Preview – Love’s Exchange – La Nuova Musica with Jamie Parker at Saint John’s Smith Square


While this blog normally covers things theatrical, one of my other enthusiasms is Early Music, as my occasional posts about the Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music show. I am excited to hear that for once, my two interests will be meeting, in this case at a concert taking place as a part of St. John’s Smith Square’s autumn festival: Early Music ensemble La Nuova Musica performing with actor Jamie Parker (whom you may have seen this summer at the Globe as Henry V, or, further back in The History Boys during its run at the National) in a performance called “Love’s Exchange.”

So what exactly is going to happen at this concert (performed on period instruments) with the seemingly superfluous actor? In this case, Jamie will be reading from the poems (and prose) of John Donne to add a dramatic arc linking the various madrigals by Monteverdi. The concept is that of a love triangle, between a young rake and two women. I have a feeling things may not go very well for the young man.

Monteverdi’s music (the words of which will be projected above stage) are already extremely emotional works, and I think the marriage of Donne and Monteverdi seems very promising. La Nuova Musica, with their vision of music speaking to the audience as immediately as a good friend, would have been well worth seeing on their own: I am quite enthusiastic that this blended approach will lead to an even better experience. This Sunday, 7:30, Saint John’s Smith Square (just a few minutes from Westminster): be there!

I leave you with a selection from one of the poems that will be read during the show:

LOVE, any devil else but you
Would for a given soul give something too.
At court your fellows every day
Give th’ art of rhyming, huntsmanship, or play,
For them which were their own before ;
Only I have nothing, which gave more,
But am, alas ! by being lowly, lower.

(This review is a preview for a concert that will be taking place at St. John’s on Sunday, October 14th, 2012. Tickets are £20/£14. Thank you to Julian Forbes for taking the time to talk to me about the show.)

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