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Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine

Claudio Monteverdi , Giovanni Paolo Cima , William Christie , Sacqueboutiers de Toulouse , Les Arts Florissants , et al. Audio CD

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Disc: 1
1. Intonatio: Deus in Adiutorium - Domine Ad Adiuvandum - S. Marin-Degor
2. Antiphon: Dum esset rex in accubito suo - Dixit Dominus (Psalm 109) - Les Sacqueboutiers De Toulouse
3. Nigra Sum - P. Agnew
4. Antiphon: Laeva eius sub capite meo - Laudate Pueri (Psalm 122) - Les Sacqueboutiers De Toulouse
5. Pulchra Es, Amica Mea - S. Marin-Degor
6. Antiphon: Nigra sum sed formosa - Laetatus sum (Psalm 121) - Les Sacqueboutiers De Toulouse
7. Sonata a due per violino e violone in G minor - Giovanni Paolo Cima
8. Antiphon: Iam hiems transiit, imber abiit - Nisi Dominus (Psalm 126) - Les Sacqueboutiers De Toulouse
9. Audi Coelum - Omnes hanc ergo seguamur - S. Marin-Degor
Disc: 2
1. Antiphon: Speciosa facta es - Lauda Jerusalem (Psalm 147) - Les Sacqueboutiers De Toulouse
2. Sonata a tre per violino, cornetto e violone in A minor - Giovanni Paolo Cima
3. Duo Seraphim - P. Agnew
4. Sonata Sopra Sancta Maria Ora Pro Nobis - Les Sacqueboutiers De Toulouse
5. Ave Maris Stella - S. Marin-Degor
6. Antiphon: Sancta Maria succurre miseris - Les Sacqueboutiers De Toulouse
7. Magnificat - Giovanni Paolo Cima
8. Et Exultavit - P. Agnew
9. Quia Respexit - Joseph Cornwell
10. Quia Fecit - Artur Stefanowicz
See all 19 tracks on this disc

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars William Christie never disappoints! 8 Mar 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Audio CD
What a marvelous recording! As always, Christie tries to capture the old masterpiece in its most authentic version. This task is especially difficult with Monteverdi whose music came to us very imcomplete, requiring a significant amount of historical and musicological research before any performance can be attempted. But Christie excels. As always, he is helped by the extraordinary set of musicians and soloists who come to work with him. It is a marvel that so many Les Arts Florissants performers return to work with Christie time and again even though they are almost never paid in advance. It requires a lot of faith in themselves and in their maestro for these performers to invest themselves in Les Arts Florissants while relying only on the expectation of future royalties. No wonder then that their performances are always so inspired and inspiring! Other memorable performances of this kind of music which I would highly recommend include Venetian Vespers (McCreesh) and Cavalli's Vespro della Beata Vergine (Dickey).
12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous Monterverdi 24 Nov 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Audio CD
This is a truly sumptuous version. The soloists really dramatize their parts, and Christie goes for gorgeous sound and magnificent effects. This works especially well with the florid melismas set off against the plain-chant cantus firmus in the Gloria of the Magnificat. It works less well in rounding the edges of the startling rhythmic variations on the words "Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis." The gregorian antiphons are included, which for me is a plus. The recorded sound is excellent, though with a fair amount of reverberation to match the conductor's conception.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A decent Vespers... 18 Jan 2013
By christianw7 - Published on
Verified Purchase
... and very inexpensive, but you would do better with Gardiner's Monteverdi: Vespro Della Beata Vergine or Savall's Claudio Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine. This one is well sung and fine if you don't want to spend much, but it falls short of the greatness possible in this piece.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the Glory and Mysticism of the Monteverdi Masterpiece 10 April 2006
By Grady Harp - Published on
Format:Audio CD
For those who have had the privilege of singing in a chorus that has performed the Monteverdi Vespers of 1610, this splendid recording by the redoubtable William Christie and Les Arts Florissants will be a nostalgic thrill. Music such as this mighty work are the specialty of Christie and he and his forces manage to recreate the ambience and reverberation sounds of the massive cathedrals where the work was originally performed.

Though a lengthy piece, the variation in sounds between choruses and soloists and antiphonal brass choirs and continuo never ceases to amaze. Here are passages that are quite medieval along with harmonies and rhythms that are forward looking. It is a work with many faces and many paths to ascend the high vaults of Gothic architecture!

Christie has selected excellent soloists: Sophie Marin-Degor, Maryseult Wieczorek, Artur Stefanowicz, Fabian Schofrin, Paul Agnew, B?atrice Martin, and Jonathan Cable are all first rate. Though there are several superb recordings of the Vespers 1610, this recording manages to reach the pinnacle of atmosphere and mysticism better than the others. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, April 06
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serene, Solemn, Statuesque Monteverdi 7 Oct 2008
By Giordano Bruno - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
If your heart pants for a monumental choral performance of the Vespers, the kind that would fill a basilica with sound, this interpretation by William Christie is the best you'll find. In addition to the nine soloists, Christie employs three chanters and a chorus of twenty-seven; the surprise, with all those voices, is that he doesn't sacrifice much clarity or tonal definition. Verily, recording technology is showing promise! Christie's regular orchestra, Les Arts Florissants, is fortified for this performance by the three cornetts and three tombones of Les Sacqueboutiers de Toulouse, and by two recorders and a dulcian. I certainly can't fault the addition of the dulcian, even if it's only heard distinctly for a few bars here and there. Every Baroque performance should include a dulcian.

This is the Vespers conceived on a monumental scale that reminds me of the grandly posed paintings of Piero della Francesca or Giovanni Bellini. Check the tempi, for instance, against other performances, especially that of Tragicomedia. Christie takes every movement at least 15% slower. That, of course, may be necessary with such mass vocal forces, but the emotional effect is to emphasize grandeur at the cost of fancifulness. Tragicomedia takes the opposite route, using only the soloists as choir, aiming for sprightliness and clarity instead of power. If I had to choose one performance of the Vespers and discard the other, I'd probably keep the Tragicomedia... until the Magnificat, when Christie's interpretation reaches its climax of awesome magnificence. Fortunately, I can afford to keep both.

Christie inserts two extra instrumental movements into this performance - a sonata for violin and gamba, and a sonata for violin and cornetto with dulcian, both by Giovanni Cima. Given the scale of this performance, the insertions fit very well and sustain the mood perfectly. However, some items of the "concert" version of the Vespers are omitted from this "liturgical" recreation, for reasons that Christie explains in his notes. Unlike the dour sound of the Vespers as conducted by Jordi Savall, the 'mood' Christie creates is one of high counter-reformation glory. This is a very fine recording in every detail, far more impressive than the CDs of the same music conducted by Andrew Parrott and Masaki Suzuki.

But wait! There is yet another superb performance of the Vespers, with all the concert movements but without the antiphons, recorded by Concerto Italiano, with Rinaldo Alessandrini conducting. The singers in Alessandrini's performance are flamboyantly rich and resonant, particularly the basso. The cornetto playing is extraordinary. It's impossible, really, to assign an order of preference among these three, Christie, Alessandrini and Stubbs.
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