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Classical - Released April 22, 2013 | Avie Records

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Classical - Released April 2, 2013 | Coro

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
Claudio Monteverdi's Selva morale e spirituale (Moral and Spiritual Forest, intriguingly) is not a work but a collection of sacred pieces published by the composer in 1641, his 74th year. The music reflects the later part of his career as music director at St. Mark's in Venice, which was not then a cathedral but the chapel associated with the nearby Doge's palace. Accordingly, it contains music in various genres: a mass in the old a cappella Renaissance style, motets, Magnificats, liturgical pieces, what would soon be called sacred solo concertos and madrigals, and more. The original ordering is unclear (the pieces might be loosely alphabetical, with the solo-vocal works broken out), and the British choir The Sixteen and conductor Harry Christophers have done well to mix the pieces up on their three-volume survey of set, of which this is the last volume. A good deal of the attraction of the music lies in its variety, and this volume includes everything from a superb dual-choir Magnificat (track 12), to solo-choral settings that employ the language Monteverdi almost single-handedly created in constantly imaginative ways, to a one-of-a-kind solo madrigal adapted, with new Latin text, from the famed Lamento d'Arianna (aka, Lamento dell'Arianna, or Ariadne's Lament), the sole survivor of Monteverdi's lost second opera. Ariadne's lament for the departed Theseus, a masterful use of counterpoint to express strong tragic emotion, is transformed into a "Pianto della Madonna," a plaint of Mary seeing the crucified Jesus. Monteverdi is not really The Sixteen's specialty, and listeners will likely find things to like and things to dislike in their performance. The choir's clean enunciation and tonal precision really put the text across, which is all to the good with this music, and Christophers finds the right dimensions for these works. The same is not always true of his soloists; you might want more power than you get from soprano Grace Davidson in the Pianto della Madonna, and in general the singers are low-key. Most of The Sixteen's numerous admirers, however, will find this a rewarding addition to their collections. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Alia Vox

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Classical - Released September 29, 2014 | Coro

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Some people might not have picked the Sixteen, a British choir known for its clean, well-modulated versions of Baroque and Renaissance choral works, often a cappella, as the ideal interpreters of Monteverdi's sprawling, problematical, groundbreaking, and instrumentally accompanied Vespro della beata vergine, better known as the Vespers of 1610. Indeed, this album was released in late 2014, in tandem with a tour visiting various English cathedrals and concert halls, and the tour was the first the group had made with an accompanying instrumental group. The Sixteen is swollen here to between 20 and 22, probably a reasonable size for the scope of the work, a collection of liturgical texts probably connected with a major Marian feast day. The work was composed in Mantua but seems to have had the big, intricate spaces of St. Mark's in Venice as an intended destination, perhaps because the composer was already angling for a post there. Much of its instrumental accompaniment is unspecified, and it may have involved an exceptionally large orchestra like that of the opera Orfeo (1607), which it echoes at several points. These aspects don't come through in the Sixteen's version, which is compact, favors the choir's trademark sound over the orchestra, and uses a fairly small ensemble. On the other hand, one might say that conductor Harry Christophers knows his strengths and plays to them; those accustomed to buying music by the group known as the voices of Classic FM are going to get a good example here, with the Vespers' sober polyphonic choruses coming through cleanly. The soloists are subsumed within the overall concept rather than standing out as individuals, which is par for the course for the Sixteen, although surely a matter of taste in Monteverdi. Something else in the recording's favor is the sound, captured at the smaller St. Augustine's Church in London rather than at one of the tour's larger venues (like Winchester Cathedral). Again, it may not fit Monteverdi, but it fits the Sixteen very well. Christophers does not attempt to solve the problem of the differing "high" and "low" clef readings of the concluding Magnificat, simply presenting the music in both versions in order to fill out the second compact disc. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 28, 2015 | Alia Vox

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Classical - Released April 28, 2017 | Coro

Between 2010 and 2013, Coro released Claudio Monteverdi's Selva Morale e Spirituale in three volumes, performed with scrupulous technique and polished sound by Harry Christophers and The Sixteen. Published in 1641, this anthology of sacred music ranks second only to Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine of 1610 as a comprehensive survey of the various styles and forms that he employed and the innovations he brought to Baroque music. The set includes single-voice motets, madrigals, instrumental pieces, mass movements, psalms, and multiple settings of the Salve Regina and the Magnificat, representing both the prima pratica of Renaissance counterpoint and the seconda pratica that comprised Monteverdi's novel techniques, which included solo vocal music set to homophonic accompaniment, the use of basso continuo, and the expansion of tonality and harmony for heightened expressions. The three albums are packaged in a cardboard slip cover, with no additional concessions to collectability, and the discs have been reissued without changes. Even so, this is a terrific package for marking the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi's birth, and The Sixteen's performances are transparent in texture and glorious in sonority, thanks in part to the high-quality recording in St. John's, Smith Square (Vol. 1) and St. Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London (Vols. 2 and 3). © TiVo
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Christmas Music - Released January 1, 1989 | Celestial Harmonies

This elegant collection includes assortments of sacred choral and instrumental pieces from the High Renaissance and Baroque eras including pieces by Bach, Purcell, Monteverdi and Handel. Celestial Christmas is performed by two of the world's most highly esteemed ensembles--Concentus Musicas Wien and the Leonhardt-Consort. © MusD /TiVo
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Classical - Released April 1, 2016 | Coro

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Classical - Released February 27, 2014 | CDKlassisk

Classical - Released August 29, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Classical - Released July 18, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Classical - Released July 25, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Chamber Music - Released August 27, 2012 | Signum Records

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Classical - Released November 5, 2007 | Signum Records

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Classical - Released December 4, 2002 | Cascavelle

Classical - Released July 18, 2020 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Classical - Released January 30, 2021 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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Classical - Released April 3, 2021 | UMG Recordings, Inc.

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