Erin Headley’s award-winning ensemble Atalante is named in honour of Leonardo da Vinci’s friend and pupil Atalante Migliorotti, the lirone’s inventor. That magical and hauntingly beautiful bowed instrument has been Erin Headley’s domain since 1980 through a number of acclaimed performances and recordings. In the 17th century, the lirone was associated with lament, a genre that first appeared during the generation of Monteverdi and reached its culmination in Rome.
Atalante’s luxurious continuo ensemble of triple harp, chitarrone, keyboards, viol consort and lirone accompany a sublimely dark repertoire that has been languishing in the Vatican Library for 300 years. Atalante’s debuted in 2009, at the Southbank Centre in London, with staged performances of the laments of Artemisia, Helen of Troy, Mary Magdalene and the Blessed Virgin. The ensemble’s exploration and revival of this fascinating repertoire, including the staging and filming of it, has received continuing support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Great Britain. Atalante has made four recordings in their series Reliquie di Roma – music by Luigi Rossi, Marco Marazzoli, Giacomo Carissimi, Domenico Mazzocchi, Bernardo Pasquini and Alessandro Stradella – which have been released on Destino Classics (Nimbus Alliance). Members of Atalante come from the UK, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and the USA.