Mstation Classical Reviews

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Thu, 01 Jun 2006

Monteverdi Vespers

Claudio Monteverdi, Vespers
The complete 1610 publication
including the six part Magnificat and Missa In illo tempore
Choir of the King's Consort
The King's Consort
Robert King
2 CD's, Hyperion

I had planned to be in Venice for most of April this year, and perhaps longer if the right, slightly decadent, high-born woman had come along to sweep me out of my monastery and ply me with silken dreams and fabulous feasts in her glorious, slightly damp-stained, faded palazzo. And with little trips to be born heavenwards in ancient churchs by the music of Vivaldi and Monteverdi and anyone else who might have been played. I was going to have been only a little bit fussy.

Maybe now it will be September or October. Or maybe some sweet dreams should just be thought about and postponed continually. I shall report back what transpires.

These two CD's bring us Monteverdi's Vespers of the Blessed Virgin. This came some three years after Orfeo and there is some thought that he might have never heard it all performed together. This is our treat. It was composed while in the service of the house of Mantua. He would go on to be choirmaster at St. Mark's, Venice, in 1613 and this work is supposed to have been what he prepared as a sort of calling card for prospective employers as he had become disatisfied in Mantua.

Plainsong and polyphony, psalms and Seraphim - it is all very beautiful, very well performed, and very recommended.

Oh, and good luck to Helen, who is leaving Hyperion to take up a new position at Wigmore Hall. (Baron K)

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