Magazine article Gramophone

Monteverdi: Vespro Della Beata Vergine

Magazine article Gramophone

Monteverdi: Vespro Della Beata Vergine

Article excerpt

Monteverdi

Vespro della Beata Vergine

Amarcord; Lautten Compagney / Wolfgang Katschner

Carus [F] CARUS83 394 (80' * DDD)

To my knowledge this is only the second time a Monteverdi Vespers has fitted on to one CD, which may not be all that important a thing in the age of the download but does at least tell us something about the interpretation. Yet although at 80 minutes this is undoubtedly a swift Vespers (if not as speedy as the 75-minute version from Christina Pluhar and L'Arpeggiata--Virgin, 5/11), the interesting thing is that it does not often hit the ear as so. The only movements noticeably faster than usual are the 'Dixit Dominus' and the 'Sonata sopra Sancta Maria', but neither actually feels rushed. Wolfgang Katschner, it seems, has saved time less by driving the music hard than by making sure it never dawdles.

The small-scale forces used here--10 solo voices and the minimum number of instruments (though some play discreetly in places where not specifically requested)--probably help it to be so light on its feet, and allow for clarity of texture and beauty of line, too, wonderfully captured in the controlled resonance of a hardish church acoustic. …

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