Magazine article Gramophone

Monteverdi: Vespro Delia Beata Vergine

Magazine article Gramophone

Monteverdi: Vespro Delia Beata Vergine

Article excerpt

Monteverdi

Vespro delia Beata Vergine

Ludus Modalis / Bruno Boterf

Ramee (F) (2) RAM1702 (91' * DDD * T/t)

The bold claim that this is 'the first recording of the Vespers in the alternative version proposed by the composer, without concertato instruments' is untrue--the York Bach Choir and Peter Seymour already recorded Monteverdi's iconic collection with the voices accompanied only by continuo instruments, and without concertato instruments (Cloister, 2004)--although nowadays their version is next to impossible to find. In principle it is a plausible practice that less abundantly resourced churches could have used for the part-books to fit local circumstances.

A few aspects of Ludus Modalis's interpretation are anachronistic--such as bowed bass viol continuo in solo pieces (not normal practice in early 17th-century Italy), soloistic passages sometimes sung by multiple singers on a part (particularly those lines sustaining a cantus firmus), and chiavette clefs are ignored in the six-voice version of the Magnificat (its implausibly high range is nevertheless executed beautifully). Plainchant antiphons are sung either side of the psalms but the alternating solo pieces, motets and the hymn were surely never intended to be performed in their published sequence during an actual Vespers service; the remainder of liturgical proceedings after the Magnificat is absent. This thoughtful and enjoyable performance is essentially another modern day reinvention of Monteverdi's fascinating masterpiece. …

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