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Monteverdi: Vespro della Beata Vergine

Furio Zanasi Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £18.36 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 Dec 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Naive Sa
  • ASIN: B000231VD0
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 193,737 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OK... 31 Dec 2010
By Teemacs TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
...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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stellar performance! 25 Feb 2006
By B.B. Lilikoi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I agree wholeheartedly with Johji Josquin, who points out the key elements to this splendid performance--it is sung "one to a part" and closely miked--which combine to help to make the music so immediate and alive, my head spun around from my desk at the first sung notes and I caught myself staring at the speaker. I have four other versions of these Vespers--Suzuki's on BIS, Gardiner's on London, Harnoncourt's, and Garrido's on K167/Harmonia Mundi--and, though Suzuki's is superb and finely done, this Alessandrini version is the one that brings the music to intimate life.

I don't write amazon reviews, but I must urge any love of Monteverdi a/o baroque choral music to take this performance completely seriously. It is so lovely, achingly so, it reminds me of how I felt the first time I heard any great piece of music.

Fabulously moving, beautiful, and both tenderly and fulsomely performed. Bravo! Really.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First choice amongst one-to-a-part versions 20 July 2005
By Sator - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Vesper's by Monteverdi have now achieved the status of a landmark work in the history of music which like the music of J.S. Bach gazes Janus-like into the future as well as backwards to the past. As one of the fathers of opera there is a flair and drama that looks forward to the Baroque era while at the same time - as a work written to try to impress the conservative tastes of the Roman papacy - it looks backwards with its complex part writing in the form of parody of a mass by Nicolas Gombert, In Ilio Temporo. Despite Monteverdi's acknowledgement of the rich polyphonic traditions established by the Prima Prattica, his fusion of this with radical new elements appears to have rather disconcerted the papacy and Monteverdi came away from this venture empty handed. I can only imagine the bitterness of the dissappointed this would have caused him as he has clearly put heart and soul into this extraordinary composition, for which only prosterity would acknowledge him long after his death.

Renaldo Alessandrini's reputation has been largely built around his recordings of Monteverdi's music and so the recording of the Monteverdi Vespers is something of a genuine event. The results are everything you could have wished for - even if some of the more dogmatic critics were surprisingly sniffy in their reaction. I too usually tend to fight shy of one-to-a-part performances but when it is done with as much elan as it is here it totally silences all criticism. I love the subtle moudling of phrasing, decoration, and tempi that a smaller ensemble with a highly select group of the best singers allows. The results here are more than just merely refreshing for often they are totally revelatory.

This recording takes pride of precedence amongst one-to-a-part performances of the Vespers. If you have enjoyed Alessandrini's Monteverdi before then get this version without a moment's hesitation. If you dogmatically refuse to have any truck with one-to-a-part then I suggest you go for the Suzuki on BIS - that recording also has a wonderfully ecstatic spontaneity and powerful grasp of the overall inspiration of the work as virtually no other. Really it is a matter of taste which you pick - they are both excellent.

The recording quality here is stunningly vivid and alive as you would expect from Naive. It is however somewhat closely miked - it sounds like you are sitting in the front row near the stage. Still, it is a vivid audiophile quality experience full of wonderfully rich detail, that stands in contrast to the more recessed mid-hall balance of the BIS recording.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three, Count 'em, Three Superb Performances! 9 Oct 2008
By Giordano Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
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. As befits their different intentions, Christie's basso continuo is continuously robust (especially the dulcian) while Stubbs's is playful, even lilting at times. By the way, the Stubbs performance is a half step higher in pitch than either Alessandrini's or Christie's; the higher pitch would have been historically appropriate.

There you have it: Christie more spacious and magificent, Stubbs more intimate and lyrical, with Alessandrini between. IMHO of course, and nothing more.

*****

WAIT! Several weeks later! I've listened to the Concerto Italiano performance again, twice straight in fact. I must have had wax in my ears the first time. I totally under-rated it, especially the flamboyant affect of the singing. Very Italian! I don't mean to downgrade the Christie or Stubbs recordings, just to boost Alessandrini to the apex of the triangle, chiefly for pure sonority and for amazing detail.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful beautiful 14 Dec 2009
By S. Lynch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Read the other reviews for the technical details. All I can say this one rocked my world!!!
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A not so popular view 11 Aug 2010
By Simon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Let me say it straight and clear:
music is a universal and (!) a local affair.
I believe that a good music can cross every boundary, but on 3 conditions:
1. The musician is a master of his instrument.
2. He has something to say, That is, his playing is more than the sum of the notes.
3. He has a very close affinity or a natural attitude to the music he plays.

I found all these traits in this performance.
This is a Monteverdi piece by an excellent Italian musicians, and you can smell in it the Italian flavour, that is so natural, of course, to this great music.
Years ago i had the Gardiner and Christie versions. They are very good in respect of the first two conditions mentioned above, but in respect of the third condition i find them too universal, if you know what i mean. That is, with them Monteverdi sounds a European composer of a vague nationality and nature.

Therefore, i usually prefer to listen to an English Music performed by an English musicians, German music by German musicians, and so on. Usually, not always.
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