Magazine article Gramophone

Monteverdi: Vespro Della Beata Vergine

Magazine article Gramophone

Monteverdi: Vespro Della Beata Vergine

Article excerpt

Monteverdi

Vespro della Beata Vergine

Namur Chamber Choir; Cappella Mediterranea/Leonardo Garcia Alarcon

Ambronay [F] [2] AMY041 (88' * DDD * T/t)

This is in many ways a 'traditional' Monteverdi Vespers. carrying little in the way of musicological baggage. Performed in the published order with liturgical additions limited to short chant antiphons before the psalms, soloists interacting with a ripieno choir of 21, some extra instrumental doubling and a Magnificat at high pitch, its principal novelty is to have approached the problem of there being no set of chants both musically appropriate to the score and liturgically appropriate to any one feast day by selecting texts for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and then writing new, pastiche chant melodies for them. They sound convincing enough to my inexpert ears; but more striking in any case is the manner in which they are sung, with Solesmes-style weediness rejected in favour of something more full-throatedly coloured by southern European, Byzantine and Muslim traditions. The results are described here as 'work in progress', but again sound plausible and sincere, as well as echoing something of the inflected exoticism of Monteverdi's vocal writing elsewhere. …

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