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Monteverdi: Selva Morale / Christie, Les Arts Florissants


Release Date: 10/14/2003 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord Catalog #: 1951250   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Vespers aside, Monteverdi is best known for operas and madrigals rather than the sacred music which, as Maestro di cappella of St Mark's Venice, one of the most prestigious in the' early seventeenth-century musical world, he must have been occupied with throughout the last 30 years of his life. This was also a contemporary perception; none of his church pieces achieved the fame and popularity of the Lamento d'Arianna, and much of it written during his time at St Mark's was only published in 1640 in the Selva morale e spirituale. It is a richly varied collection whose contents range from psalms with instrumental accompaniment in festive concerted style, to motets for small ensembles, simple strophic schemes for the performance of Read more metrical hymns by choirs of modest ability, to other pieces (including a Mass) in the prima prattica contrapuntal manner. It is this rewarding diversity of styles (reflecting the range of different functions and forces for which Monteverdi wrote) that has been so intelligently exploited by William Christie and Les Arts Florissants on their new record largely devoted to pieces from the 1640 collection (Harmonia Mundi HMCl250; CD HMC90 1250, 7/87). Their selection is framed by two large-scale and comparatively well-known pieces, the six-voice Beat us vir for voices and instruments, and the famous Gloria in seven parts; both were presumably for important though as yet unidentified Venetian ceremonial occasions, and exploit characteristic contrasts of idiom and texture. Sandwiched between these rather massive works are a series of small and medium-scale pieces selected not only from the Se/va morale but also including a handful of settings published elsewhere and a newly-discovered Confisebor zibi, Domine, a text which Monteverdi set on a number of occasions. This latter, found in a seventeenth-century manuscript where it is ascribed to Monteverdi, seems too reliant on stock formulas assembled in a workmanlike but unremarkable way to be authentic, but it is an imaginative touch characteristic of Christie that he should include it. There is a sharpness and brilliance about these performances, characterized by a firm, at times attractively hard soprano line, a fine clarity of ensemble, and an almost metallic finish to the sound produced by the harpsichord continuo which is used throughout. These are full-blooded accounts, lively, energetic, beautifully paced, dramatic, lyrical, remarkable. Essential listening.

-- Gramophone [12/1987]
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Works on This Recording

1. Selva morale e spirituale: Gloria in excelsis Deo a 7 by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1640; Italy 
Language: Latin 
2. Selva morale e spirituale: Chi vol che m'innamori by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1640; Italy 
Language: Italian 
3. Selva morale e spirituale: O ciechi il tanto affaticar by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1640; Italy 
Language: Italian 
4. Adoramus te, Christe a 6 by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1620; Italy 
Language: Latin 
5. Selva morale e spirituale: Confitebor tibi Domine a 5 by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1640; Italy 
Language: Latin 
6. Selva morale e spirituale: Confitebor tibi Domine a 1 by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1640; Italy 
Language: Latin 
7. Selva morale e spirituale: Laudate Dominum by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1640; Italy 
Language: Latin 
8. Selva morale e spirituale: E questa vita un lampo by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1640; Italy 
Language: Italian 
9. Selva morale e spirituale: Beatus vir a 6 by Claudio Monteverdi
Conductor:  William Christie
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Arts Florissants
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1640; Italy 
Language: Latin 

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