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Monteverdi: Un Concert Spirituel / Jacobs, Nelson, Grenat


Release Date: 10/10/2000 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord Catalog #: 1951032   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  René JacobsJudith NelsonBrigitte Grenat
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a good recording of some remarkable and rare music. Its rarity is largely because the genre of motet for solo voice went completely out of fashion during the nineteenth century, when such operatically inspired music was deemed out of place in church. But even if one still holds this view (and I don't), it is no excuse for neglecting some exceedingly fine music which can be performed in secular circumstances. Monteverdi was especially adept at this kind of music. Apparently not taking up church music seriously until he was about 40, and not having a job which demanded its regular composition until he was made maestro di cappella at St Mark's in Venice when he was 46, naturally he wrote in a secular way. Prayers to the Virgin are not Read more made more pious than songs in praise of Phyllida—on the contrary, they are given still greater intensity. Listen to the two Salve Regina settings on these discs; or the motets on erotic texts taken from the "Song of Songs"; or take the arrangement of Ariadne's lament made into the lament of the Madonna and you will see what I mean. There is no division between secular and sacred. Monteverdi found such a division totally irrelevant.

The manner of performance of such pieces must therefore be passionate, and so it is here. Rene Jacobs's voice has more of an edge on it than is usual with our English counter-tenors, but it is not unpleasing. Judith Nelson has one of those pure soprano voices with little vibrato, very apt for seventeenth-century music. They both know about phrasing in this style, they add occasional ornaments but never overdo it and they get to the heart of the music. I do not understand why they should sing some duets which would really be better for equal voices, but there is enough music to fit the ensemble not to make this an overriding factor. The instrumental group is also good, especially in the Confitebor tibi Domine for solo voice and strings, a splendid piece which I cannot remember having heard before. There was some pre-echo on my copy, but in general the sound is suitably resonant yet clear. If you already like, say, Monteverdi's Vespers you will certainly enjoy this music; if you don't, well then these discs would not be a bad way of finding out its rich quality.

-- Gramophone [5/1980]
reviewing the original LP release
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Works on This Recording

1.
Vespro della Beata Vergine: Duo Seraphim clamabant by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  René Jacobs (Countertenor), Judith Nelson (Soprano), Brigitte Grenat (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1610; Mantua, Italy 
2.
O quam pulchra es by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  René Jacobs (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1625; Italy 
3.
O beatae viae, O felices gressus by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  René Jacobs (Countertenor), Judith Nelson (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1620; Italy 
4.
Salve, O regina by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Judith Nelson (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1624; Italy 
5.
Messa e salmi: Confitebor tibi, Domine by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  René Jacobs (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1650; Italy 
6.
Vespro della Beata Vergine: Pulchra es, amica mea by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  René Jacobs (Countertenor), Judith Nelson (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1610; Mantua, Italy 
7.
Fugge, anima mea by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Judith Nelson (Soprano), René Jacobs (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1620; Italy 
8.
Ego flos campi by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  René Jacobs (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1624; Italy 
9.
Vespro della Beata Vergine: Nigra sum by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  René Jacobs (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1610; Mantua, Italy 
10.
Selva morale e spirituale: Laudate Dominum by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Judith Nelson (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1640; Italy 
11.
Selva morale e spirituale: Jubilet tota civitas by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  René Jacobs (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Vocale
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1640; Italy 

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