Mstation Classical Reviews

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Sat, 03 Feb 2007

Montiverdi Vespers

Montiverdi Vespers - Vespro Della Berta Vergine

Gabrielli Consort and Players

Paul McCreesh

2 CD, Archiv Produktion

Written in 1610 as part of the publication " Vespere" it was dedicated to Pope Paul V and the grandeur would suggest Montiverdi's wish to break away from the constraints of court chamber master. Vespers is the evening service of Office, and was performed with large ensembles in the case of a celebration/festival during the 17th Century.

The Gabrielli Consort and Players provide an excellent performance of this work, with the firm guide of Paul McCreesh; 25 years experienced in this work. In conversation with Tim Carter, Paul describes how his fascination with the work comes from its mystery and ambiguity. The music "forces both performers and listeners to challenge preconceptions" implying that it has more to offer each time it is performed.

As a performance, the music has clarity, and a non-intrusive ambience. Work has obviously been done to fit in with the acoustic of Tonbridge Chapel, each voicing clearly represented by both soloist and choir. The ensemble do not overcrowd the singers, nor the organ, rather, they all work together to lift the music with a gentle persuasion.

The earlier suggestion that Montiverdi was looking to improve his position in the musical world is almost surely confirmed by his move in 1613 to the position of maestro di cappella at the Basilica of St. Mark, Venice.

Take time to listen through this music, it doesn't need to be heard all at once. ( E Walton)

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