Mstation Classical Reviews

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Wed, 30 Apr 2008

Monterverdi, Orfeo

Monteverdi, Orfeo
Concerto Italiano

The two discs for this also come with a nice thick booklet with lots of nice illustrations as well as a very interesting essay on the history of opera and its early styles as well as Monteverdi's place in it - which was a follow on of the Florentine absorbtion in an imagined sort of Greek classicism. Imagined, because no-one knew just what ancient Greek music sounded like (no bouzouki jokes please). The sorts of things that exercised their brains was the relationship of voice to music and the styles of both. The purists imagined a rather simple but powerful style.

The style of Orfeo is Monteverdi's inspired take on all this which wouldn't have been altogether loved by the purists but was, nevertheless, powerful and reasonably simple harmonically.

This particular release is notable for the considerable brio that sometimes enters the performance. Quite often this sort of thing is performed in a very mannerly way, which is actually quite suitable and pleasant. I wouldn't like to say which way was "right" but both are valid and both (as lomg as "mannerly" doesn't mean "plodding") are very nice to listen to. The recording quality on this one is excellent as well. (Baron K)

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