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Christmas In Venice / Gardiner, Monteverdi Choir, Philip Jones Brass


Release Date: 12/07/2010 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 436285  
Composer:  Giovanni GabrieliGiovanni BassanoClaudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi ChoirPhilip Jones Brass Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 weeks.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

There is some grand and characteristically sumptuous music on this record of motets and instrumental pieces that might have been heard during the feast of Christmas in St Mark's or one of the other great churches of Venice round about 1600 or a little later. A strong point in its favour, too, is the unhackneyed choice of programme: the instrumental Sonata pian' e forte, of course, is an old favourite, and the two earlier double-choir motets of Gabrieli, Angelus ad pastores and 0 magnum mysterium, are also relatively familiar; but the three remaining Gabrieli motets, all taken from posthumous publications and among his most elaborate polychoral pieces, are much less often tackled—not surprisingly, since they call for exceptional resources. Read more Giovanni Bassano, one of Gabrieli's lesser contemporaries at St Mark's, is represented by a pleasing if unremarkable motet for two choirs—one of high voices and the other the normal SATB combination—and Monteverdi, who became maestro of St Mark's only after Gabrieli's death, by a rather uncharacteristic little piece, in which two sections of recitative are enclosed within a double refrain of dance-like simplicity and liveliness.

A well-planned disc, then, and I wish I could give it an absolutely whole-hearted welcome. But although I admire John Eliot Gardiner's willingness to rethink this music for himself rather than relying on standard styles of interpretation, I have to say that I find his handling of rhythm here so idiosyncratic as to be distracting. Not always, of course; the slow, duple-metre sections with which many of these grand ceremonial pieces begin are often taken quite straightforwardly. But a triple-metre alleluia (the standard ending) tempts the latent choreographer in Mr Gardiner to exaggerated accents and overdrawn phrasing. The one at the end of Audite principes conjured up in my mind's eye a vision of Doge, Patriarch and assorted reverend signors in the middle of their solemn procession down the aisle, breaking into a nifty passepied—appropriate, perhaps, to the court of France a hundred years later, but surely not to the carefully preserved dignity of the Venetian oligarchy. This concentration on rhythmic clarity may (though I doubt it) be an attempt to compensate for fuzzy church acoustics; if so, it is unnecessary, for the recording is in fact admirably clear—even a little lacking in atmosphere, I think, though one can always imagine the music being performed in, say, the Scuola di San Rocco instead of St Mark's or San Zanipolo. The brass ensemble is particularly well recorded, even if trumpets are strictly speaking an anachronism in this music. With some justification (though at times it makes for difficulties of balance) Mr Gardiner uses a solo voice and instruments for one of the choruses in a polychoral piece, and he is well served by his singers, the counter-tenors Charles Brett and John Angelo Messana and the tenors Philip Langridge and Martyn Hill; I particularly liked Mr Messana in Salvator nosier to which he brings a breadth of phrasing that is elsewhere in rather short supply.

-- Gramophone [12/1972]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Canzon per sonare no 28 by Giovanni Gabrieli
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Venice, Italy 
2.
Audite principes by Giovanni Gabrieli
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1615; Venice, Italy 
3.
Hodie Christus natus est by Giovanni Bassano
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1591; Venice, Italy 
4.
Angelus ad pastores ait by Giovanni Gabrieli
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1587; Italy 
5.
Symphoniae sacrae, Book 2: Quem vidistis pastores a 14 by Giovanni Gabrieli
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1615; Venice, Italy 
6.
Symphoniae sacrae, Book 2: Salvator noster hodie dilectissimi natus est a 15 by Giovanni Gabrieli
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1615; Venice, Italy 
7.
Sacrae symphoniae, Book 1: Sonata pian e forte alla quarta bassa by Giovanni Gabrieli
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1597; Venice, Italy 
8.
O magnum mysterium by Giovanni Gabrieli
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1587; Italy 
9.
Exultent caeli by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1629; Italy 
10.
Vespro della Beata Vergine: Magnificat(s) by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  John Eliot Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Monteverdi Choir,  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1610; Mantua, Italy 

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