Hexperos is an Italian duo founded in 2004 by Alessandra Santovito (soprano voice, flute) and Francesco Forgione (double bass, cello, bardic harp, viola da gamba, percussions and keyboard).
Their line up consists of various talented musicians such as the violinists Domenico Mancini, Alessandro Pensa and Isabell Presenza, the harpist Francesca Romana Di Nicola, the percussionist Francesco Savoretti, and bassoonist Manuel Manzitti.
Their albums often feature ancient instruments such as medieval flute, hammer dulcimer and Appalachian dulcimer played by Alessandra and Francesco.
Thanks to her countless experiences, Alessandra can sing in various ways, so that her voice, like their music and her lyrics, ranges from the Mediterranean style to the north European one, from the ancient genre to the modern one. Much importance is given to the lyrics of the songs and often you can find significant quotes or passages transposed into music.
Francesco is in charge of recording and mixing each song too: he takes care of every step during the realization of Hexperos's albums. His love for ancient and modern music is mirrored in his compositions and arrangements.
The name Hexperos comes from Hesperides and Hesperos, which is the name of the first star that appears at twilight. This is also the favourite star of the goddess of love, Aphrodite. The Hesperides are nymphs who tend to a tree with golden apples and they sing with sweet voices.
In 2004, with the song entitled The Warm Whisper of the Wind, the band is officially born. This first song is published in a compilation entitled Flowers Made of Snow by the Swedish label C.M.I. the same label of Alessandra’s previous project, which was named Gothica and had great success in the 90s among lovers of obscure atmospheres. Alessandra wrote music and lyrics for both of Gothica’s albums entitled Night Thoughts and The Cliff of Suicide.
In 2007, Hexperos’s first full album comes out, entitled The Garden of the Hesperides, for the independent Portuguese label Equilibrium Music. This garden represents Hexperos’s musical world, a place where you can collect many of the influences from which the songs originate, such as their passion for contemporary music; for composers like James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer, James Horner, Philip Glass, Michael Nyman; for classical music, particularly for baroque and for ethnic music, especially Celtic, Spanish and African, for this reason in this album there are also two personal interpretations of Ave Maria by Giulio Caccini and "Nana", one of the Siete Canciones Españolas by Manuel de Falla.
Their second album, entitled The Veil of the Queen Mab, is published in September 2010. The title of this new album comes from El velo de la reina Mab by the Nicaraguan writer and poet Rubén Darío (1867 - 1916).
A short tale from the collection Azul whose immense lyricism, inspired by melancholia and fairy tales, has brought fame to Dario’s verses, in which we find typical South American magical realism, ancient mythology and pure fantasy.
Queen Mab is quoted by many international artists of different art fields; for example, many will remember Shakespeare mentioning her, through the mouth of Mercutio, in Romeo and Juliet, or referring to her myth in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The Garden of the Hesperides and The Veil of the Queen Mab present different characteristics. The first one is more minimalist, while the second is richer in orchestration. Both of them received great critical and public success worldwide.
It isn’t easy to ascribe Hexperos to one particular genre, in fact we can perceive diverse influences in their music, more generally they can be ascribed to neo-classical, heavenly voices, ethereal wave and neo-folk fields.
Hexperos is strictly bound to art and literature. Much importance is given to the texts of the songs and often you can find significant quotes or passages transposed into music.
Some of the quotations we can find are by Apuleius, Shakespeare, Alda Merini, D. H. Lawrence and Rubén Darío. Because of their dreamy or obscure atmospheres, some of their songs have been used in short films.
- 2007 – Hexperos - The Garden of the Hesperides (EQM)
- 2010 – Hexperos - The Veil of Queen Mab (EQM)
- 2000 – Gothica – Night Thoughts (C.M.I.)
- 2003 – Gothica - The Cliff of Suicide (C.M.I.)
- 2004 – Flowers made of Snow (C.M.I)
- 2008 – Nikolaevka (Palace of Worms)
- 2008 – In the dark room vol. 1 (Darkroom Production)
- 2010 – Cantus 1: Mediaeval Pagan Folk (Lichtbringer)
- 2011 – Berceuses des Fées et petites Sorcières (Prikosnovénie)
- 2005 Respiri – Corde Oblique (Ark Recordings);
- 2009 Ősforrás - The Moon and the Night Spirit (EQM)
- 2009 The stones of Napels – Corde Oblique (Prikosnovénie)
- 2012 Graines de Berceuses (Prikosnovénie)