Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610) (Vespers of the Blessed Virgin 'Marian Vespers')

This page lists all recordings of Vespro della beata Vergine (1610) (Vespers of the Blessed Virgin 'Marian Vespers'), by Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi (1567-1643) on CD, SACD, DVD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)


Grace Davidson, Charlotte Mobbs (sopranos), Simon Berridge, Jeremy Budd, Mark Dobell (tenor) & Ben Davies, Eamonn Dougan (bass)

The Sixteen, Harry Christophers

Harry Christophers writes: ‘Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 is quite simply one of the greatest works of sacred music ever written and without doubt the most varied and inspired before Handel and Bach began composing their oratorios and passions. Where it was written, why it was written and who it was written for are actually immaterial – suffice it to say it was quite simply his calling card for the big job, Choirmaster at the resplendent Basilica of St Mark in Venice. Its variety alone makes it unique – thrilling psalm settings with virtuosic writing for both multi-part choir and instrumentalists to exotic and sensual settings of texts from the Song of Songs for solo voices. Every movement is full of luscious harmonies, drama and an evocative musical language which is so beautifully constructed for all concerned.’

“Exemplary all-round standards are the draw here, whether solo voices, choir or instruments.” Financial Times, 15th November 2014 ****

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Coro - COR16126

(CD - 2 discs)

$28.50

(also available to download from $20.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Deluxe version


CD Album + Bonus DVD

L’Arpeggiata, the multi-faceted ensemble led by Christina Pluhar, celebrates its 10th birthday by marking the 400th anniversary of Monteverdi’s Vespro della beata vergine, one of the supreme masterpieces of music history. As Pluhar explains: “All 30 singers and instrumentalists on our recording have had a long and emotional relationship with this work.”

2010 marked the 400th anniversary of one of the landmarks of musical history, Monteverdi’s Vespro della beata Vergine, better known simply as the Vespers. Exactly 50 times younger is the multi-faceted vocal and instrumental ensemble L’Arpeggiata, founded 10 years ago by Christina Pluhar. Pluhar’s achievement was recognised in 2009 with Germany’s prestigious Echo Klassik award for L’Arpeggiata’s first Virgin Classics release, Teatro d’Amore, which presented a diverse, improvisational programme of items by Monteverdi. Here, Pluhar and her musicians engage more formally with an extended work by the same composer.

“The Vespers is one of the supreme masterpieces of music history,” says Pluhar. “Monteverdi exploits all the skills and compositional techniques that existed at the time. All 30 singers and instrumentalists on our recording have had a long and emotional relationship with this work and were very excited by creating this recording with L'Arpeggiata. Over the last 25 years, the approach to performing the Vespers has changed considerably, and hopefully l'Arpeggiata's version will make its mark."

This Vespers is the fruit of L’Arpeggiata's collaboration with the Festival de Música Antiga de Barcelona, De Bijloke music centre in Ghent and L’Arsenal concert hall in Metz in eastern France, which, with its much-praised acoustic, was the venue for recording the work. L’Arpeggiata was in residence at L’Arsenal over the 2009-10 season.

“We have taken an intimate approach: the way the music is written suggests not a choir, but a single voice for each line,” explains Pluhar. “It is always very important for me to work with voices that I feel match the colours in the music, and I have made different choices for each section of the Vespers.” Notably, the often low-lying alto parts were shared between mezzo-sopranos, countertenors and high tenors. “The twelve singers on this recording all have wonderful voices and are astounding soloists who bring both tonal beauty and a strong theatrical presence. I gave them a lot of responsibility in the ensemble work, which I feel brings us closer to spirit of the original performances. Polyphony for six or ten solo voices does not need too much intervention from a conductor in a classical sense.”

Pluhar herself plays the theorbo in this recording, and L’Arpeggiata’s famed improvisational skills are brought to new heights in the spectacular ornamentation by the cornetti and violins. Again inspired by the music’s colours, Pluhar’s chosen instrumentation includes two organs for the sections with double choir, and features the psaltery; its timbre is closely linked with L’Arpeggiata’s soundworld and Pluhar feels it evokes archaic scenes at moments in the score.

“The texts are certainly diverse … there is the purity of the Magnificat or the erotic charge of Nigra sum from the Song of Songs, and then there is the more assertive spirit of the Dixit Dominus ... We cannot be sure whether Monteverdi conceived the Vespers as a single work or as a series of separate motets, but nevertheless there is a magic in the construction of this piece, which leaves me personally in no doubt that Monteverdi ingeniously conceived the work as a unity, both musically and theatrically.”

L’Arpeggiata’s success in capturing every aspect of the Vespers was recognised by the Metz newspaper Le Républicain Lorrain: “L’Arpeggiata intrepidly tackles this complex architecture with both monastic rigour and unprecedented flamboyance, with unrivalled instrumental and vocal virtuosity … [The] validity of the tempos is always in evidence, robust and explosive. Above all, the vocal declamation is genuine. Immediately striking is the special timbre of the male singers … whose voices shoot up … like the pillars of a cathedral … as they deploy their vocal substance, and, through their projection, suggest an operatic instrument which has accommodated to baroque style.

“… The melodiously rounded sound of the three sopranos and the mezzo, with their sensitive coloratura, naturally reflects the virginal spirit of the Vespers … As for the orchestra, the cornetts assert their presence to fabulous effect, and the natural trombones are brilliantly brassy, while the theorbos, archlute and harp provide limpid tracery. Passion, and then jubilation grow from the Lauda Jerusalem to the Ave Maris Stella, sung in a prayerful voice, to the sublime Magnificat, in which the voices and the wind instruments glow into flame. All in all, a conception that is both cloistered and profane.”

“Forces are intimate and speeds brisk; vocal and instrumental colours dance; secular madrigals seem around the corner. You can’t imagine this performance echoing through St Mark’s in Venice; a Doge’s fancy dress ball, more like. It’s intensely alive and human” The Times, 12th February 2011 ****

“This exciting recording of the Monteverdi Vespers is probably the fastest ever. The double-choir effects in 'Laudate Jerusalem', for example, flicker back and forth like lightening. Even when the solo singer in 'Nigra sum' apparently lingers tenderly over certain effective words, the delicacy of his decorations retain their sweetness.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2011 ****

“Pluhar likes her cornets and sackbuts, as did Monteverdi...Pluhar’s 12-strong “choir” includes some big-name baroque-world soloists: the soprano Nuria Rial, the countertenor Pascal Bertin and the tenor Markus Brutscher. The vocal textures are always transparent” Sunday Times, 20th March 2011 ***

“This is a radical and different Vespers that really works. It works because it captures so many of this famous work's glorious strengths anew...there is no lack of crisp splendour, especially when the cornetts superimpose their dizzy decorations...And if it is the technical precision and joyful élan of the band that often commands the attention...the singing mixing thrilling incisiveness with real ardency and pliability.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2011

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2011

Virgin - 6419942

(CD)

$17.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610

Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610


Allegri:

Miserere mei, Deus

Monteverdi:

Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Salve, O Regina

Palestrina:

Stabat mater

Schütz:

Fili mi, Absalon, SWV 269

Heu Mihi Domine

O quam tu pulchra es, SWV 265


Collegium Aureum, Musica Fiata, Hannover Boys Choir & Pro Cantione Antiqua, Heinz Hennig, Mark Brown & Edgar Fleet

Alto - ALC2011

(CD - 2 discs)

$11.75

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Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)


400 years ago this September, Monteverdi’s great collection of church music, known as the 1610 Vespers, was published in Venice. To mark the anniversary, the award-winning Choir of New College Oxford, under its celebrated director Edward Higginbottom, releases its own version of this masterpiece. The performance bristles with the musical energy invariably associated with New College Choir, coloured by the very special sound of its trebles alongside outstanding tenor and bass voices. Apart from brilliant contributions from the tenors Nicholas Mulroy and Thomas Hobbs, all the solo material is taken by Choir members, emphasizing the nature of the music as a consort work. This approach to the score conforms to historical practice, retaining however a contemporary sense of drama and musical inflection. The Choir is joined by another award-winning group, the Oxford-based Charivari Agréable (director: Kah-Ming Ng). Their instrumental contribution, scrupulously following the directions given in the 1610 print, and coming to a climax in the Sonata sopra Sancta Maria and the Magnificat, brings the Vespers sequence to a brilliant conclusion. This New College version, with its unique treble voices, and faithful reading of Monteverdi’s performance instructions, is unlike any other: one to add to any library.

‘After 30 years as music director of New College Oxford, Edward Higginbottom has turned its choir into a national treasure: a choir as strong on intensity and commitment as crystal-clear of voice and vision.’ Anthony Holden (Observer May 2006)

“The tenor soloists, Nicholas Mulroy and Thomas Hobbs, are ravishing in 'Duo Seraphim'...The instrumentalists of Charivari Agréable are on fine form; they add wonderful shape to the phrases in 'Esurientes', and combine thrillingly with the boys' voices in the 'Sonata sopra Sancta maria'” BBC Music Magazine, December 2010 ****

“The sonority of the boys' voices can be quite glorious, nowhere more so than in the final pages of the extraordinary Magnificat...in a broader sense the performance is well paced and its spaciousness is ultimately thought-provoking. Singing and playing is uniformly good.” Classic FM Magazine, December 2010 ****

“the benefits are apparent right from the off, as "Domine, ad adjuvandum" shines out with a sound that is bright, strongly focused and clear, but also bright and creamy and with a characterful boyish edge to the upper lines...this recording has boys singing all the soprano solos, and a confidently musical job they make of them too” Gramophone Magazine, December 2010

“There's a fine pair of tenor soloists in the motet Duo Seraphim, and the great Sonata Sopra Sancta Maria is thrillingly done.” The Guardian, 2nd December 2010 ***

novum - NCR1382

(CD - 2 discs)

$16.00

(also available to download from $20.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)


Harmonia Mundi - HMGold - HMG501247/48

(CD - 2 discs)

$15.25

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Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)


Margaret Marshall (soprano), Felicity Palmer (mezzo soprano), Philip Langridge, Kurt Equiluz (tenors), Thomas Hampson (baritone) & Arthur Korn (bass)

Arnold Schoenberg Chor & Concentus musicus Wien, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Recorded in 1968

“This live recording from Graz Cathedral is gloriously bombastic but mushy at times, despite sprightly original instruments and sensitive plainsongs.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2009 ***

Warner Classics Das Alte Werk - 2564694648

(CD - 2 discs)

$13.25

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Monteverdi - Vespers

Monteverdi - Vespers


Monteverdi:

Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Missa 'In illo tempore' (1610)


Carolyn Sampson, Rebecca Outram, Daniel Auchincloss & Nicholas Mulroy

The King’s Consort, Robert King

A dazzling array of soloists join King - his choir and orchestra on top form - in presenting this new recording of a true masterpiece to the world: a project made possible by the generosity of all the many hundreds of people who donated to Hyperion’s appeal for recording funds in 2005.

“More than any other version, this one sounds like its director has set out to enjoy himself and forget the musicological baggage. Gleefully choral and revelling in presenting the Vespers as a work of splendour, it benefits from some strong solo singing (notably from Charles Daniels and James Gilchrist)” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010

“Despite four wonderful volumes of Monteverdi's sacred music from The King's Consort, nothing will prepare you for the ecstatic consequences of taking seriously at least one aspect of Monteverdi's so-called seconda pratica – using much freer counterpoint, with an increasing hierarchy of voices: that the word is mistress of the music. And what ecstasy! Never mind the majestic opening psalm: just listen to the eloquent gestures in the 'Dixit Dominus', which range from the declamatory to the reticent with astonishing flexibility. Or the freedom and delicacy of tenor James Gilchrist in the 'Nigra sum', equally matched by the fragile spaciousness of Caroline Sampson's and Rebecca Outram's 'Pulchra es'.
Spaciousness soon loses its fragility in the propulsive 'Nisi Dominus' and the 'Lauda Jerusalem' with its luxuriant finale. And although the 'Sonata sopra Sancta Maria' is still preferable with a solo soprano line, its instrumental variations are here dispatched with such fluency it's hard not to be won over; the 'Ave maris stella' is similarly eloquent.
The second disc includes equally superb performances of the alternative six-voice Magnificat and the Missa In illo tempore.
The cumulative effect here is of a dazzling chiaroscuro that Monteverdi surely would have recognised. With its use of full choir, King's recording has room to manoeuvre – which gives the imagination more room to take flight.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The majesty and the ecstasy - King's forces are glorious in Monteverdi… Never mind the majestic opening psalm: just listen to the eloquent gestures in the 'Dixit Dominus', which range from the declamatory to the reticent with astonishing flexibility. Or the freedom and delicacy of tenor James Gilchrist in the 'Nigra sum', equally matched by the fragile spaciousness of Caroline Sampson's and Rebecca Outram's 'Pulchra es'.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2006

Building a Library

First Choice - April 2007

Building a Library

First Choice - December 2010

Hyperion Monteverdi Sacred Music - CDA67531/2

(CD - 2 discs)

$31.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Monteverdi: Vespers

Monteverdi: Vespers


Monteverdi:

Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

New transcription by Rinaldo Alessandrini


Roberta Invernizzi, Monica Piccinini, Anna Simboli (sopranos), Sara Mingardo (contralto), Francesco Ghelardini (countertenor), Vincenzo di Donato, Luca Dordolo, Gianluca Ferrarini (tenors), Pietro Spagnoli, Furio Zanasi (baritones), Antonio Abete, Daniele Carnovich (basses)

Concerto Italiano, Rinaldo Alessandrini

“Rinaldo Alessandrini has waited long before committing to disc his thoughts on Monteverdi's most famous sacred publication. On the issues that have divided modern performers he's unflappably pragmatic. In keeping with Concerto Italiano's general approach, the vocal lines in 'choral' pieces are taken by soloists who step out of the ensemble, on the grounds, he says in the notes, that 'We possess no sources attesting choral performance of this music.' He sticks to the published order, observing that no single liturgical event can account for the presence of every piece in the collection. Finally, he transposes the Lauda Jerusalem and the Magnificat on the grounds that failure to do so would entail enlarging the overall ensemble.
These are decisions that continue to divide scholars. Suffice it to say that a clear vision results which has the virtue of coherence, though it comes at the cost of dramatic effects that many continue to hold dear. But the notion that this work wasn't conceived on the grand scale in which some performers dress it up in no way diminishes the greatness of the music.
Other details of execution aren't quite so persuasive.
In some of the later psalms, rhythmic detail tends to get lost in the overall sound, lessening one's appreciation of Monteverdi's contrapuntal virtuosity, and giving a certain 'floaty' quality that can be distracting. Not for Alessandrini the pinpoint precision and analytical clarity of, say, the Monteverdi Choir. However, the instruments give wonderfully punchy accounts of the Sonata, and at times the sackbuts and continuo come wonderfully close to impersonating a percussion section.
Those with a fixed conception of the work may fail to be convinced. Put mischievously, there's something here to displease nearly everyone.
But there are many moments that will return you to the music more violently; and you have to take seriously what so distinguished a Monteverdian has to say.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“...a fully Italian version at last (in 2004!), and one of the most imaginative for many a year...Alessandrini reveals his experience in madrigals...The consort singing is bold and focused, yet sensitive...a thrillingly full-blooded "Audi coelum" from baritone Pietro Spagnoli sends shivers down the spine.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010

“This is as passionate and Italianate an account of this wonderful score as I have ever heard. Monteverdian nirvana” Sunday Times

GGramophone Magazine

Collection

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - February 2005

Naive - up to 25% off

Naive - OP30403

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $22.00

Special: $16.50

(also available to download from $20.00)

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Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Monteverdi: Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)


Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

DVD Video

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Format: NTSC

DVDs and Blu-rays - up to 50% off

DG Archiv - 0730359

(DVD Video)

Normally: $21.00

Special: $14.70

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Monteverdi: Vespers

Monteverdi: Vespers


Bassano, G:

Hodie Christus natus est

Gabrieli, G:

Audite principes a 16, C 123

Angelus ad Pastores

Quem Vidistis pastores a 12, C 77

Salvator noster a 15, C 80

O Magnum Mysterium

Monteverdi:

Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610)

Exultent caeli


“Gardiner's first version was made with some of the finest English singers of the day and the legendary Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.
It may not be as polished, but its vitality stands up well to the later version.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Modern strings and brass, and the likes of Jill Gomez, Robert Tear, Philip Langridge and John Shirley Quirk among the soloists, give it a beefy ebullience that is matched by the forceful virtuosity of the choir...Gardiner's purposeful approach is stirringly dramatic, boldly eventful and full of ideas” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010

Decca - Double Decca - 4434822

(CD - 2 discs)

$15.50

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