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Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Like the soundtrack to a madcap Brueghel scene: I Fagiolini take a Renaissance chanson and create a modern satire about aristocracy, extinction and the environment

I grew up in North Lincolnshire, and the Boxing Day Hunt was always a big thing. Now we have chance to experience that virtually as I Fagiolini's new short film The Stag Hunt is released on Boxing Day. The film, directed by John La Bouchardière, is based around the chanson La Chasse by Renaissance composer Clement Janequin (c1485 -1558).

In the chanson, Janequin uses vocal polyphony to portray a royal hunting party stalking and chasing a stag for the king to kill, complete with tumultuous sound effects. I Fagiolini's artistic director, Robert Hollingworth, describes the piece as 'like the soundtrack to a madcap Brueghel scene'. La Bouchardière's film aims to help clarify the narrative of the chanson, which can be tricky to follow in the music, by using the camera to steer the eye to details and plot twists that evade the ear.  

But La Bouchardière has also created a modern satire about aristocracy, extinction and the environment, and for the film’s release, I Fagiolini has partnered with Born Free and will donate a third of all proceeds to the wildlife charity.

I Fagiolini has often performed Janequin’s La chasse (1537) in concert and wanted to give it a larger life, taking music that is often considered obscure and presenting it in a way that might reach a wider public, and the project is just the latest in a long collaboration between I Fagiolini and John La Bouchardière, which has led to several ground-breaking projects for stage and screen: The Full Monteverdi (2004, film version 2007), Betrayal (2015) and Ode à la Gastronomie (2016)

The Stag Hunt will be available to watch as video on demand on the ensemble's website.

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