own holdings.

Highlights for me included two Mantegna drawings (preliminary sketches for one of his etchings), a highly finished Michelangelo drawing intended as a presentation piece, a lovely Pontormo of one of his young gallery assistants, a spectacular Rubens of his wife and a presentation drawing by Canaletto of the Thames riverside, but there was so much more.

The four singers from Exaudi sang four madrigals by Arcadelt including one to a text by Michelangelo, which provided a wonderful link to the exhibition. Then between these we heard two of James Week's own madrigals, distallations of moments from the Arcadelt written with highly visual scores. The programme was repeated so we managed to catch most of it twice, which was a benefit. Hearing it in a relatively small gallery was a privilege and took you back to the madrigals very origins.

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