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Monteverdi: Vespers of 1610 (Vespro della Beata Vergine)

16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 9, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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This performance of Monteverdi's extraordinary collection of sacred music, which received a 1999 Grammy nomination, has its good points, but it can't really be considered best even in its class. Martin Pearlman leads a relatively large-scale performance, using a 30-member chorus (often doubled by instruments) throughout; he adds some plainchant before the Psalms; he takes the Lauda Jerusalem and Magnificat at high pitch. The instrumentalists play their difficult parts quite creditably, and Pearlman takes some exciting tempos. Unfortunately, his chorus can't always keep up with him: they often sound muddy and, in fast passages, sometimes downright sloppy. The soprano soloists sing attractively but with wider vibratos than ideal for this music; the tenors, however, are very good indeed, with Richard Croft's heartfelt, sensitively embellished, beautifully modulated singing deserving an award for Best Performance of Monteverdi by a Mainstream Opera Singer. If you want a full-scale choral performance, though, you'll do better with that of René Jacobs or William Christie, and Andrew Parrott's reconstruction of a Vespers service (done mostly one-singer-per-part) is not to be missed. --Matthew Westphal

Disc: 1
1. I. Deus In Adjutorium - Domine Ad Adjuvandum
2. Antiphon
3. II. Psalm 109: Dixit Dominus
4. III. Motet: Nigra Sum
5. Antiphon
6. IV. Psalm 112: Laudate Pueri
7. V. Motet: Pulchra Es
8. Antiphon
9. VI. Psalm 121: Laetatus Sum
10. VII. Motet: Duo Seraphim
See all 15 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. XI. Sonata Sopra 'Sancta Maria, Ora Pro Nobis'
2. XII. Hymn: Ave Maris Stella
3. XII. Antiphon: XIII Magnificat
4. 1. Magnificat Anima Mea
5. 2. Et Exultavit
6. 3. Quia Respexit
7. 4. Quia Fecit Mihi Magna
8. 5. Et Misericordia
9. 6. Fecit Potentiam
10. 7. Deposuit Potentes De Sede
See all 15 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Performer: Richard Croft, Janice Chandler, Lynton Atkinson, Christopheren Nomura, Jeff Mattsey, et al.
  • Orchestra: Boston Baroque
  • Conductor: Martin Pearlman
  • Composer: Claudio Monteverdi
  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000003D2F
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,447 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Irwin Reynolds (reynoldr@nttc.org) on March 12, 1999
Pearlman's is a dazzling performance of this most astonishing of choral masterpieces; a clear first choice. Not even the benchmark recording by John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir can match it. The acoustic of the venue and the top-drawer Telarc sound combine to heighten the sublime sense of spatial dimension and spirituality at the heart of the music; and the inclusion of the plainchant antiphons (omitted by Gardiner) gives the performance a sense of occasion and completeness. This is the stuff of revelation; an experience of breath-taking beauty and wonder. If you don't already own this CD, buy it. NOW!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 10, 2004
If the editorial review is any indication, the BB recording isn't the favorite of early music heads. For a non-scholar and non-performer like myself, though, this is the most sheerly beautiful rendering of the Vespers I've had the pleasure to hear. The tempos are quick but not rushed, and the music just sweeps with joyous passion from one sonorous peak to another. Yes, there are other worthy versions of the Vespers, as with all truly giant compositions--but this is my favorite.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 1999
I have always enjoyed listening to music of the 17th century and late 16th century, but am no "expert" of that period. Music of Tallis, Byrd, Monteverdi, and both Gabriellis are so rich and brilliant in their subtle simplicities, being beyond compare with others of that period.
I found this particular CD to be of a par with what I am able to hear in my head, in my soul; as a prayer would be offered. The mixture of the rich chorus and original instrument accompaniments are very close to perfection. Comparative performances notwithstanding, I would recommend this CD as an introduction to this period of music, especially to the new listener.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on September 25, 1999
There is a prize-winning recording on Telarc of Monteverdi's "Vespers of 1610" ( CD-80453) and it is a stunner! Martin Pearlman directs the Boston Baroque and soloists in a magnificent presentation of this very unusual salute to Mary, which incorporates reminders of his opera "Orfeo" (composed three years earlier), non-liturgical motets between the psalms (imitated by many composers later on), and even sonatas into a church event-all of which innovations change it into the sort of dramatic event that only Verdi managed in his "Requiem" in another era in Italy. The soloists are Janice Chandler and Karen Cliff (sopranos), Richard Croft, Lynton Atkinson, and Brad Diamond (tenors), and Christopheren Nomura and Jeff Mattsey (baritones). The accompanying notes give you not only an essay about the work and all the lyrics in Latin and English; but also an excellent movement-by-movement analysis of the piece for which Telarc's production staff is to be commended. This is a strong Grabbit. To make things even more attractive, the set is priced as a two-CDs-for-the-price-of-one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Frederick II of Hohenstaufen on March 12, 2004
For one who does not already own this work, Pearlman is a great start. While I personally prefer the Andrew Parrott and Konrad Junghanel recordings, the Boston Baroque is certainly my favorite "more expansive" version. There can never be a "correct" recording of the Vespers as much is left to the conductors preference. Thus, no two recordings are alike, each has it's own flavor.
This Pearlman set is probably the "safest" disc for one who wants the grand majesty of the music, yet desires the devotional quality as well. Easily and by far much, much better than Gardiner's.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Teemacs on January 13, 2005
Verified Purchase
Will someone please shoot Matthew Westphal and put us all out of our misery? We have to endure his claptrap on this piece constantly. OK, so he loves the museum-piece-vaguely-resuscitated Parrott version. Fine, but I for one am fed up hearing it used to poo-pooh better versions - such as this one. It's not the best - that honour for me belongs to Gardiner in the fabulous "live" version in San Marco, followed by Suzuki with the Bach Collegium Japan, but this is definitely up in the second division. It has antiphons, but they aren't allowed to get in the way, and the singing and playing, while not the best, are pretty darn good. A version to which I shall frequently return.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Guntram on February 12, 2003
If you read the editorial rewiew above,you'll
choose wrong.The american team did this stupendous
music much better that european versions.Of course,
there are very nice portions of this on Jacobs,the
critic's choice but too there are moments so slowly
performed that I fall asleep just like Caronte in
another Monteverdi's work.The Boston players and Perlman
fulfil a remarkable and well-balanced performance,
the sumptuous tenor Richard Croft(Are there L'Orfeo
by him?If you know,please,tell me)opens spectacular
and that carry to an very uniform chorus.The only
exception are the soprano soloists,nevertheless
nothing damnable at all.This is the best:believe me!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alfred G. Warner on April 6, 2004
I only recently discovered the work of Pearlman and the Boston Baroque through their Messiah which is absolutely stunning. So, I was eager to pick this piece up, especially after listening to the brief audio clips on the site.
I have a bit of early music (des Pres, Tallis, some madrigals and the like) and a lot more baroque. What I really like about the Vespers is that they demonstrate the evolution from early to baroque quite clearly. You get both the sense of chant - and maybe madrigal forms with some of the parts for single voices - as well as the seeds of baroque style, especially in the full choral sections. Where this differs most clearly from early music is the orchestra itself to support and augment the voices.
However, that is just a description of what it resembles - the thing itself is amazing. Monteverdi used full choirs, split choirs and many parts for individual voice and small groups to create a remarkable audio tapestry. My wife thinks I am a little nuts right now but I urge you to sit down between the speakers, put this on and crank it up a little - especially in the Dixit Dominus. It is astonishing. Pearlman, the orchestra and choir of Boston Baroque have done a fabulous job.
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