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Monteverdi: Selva Morale E Spirituale Vol 1 / Cavina, La Venexiana

Release Date: 12/16/2008 
Label:  Glossa   Catalog #: 920914   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  Claudio Cavina
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Venexiana
Number of Discs: 3 
Imported from : European Union   
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

MONTEVERDI Selva morale e spirituale Claudio Cavina, dir; La Venexiana GLOSSA GCD 920914 (3 CDs: 208:22 Text and Translation)

This completes our survey of the recent collections that have drawn on Monteverdi’s late publication of his collected sacred music ( Fanfare 34:4). As anticipated, Claudio Cavina has included fewer pieces than the others. His three discs are laid out as two sets of Vespers and a Mass. Both Vespers Read more (for the archangel Gabriel and St. Joseph) have chant antiphons, and the hymn for each is the appropriate hymn text set to one of the hymn tunes in the collection. The Mass includes just enough of the four-voice Mass to fill out the seven-voice movements, as Garrido did (but Garrido also included the complete four-voice Mass as well). The Mass Propers are replaced by psalms and motets not used in the rest of the layout, even if they don’t exactly belong where they are placed. He uses a ripieno group added to the predominant solo voices, and his instrumental group includes violins, trombones, and theorbos. The five moral pieces, two of the hymn settings, the motet Ab aeterno , and the balance of the four-voice Mass are omitted, but he does add the Pianto della Madonna at the end of the Mass. Hence, while not utterly complete as Gabriel Garrido’s set was (Junghänel also came close), this is a set of programs that arbitrarily but effectively presents most of the published volume in reasonable order.

While some may quibble about Cavina’s program choices, his execution is superb, as his previous Monteverdi recordings would have suggested. The singing and playing rank La Venexiana with the finest Italian ensembles, and in such repertoire as this that means with any ensemble. If solo voices are preferred, the choice is between Junghänel and the ongoing Christophers sets (in the previous review, I slipped up in one place by referring to Garrido in this context). Cavina and Garrido are a close match in their use of slightly larger forces, with points added to Garrido for completeness. Since both Garrido and Cavina completed the seven-voice Credo with Monteverdi’s four-voice setting, it may be noted that Andrew Parrott (13:4 and 17:5) convincingly argued that Giovanni Rovetta had completed the Credo, and his realization should not be overlooked.

The boxed set resembles an earlier Glossa issue, the Victoria Tenebrae music (29:2). Both sets were recorded (by different ensembles) at San Miguel in Cuenca during two successive annual festivals of sacred music and packaged in three slim jewel cases slipcased with a large booklet. All in all, there is an abundance of riches in this collection.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

Selva morale e spirituale by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  Claudio Cavina
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Venexiana
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1640; Italy 

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