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Monteverdi: L'Orfeo

Monteverdi: L'Orfeo

22 Apr 2013

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Disc 2
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 22 April 2013
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Avie Records
  • Copyright: (c) 2013 Andrew Parrott
  • Total Length: 1:43:15
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00CEV32T4
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,359 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Wake on 16 Aug 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Monteverdi's "Orfeo" has always been a darling of early music revivalists, because a lot of information about the first performances survives, and it is full of catchy tunes. Modern productions began in 1904 and recordings followed from 1939. It's not all that difficult technically - a school recorder group could play the dances - and so, as HIP performers have grown skilful, there has been a tendency for them to add more and more elaboration, using Monteverdi's own, already complex, instructions for instrumentation and ornamentation as a mere starting point.

The USP of this "Orfeo" from Andrew Parrott is that it reverses the trend. With an almost Puritan zeal Parrott insists on doing just what Monteverdi tells him to, in performance conditions as like those of Mantua in August 1607 as he can recreate. The result sounds rather austere - almost as if this were religious music - and is certainly very different from other, allegedly HIP, versions on CD and DVD.

We need to bear in mind is that "Orfeo" was produced by the leading dramatic poet and musician of their day in a very high-minded environment. Renaissance courts saw themselves as recreating the manners and entertainments of the ancients, and believed that telling a story through music - "favola in musica" - was itself a practice of the antique Romans. It is easy to imagine that the Gonzagas in Mantua took this new work seriously, and that a certainly solemnity surrounded it. It was part of a search for truth and beauty.

Beauty we certainly find in the present performance. Parrott has a strong team of long-term collaborators, all experienced and skilled in this music.
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