Monteverdi: Vespro

Monteverdi: Vespro

by La TempêteLa Tempête


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There's a new gang of Monteverdi interpreters on the block, and they're scarily good. The young French ensemble La Tempête and conductor Simon-Pierre Bestion offer an uncannily vivid reading of Monteverdi's "Vespro della Beata Vergine, SV 206," the so-called "Vespers of 1610." Bestion starts from the fact that the "Vespers" were, even more than the opera "Orfeo" that preceded it by three years, a virtuoso compositional display of all the techniques in the air in the fast-changing scene of the early 17th century. It has florid monody; it has madrigal-like passages; it has Venetian polychoral styles; it has an impressive instrumental sonata; it has old-style polyphony rooted in chant, which ties the whole thing together. The work is a stunning example of unity in diversity, and that unity stands up to the diversity Bestion emphasizes: each type of music is given its own distinctive interpretation. The choral passages, with a folklike full-throated quality, may be the most different from what you've heard in earlier readings of the "Vespers" (sample the "Lauda Jerusalem"), but everywhere Bestion exhorts his singers and players to unusual timbres; he has selected them from among a variety of backgrounds and has used his choices well. The one place listeners may pause is at the addition of folk "faux-bourdon" (Italian: falsobordone) settings of some of the texts, placed next to Monteverdi's settings. This fluffs the work up to more than two hours in length and, one might argue, disturbs Monteverdi's delicate balances. The faux-bourdons are also, however, thrilling to listen to, and strict adherence to the musical text has often proven to be a bad idea when it comes to Monteverdi. So pay your money and take your choice: this is a major new Monteverdi "Vespers."

Product Details

Release Date: 10/11/2019
Label: Alpha
UPC: 3760014195525
catalogNumber: 552
Rank: 24105

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