Press room

Barbican announces I Fagiolini / Leonardo da Vinci: Shaping the Invisible

Robert Hollingworth and I Fagiolini sitting at a table

I Fagiolini/Leonardo da Vinci: Shaping the Invisible
28 April 2019, Milton Court Concert Hall

On 28 April 2019, the celebrated vocal ensemble I Fagiolini comes to Milton Court to perform in a special interdisciplinary event to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of the “Renaissance Man”, polymath Leonardo da Vinci. Alongside his artistic and scientific accomplishments, Leonardo was a talented musician, who famously described music as ‘shaping the invisible’. I Fagiolini’s new programme will feature projections of his best-loved masterworks interwoven with choral pieces that connect with the images. Leonardo expert Professor Martin Kemp and I Fagiolini’s director Robert Hollingworth will introduce the evening and put the two art forms in context.

The recently identified masterwork Salvator Mundi, described by Christie’s as the ‘biggest discovery of the 21st century’, is echoed in settings of the words ‘Saviour of the World’, by Tallis and Howells. Victoria’s Tenebrae Responsories offer a sensitive musical equivalent to Leonardo’s The Last Supper. The iconic form and proportion of the painter’s Vitruvian Man is matched by Bach, while Leonardo’s Five Grotesques is brought to life in Renaissance colourist Vecchi’s treatment. Leonardo’s famous depictions of women are seen through the prism of Monteverdi’s ‘Era l’anima mia’ and the sensual ‘aural tapestry’ of 20th-century French composer, and Messiaen pupil, Daniel-Lesur. Leonardo’s fascination with knot designs (Fantasia dei Vinci) is mirrored in a puzzling work of his musical contemporary in Milan, Josquin des Prez. Finally, Leonardo’s enquiring scientific mind is honoured in a new commission by Adrian Williams and Gillian Clark (former National Poet of Wales), entitled ‘Shaping the Invisible’.

The performance takes place at Milton Court Concert Hall as part of Barbican Presents 2018-19 season. It is the UK launch concert for the album Leonardo – Shaping the Invisible which will be released on 26 April 2019, and it also takes place just before the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death (2 May 2019).