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Opera - Released October 30, 2020 | Naïve, a label of Believe Group

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
No one knows better than Rinaldo Alessandrini that Monteverdi's madrigals – to which he has dedicated a major part of his work and recordings over the past thirty years – were above all texts where the music was the servant, and not the mistress. This form of a cappella vocal polyphony, responding sensitively to the inflections of a highly expressive poetry, was born in the full flowering of Renaissance humanism and developed in the 17th century by composers such as Monteverdi, Marenzio and Gesualdo, before being supplanted by the opera. As the Italian maestro explains, in the Third Book of Madrigals, "we can already see how carefully the twenty-fiveyear-old Monteverdi chooses poetry, e.g. by Guarini and Tasso, which is capable of 'responding to the needs of the drama, of truth, humanity and emotionality, culminating at the end of his life in the lustrous triumph of his final works". This is the fifth collection of madrigals Rinaldo Alessandrini has recorded with Concerto Italiano, and it is the cornerstone of his quest for an intimate understanding of Monteverdi's repertoire – and all the music that came after it. These madrigals have "the power to allow the performers to read the human passions, perceive them empathetically, and restore them in the very finest dress" (Esteban Hernández Castelló). Their analytical yet sensitive approach leads to a precise intonation, a direct transmission of naked emotions, and the restoration of details we can only glimpse behind the words, revealing in all its beauty what lies hidden in the music: mirror images of the soul. © naive classique
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Classical - Released April 14, 2017 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Qobuzissime - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The Vespers for the Blessed Virgin by Monteverdi – Vespro della Beata Vergine – is, so to speak, a work made up of many works. The composer seems to have put everything he had into this piece, which appeared in Venice in 1610. It is as if he wanted to use it as an immense catalogue of all his skills: his facility with ancient and modern styles; with the strict and the flamboyant; with instrumentals, vocals, choruses, solos, parody masses, the magnificat, psalms... Perhaps he wanted to use the work as a CV in Venice, where he would indeed land a job as choirmaster in 1613? The fact that several passages are written for two choirs would seem to support this idea. Elaborate job application or not, in this work Monteverdi has produced one of his most durable masterpieces, which forms a bridge between the late Renaissance - with passages taken from prima practica, the style developed by Palestrina - and the nascent Baroque style, and its seconda practica which was so dear to Monteverdi, and which would free the use of dissonance from its old straitjacket. For this recording, Giuseppe Maletto has brought together the rich talents of La Compagnia del Madrigale and the Cantica Symphonia and La Pifarescha ensembles, because it takes a whole lot of talent to give the Vespers the treatment it deserves.
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Classical - Released March 5, 2021 | PentaTone

Hi-Res Booklet
Punctuated by the tambourines which now appear to be inevitable on all recordings of Baroque music, this "Delirio della passione" (Delirium of passion) flies the colours of eroticism, both figuratively, and literally, on the image on the cover. This recital by soprano Anna Lucia Richter, at ease with Mahler as with seventeenth-century Italian opera, is devoted to a good dozen secular pieces by Monteverdi from his operas and cycles of love madrigals. Conducting the Claudiana Ensemble while playing his instruments (archluth, theorbo, chitarrone), Luca Pianca makes this music twirl, and gives it the character of a frantic dance. A whole theatre of amorous passions is represented here. It is an expression of a burning sensuality in search of multicultural connections. After all, the Venice of these days looked to the East. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 4, 2019 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
Do not adjust your set, there is no mistake: you're not listening to a Marcel Perez record. This is indeed the Vespers of the Blessed Virgin by Monteverdi for the label Alpha. Simon- Pierre Bestion, faithful fixture of the Cris de Paris and Insula Orchestra, conducts his own ensemble, La Tempête. With its wild vocal polyphonics, it is rooted in the folk traditions of Sardinia and Corsica. These Vespers are simply stunning, and enriched by Gregorian faux-bourdons. As the instrumentation wasn't always set down precisely, the orchestra is able to make use of uncommon timbres, while still respecting the Italian cosmopolitanism of the Venice of the day (a shofar, harps, trombones, chitarrones). Published (in part) just after Orfeo (1607) and Arianna (1608), also by Monteverdi, this collection of Vespers (1610) remains mysterious in spite of the best efforts of musicologists. Its different portions were most likely written at different moments in the musician's career. Some pieces will have been written prior to its publication, and others added rather later. The response Domine ad adjuvandum, which uses the same material as the toccata from the overture to Orfeo, corroborates this picture. Simon-Pierre de Bestion's interpretation of this text is unique, and based on a conception of the rites that is full of solemnity and trance. The grandiose score bursts the normal bounds of the form and invites such a re-reading: its daring stretches out time, and the varied succession of the pieces within it dazzle us time and time again, thanks to the musical audacity of these thrilling artists. © Elsa Siffert/Qobuz
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Opera - Released October 2, 2020 | Naïve, a label of Believe Group

Hi-Res Booklet
With the great roar of the famous Toccata opening the performance, this new version of Monteverdi’s L'Orfeo is captivating right from the start. The bright instruments, dancing rhythms and colourful tones found in the sumptuous curtain-raiser carry you away.It’s worth discovering Mathilde Etienne’s erudite and fascinating text. She sets the record straight by placing Monteverdi’s masterpiece in the Renaissance period instead of stating that it is the first Baroque opera (it’s not). The text also restores Striggio’s extraordinary libretto, who integrated a whole range of styles. It also explains how much Neo-Platonic thought, with all its mathematics and philosophy, adds up to a simple concept that a child can understand. It’s like a painting (Botticelli for example) that you can admire for its beauty but one which holds a profound meaning as soon as you dig in a little deeper.Finally, there’s a hugely theatrical performance coupled with fleshy, carnal singing. Monteverdi leaves little room for his performers; his score is annotated and precise in terms of ornamentation and instrumentation. You can, however, play around with differentiating the choirs and varying the continuo, as they do here.Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, the man behind it all, is multitalented. He sings in the title role and conducts the whole ensemble, drawing you into the frenzy of human passion, leaving you dizzy. Gripping and enjoyable! © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 25, 2016 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released May 7, 2021 | Glossa

Hi-Res Booklet
With “Lagrime d’amante”, La Compagnia del Madrigale, so accomplished with 16th- and 17th century Italian music and words, turns its attention afresh to the music of Claudio Monteverdi. This new Glossa release, recorded in Cumiana, outside Turin, faithfully conveys the beauty of the ensemble’s vocal blend in a selection of five-part compositions drawn from the Monteverdi of Cremona, Mantua and Venice, but centring on that cornerstone of his art, the Sixth Book. The act of singing whilst weeping – as Marco Bizzarini points out in his booklet essay – is somewhat unfeasible, but time after time Monteverdi strove to overcome that improbability by his music, often calling upon the best Italian poetry of the time: here, the fabulously vivid imagery of Torquato Tasso, Battista Guarini and Petrarch are well served by Monteverdi’s musical response. The programme takes us through various troubled emotional states involving love: a lover dying of love, the “partenza amorosa” (or lovers’ separation), even a shepherd accidentally wounding his loved one, but also the outpouring of grief in the Lagrime d’amante al sepolcro dell’amata, a commissioned madrigal cycle to newly written words lamenting the death in 1608 of the promising singer Caterina Martinelli, a pupil of the composer, but also that of Monteverdi’s wife. This work and others on this recording involved the lamented bass Daniele Carnovich to whom the group pay tribute; the sessions were completed by Matteo Bellotto. © Glossa
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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Alia Vox

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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released January 1, 2008 | Glossa

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Opera - Released May 21, 2021 | Dynamic

Hi-Res Booklet
In May 2008, William Christie returned to his first love, with this flamboyant production of Orfeo directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi. This was the first part of the complete Monteverdian trilogy which the pair performed on the famous Madrid stage. At the head of his Arts Florissants, with help from the Sacqueboutiers de Toulouse and some great solo voices, William Christie offers up exquisite timbres and shimmering colours.This show, which has already been released on DVD, is available here in its audio version alone. That means we miss out on the visual delights provided by Pier Luigi Pizzi, one of the last great Italian aesthetes to grace the lyrical stage before it descended into its present, parlous state. The lack of images brings the music into fuller focus: we can enjoy the high-level cast headed by Dietrich Hensel in the title role. Hensel deploys all of his theatrical skill to bring the character to life, stepping out beyond the beautiful songs and the confines of a purely baroque style: this performance certainly proved controversial among critics.Around him, a deluxe cast enter and exit the stage, including the subtle and stylistically perfect Euridice (but also La Musica, and, curiously, Proserpina) played by Maria Grazia Schiavo. Note also the smooth performance by Sonia Prina (Messaggiera, La Speranza), Antonio Abete's splendid Plutone, and the magnificent Cyril Autvity (second Shepherd and first Spirit). This landmark production is now available on Qobuz. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Secular Vocal Music - Released January 27, 2017 | Arcana

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Choc du Monde de la Musique - 10 de Répertoire
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Sacred Oratorios - Released September 2, 2008 | K617

Booklet
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Classical - Released August 30, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
An echo of the luxuriant performance at the 2018 Salzburg Festival, where this recording was made, this new version of the Coronation of Poppea by Claudio Monteverdi, conducted by William Christie (who had already recorded the piece once before, at a concert in Madrid, with production by Pier-Luigi Pizzi, in 2010) met with unanimous acclaim thanks to its exceptional musical execution. A distribution to die for, dominated by Sonja Yoncheva's voluptuous interpretation of the titular role, and fabulous instrumentation from the Arts Florissants, led by Christie, with no fancy tricks, from the vantage point of his harpsichord. These ingredients all add up to a very high quality production to mark the fortieth anniversary of the ensemble, which was founded in 1979. While Jan Lauwer's production was widely admired, this audio-only publication will seduce novices and connoisseurs alike. In this extraordinary opera, Monteverdi applies his genius to spoofing contemporary figures from behind a curtain of ancient history. This exceptional recording is a joyful demonstration of how Montverdi ennobled the nascent genre of opera, by writing for it a moving masterpiece that defies changing times and fashions. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Music by vocal ensembles - Released January 1, 2008 | Glossa

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Opera - Released June 5, 2020 | Glossa

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Classical - Released February 21, 2012 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Coup de coeur de l'Académie Charles Cros - Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
Monteverdi wrote his Missa In illo tempore, one of his three complete surviving mass settings, as a companion piece to the Vespers of 1610, at least partly to demonstrate to church authorities his mastery of the late-Renaissance, Palestrina-influenced polyphony the conservative hierarchy favored. He certainly succeeded in creating a work of rich contrapuntal intricacy that bears enough of a stamp of his own personality and harmonic preferences that it wouldn't be mistaken for Palestrina, a piece that should have strong appeal to fans of choral music of the period. Listeners' reaction to this recording featuring the Italian ensemble Odhecaton, led by Paolo da Col, may depend on their preferences in countertenor sound. On this recording countertenors take the soprano and alto parts that would have originally been sung by castrati. The singers on the highest part tend to have a white, somewhat closed tone that is more characteristic of countertenors of a generation ago than the robust, rounded sound of the singers who have emerged since the turn of the 21st century. The group overall sings with a full, nicely sculpted sound, with the nuanced dynamics so crucial for a work made up of such elaborately layered independent lines. The performances don't generate the kind of heat usually associated with Monteverdi, but that may have as much to do with the stricter Renaissance polyphonic style he adopted for this work as with the singing itself. A strong selling point for the album is the inclusion of the premiere recordings of three Monteverdi motets that had only recently been identified as his work when this recording was made. They are in the more personal, intensely expressive style that characterizes his mature work. The recording inserts them between the movements of the Mass. The stylistic juxtaposition can be startling, but the motets act as refreshing palate cleansers within the austerity of the Mass, and the performers sing them with gusto. The album also includes performances of four works by Giaches de Wert, the Flemish composer whose career ended in Mantua around the time Monteverdi's began there, and Nicolas Gombert's In illo tempore loquente Jesu, the motet from which Monteverdi drew thematic material for his Mass. © TiVo
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Music by vocal ensembles - Released January 1, 2005 | Glossa

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Opera - Released May 7, 2021 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
L’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) is often described as the first opera. The composer himself used another term for his work, however: "favola in musica", a musical tale. Taking this as their point of departure, the performers on the present recording place the emphasis on the libretto’s direct narrative, and how the music alone is used to express emotions, a music which underpins the plot and the text word for word. To quote the liner notes: "To modern ears the musical heritage of L’Orfeo is more to be found in the Lieder tradition than in the grand opera of the nineteenth century". The tale told by Monteverdi and the members of the three ensembles which bring his score to life, is that of Orpheus, the poet and musician who travels to the Underworld in order to persuade Hades to let his beloved Eurydice return to the living. Under the direction of Fredrik Malmberg, and with Johan Linderoth as their Orfeo, the 38 singers and musicians that make up Ensemble Lundabarock, Höör Barock and Ensemble Altapunta perform a score which in 1607 was state-of-the-art contemporary. Four full centuries after the first performance in Mantua it remains almost shockingly modern, as in the sound of cornetts and trombones that summon up the spirits of the Underworld or the portrayal of undiluted, raw grief in Orfeo’s celebrated aria Possente spirto. © BIS Records
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Classical - Released April 27, 2018 | Ricercar

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Music by vocal ensembles - Released January 1, 2005 | Glossa