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Vespers

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 16, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

This highly anticipated recording of Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine is a new construction by Rinaldo Alessandrini. Alessandrini is one of the world's foremost Monteverdi authorities, and an all-around expert on Baroque music. His 2003 recording of Vivaldi's Vespers garnered a Gramophone Award in 2004. Monteverdi is one of our most important composers, having essentially built the bridge from the Renaissance period to the Baroque. He faced both criticism and fame in his time, as he broke tradition and rule to achieve musical goals that would eventually become the standard.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Responsorium domine adiuvandum me festina
  2. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Psalmus 109. Dixit dominus
  3. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Concerto nigra sum
  4. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Psalmus 112. Laudate pueri
  5. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Concerto pulchra es
  6. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Psalmus 121. Laetatus sum
  7. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Concerto duo seraphim
  8. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Psalmus 126. Nisi dominus
  9. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Concerto audi coelum

Disc: 2

  1. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Psalmus 147. Lauda Jerusalem
  2. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Sonata sopra sancta maria
  3. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Ave maris stella
  4. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 1. Magnificat
  5. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 1. Et exultavit
  6. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 1. Quia respexit
  7. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 1. Quia fecit
  8. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 1. Et misericordia
  9. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 1. Fecit potentiam
  10. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 1. Esurientes
  11. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 1. Suscepit Israel
  12. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 1. Sicut locutus est
  13. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 1. Gloria patri
  14. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 1. Sicut erat
  15. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 2. Magnificat
  16. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 2. Et exultavit
  17. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 2. Quia respexit
  18. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 2. Quia fecit
  19. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 2. Fecit potentiam
  20. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 2. Deposuit potentes
  21. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 2. Esurientes
  22. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 2. Suscepit
  23. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 2. Sicut locutus
  24. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 2. Gloria patri
  25. Vespro della beata vergine, for chorus & instruments, SV 206: Magnificat 2. Sicut erat


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 16, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Naive
  • ASIN: B000231VD0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #197,284 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There is absolutely nothing to fault in the musicianship of this performance of the Vespers by Concerto Italiano. Every one of the eleven singers delivers beautiful tone, sparkling style, and tight ensemble. Likewise the corps of instruments - cornetti, tromboni, flauti, strings, tiorba, arciliuto, and organo - is flawless in intonation and timbre. My ears tell me that conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini has given his cornetti, led by Doron Sherwin, unusual freedom to improvise ornamentation; at least I hear some licks that I don't recall from other performances.

It's the most subtle level of interpretation that I find a wanting in Alessandrini's Vespers. The whole performance seems vaguely neutral to me, and being neutral, Alessandrini has difficulty convincing my ears of the unity of the whole 2-CD affair. In comparison, the performance by Les Arts Florissants, led by William Christie, offers a thoroughly majestic, triumphant interpretation. Christie takes slightly more stately tempi and uses choral forces and extra instruments, but the key difference is in the conducting. At the other end of the interpretational spectrum, the recording by Tragicomedia under Stephen Stubbs is jubilant and amorous. Tragicomedia performs strictly one-on-a-part, and Stubbs takes brighter tempi in almost every section than either Christie or Alessandrini. Stubbs's conducting is more incisive rhythmically and he handles the triple rhythms more joyfully, a la ritornello. Both Christie and Stubbs get more definition from their continuo players, especially from the organs, emphasizing the structure of the music in three layers - voices, obbligato instruments, and continuous bass.
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12 Comments 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Read the other reviews for the technical details. All I can say this one rocked my world!!!
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Try as I might, listen as hard as I could for many years I could never appreciate the supposed greatness of the Vespers until this recording opened my ears. The very beautiful one-per-part voices lend a madrigal-like intimacy and sensitivity of expression while still fully equal to the music's glory. Musical ecstasy.
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By Teemacs on December 31, 2010
Format: Audio CD
...but not the best. OK, I confess, I like my Vespers grand and dramatic, à la Gardiner, my particular favourite being the old live recording at San Marco. If I could take but one recording to my desert island, it would probably be this Gardiner version. (Try out the Gardiner 2010 Proms performance on YouTube too). I generally don't like one-voice-per-part recordings, but having recently been pleasantly surprised by the one-voice-per-part Dunedin B Minor Mass recording on Linn, I thought I'd give this a try.

Big mistake! The marvellous drama that Gardiner and others bring to the piece is largely gone. In its place is this often rather flat, undramatic rendering. This is not to say that it is not well-sung and -played, it is (it is also extremely well recorded). Indeed, some of the solo and duet items are excellent, ditto some parts of the Magnificat (I actually preferred the second version of the Magnificat) and the Sonata Sopra Sancta Maria is, I think, the best I've heard. However, to me, the big Psalm settings just fall completely flat. Thud (rather, splat). I love the drama that Gardiner and Suzuki and others bring to them. I don't care how authentic is this approach and how much scholarly justification there is for it, I'm not that keen on it, and it's not one that I will listen to very often.

Now I know that there are folk who like their Monteverdi Vespers lean and thin and wearing a hair shirt. I suspect they will love this, and I respect their opinions. However, for devotees of grand Monteverdi, think twice - at least...

One other beef, which I hope is not typical. When my set arrived, I could hear stuff rattling around inside the package. It transpired that only one tooth remained intact in each of the central holders, so both CDs were sloshing around in a sea of broken teeth. I suspect that this is the manufacturer's fault, using too brittle a grade of polystyrene. Amazon's packing seemed completely adequate.
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