La Compagnia del Madrigale’s subtle, yet powerful advocacy of great Italian madrigals continues with Marenzio's 'Quinto Libro di Madrigali a sei voci' from 1591. Their previous recordings including the recent award-winning 'Primo Libro', have demonstrated their fresh approach, imbued with invaluable years of experience in other groups such as La Venexiana and Concerto Italiano. From 2016 La Compagnia have been invited to join the concert season at Wigmore Hall. Marenzio’s 'Quinto Libro' was dedicated to Virginio Orsini, Duke of Bracciano, on the occasion of his marriage to Flavia Peretti: a wedding album full of the latest musical and poetical techniques.
Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis is probably best known for the soundtrack to the film 'Zorba the Greek,' but he has produced an extensive body of concert music and includes Olivier Messiaen among his teachers. Much of his work has a political subtext and attempts a synthesis of popular, folk and classical symphonic styles, communicating directly with simple rhythms and a pared-down harmonic vocabulary reminiscent of Carl Orff. The oratorio "axion esti" is a setting of a poem by Nobel Prize winner Odysseus Elytis that refers to events of the Second World War and the subsequent German-Italian occupation of Greece. The nationalist flavor of the piece is underscored by the use of Byzantine church music, Greek folk dances and native instruments such as the bouzouki, in addition to a vocalist cast as a "folk singer." This 1983 Dresden performance, conducted by Theodorakis himself, is sung in German.