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Monteverdi: L'orfeo / Harnoncourt, Hansmann, Berberian

Release Date: 11/30/1992 
Label:  Teldec Das Alte Werk Catalog #: 42494   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Cathy BerberianLajos KozmaKurt EquiluzMax van Egmond,   ... 
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus MusicusMunich Capella Antiqua
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 48 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Put simply, Monteverdi’s musical career was nothing less than spectacular: he revolutionized Western harmony, played a major role in the development and dissemination of a new genre — opera — and composed major works still heard regularly. Every time the curtain rises in an opera house or a theory student labels a dominant seventh chord, Monteverdi’s influence is in action.

Premiered in 1607 at the Mantuan court, L’Orfeo stands as one of Monteverdi’s biggest operatic successes. As the liner notes that accompany this recording explain, this work represents a "masterly resolution to the debate between partisans of the text on one hand and of music on the other." In other words, Monteverdi’s writing strikes an
Read more incredible balance between intelligibility and expression of words and beautiful musical construction.

This recording, which uses the forces of an army of singers, presents a wonderful reading of Monteverdi’s work. The standouts are, oddly enough, not the solo singers. Instead, Harnoncourt’s period instrument ensembles as well as the Capella Antiqua München give the most riveting performances. Harnoncourt finds a distinctive and captivating sound that fits the music beautifully. The period instruments imbue the music with a fascinating freshness — one is reminded of Harnoncourt’s feelings about period instruments. Instead of using them solely for "historical" purposes, he feels that they are the best instruments on which to play the music. This pragmatic (and non-pedantic) approach is immediately understandable. Harnoncourt has quite a feeling for the rhythmic intricacy that characterizes Monteverdi’s music. His duple to triple shifts are seamless, and the tempi he chooses are invigorating without being rushed. All the details are audible without sounding studied. Monteverdi’s modal harmonies strike listeners as occasionally excruciating; however, under Harnoncourt’s careful leadership, they sound expressive and exquisite. The choruses are performed with utmost precision. Ensemble problems are non-existent, consonants are uniformly executed, and balance is impeccable."

-- Jonathan Rohr, MusicWeb International Reviewing APEX 61516
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Works on This Recording

L'Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Cathy Berberian (Mezzo Soprano), Lajos Kozma (Tenor), Kurt Equiluz (Tenor),
Max van Egmond (Bass), Eiko Katanosaka (Soprano), Günther Theuring (Tenor),
Nigel Rogers (Tenor), Jacques Villisech (Bass), Nikolaus Simkowsky (Bass),
Rotraud Hansmann (Soprano)
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus,  Munich Capella Antiqua
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1607; Mantua, Italy 
Date of Recording: 1968 
Length: 107 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: Italian 

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