Monteverdi: Mass in Four Voices; Letaniae della Beata Vergine; O beatae viae; Cantate Domino; Venite, siccientes; Exultent caeli; Currite populi; Ego dormio; Laudate Dominum

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Monteverdi
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Sacred Music, Vol. 2
WORKS: Mass in Four Voices; Letaniae della Beata Vergine; O beatae viae; Cantate Domino; Venite, siccientes; Exultent caeli; Currite populi; Ego dormio; Laudate Dominum
PERFORMER: Carolyn Sampson, Rebecca Outram (soprano), Rogers Covey-Crump, Charles Daniels, James Gilchrist (tenor), Peter Harvey (bass); The King’s Consort & Choir/Robert King
CATALOGUE NO: SACDA 67438
Monteverdi is one of those composers who really does merit a complete recording of his output. The sacred works (with some notable exceptions) have been a little neglected, and this splendid new series, with its informed and intelligent booklet notes, is putting things right. The first volume was reviewed in January, and now we have some major pieces from his posthumous 1650 collection – the Mass for Four Voices and the Litany of Loreto – together with motets and psalm settings from minor anthologies published between 1615 and 1629. The duets and solos on this recording are wonderfully effective. The two silvery sopranos in ‘Ego dormio’, the agile bass in ‘Laudate Dominum’ and the mercurial tenors in ‘Cantate Domino’ sing with panache and style. In ‘Venite, siccientes’, though, the somewhat studied pace compares unfavourably with the nimble Carlton version from Kirkby and Tubb now available on a budget-price Regis reissue. The centrepiece of this disc is the Mass sung by a choir of 17 with organ support – a powerful performance, but with some muddy moments and rather too much bass. Some will prefer the version using almost the same resources by The Sixteen (also on Hyperion). The disc ends, though, with a moving and unsurpassed account of the Litany of Loreto. Anthony Pryer

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