COMPOSERS: B & Fm Marini,etc,Grandi,Monteverdi,Rovetta
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Salve Regina
PERFORMER: Robin Blaze (countertenor); The Parley of Instruments/Peter Holman
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67225
Venice was a hotbed of modernist experiment in the first half of the 17th century, as music underwent profound changes that amounted to a cultural revolution. One strand in that history is elucidated in this lovely recording, which traces the development of a new kind of sacred vocal music in works for solo voice, strings and continuo.
Monteverdi, as maestro di cappella at St Mark’s from 1613 to 1643, was a crucial figure in these changes. He is represented here by his 1641 ‘Iam moriar mi fili (Pianto della Madonna)’, a late adaptation of the famous lament from his 1608 opera Arianna. Opera certainly became a major influence on church music – witness Legrenzi’s 1692 motet ‘O mirandum mysterium’, which seamlessly incorporates an operatic lament – but Monteverdi’s colleagues drew on other secular forms too. Alessandro Grandi’s beautiful ‘Ave maris stella’, for example, sets the hymn as a triple-time dance, while the ‘Salve regina’ by Monteverdi’s successor as maestro, Giovanni Rovetta, displays its modernity in the rich textures with which the instruments cradle the voice.
Robin Blaze’s clear, pure countertenor is the ideal voice for these pieces, and he sings them with impressive authority. The Parley of Instruments adds sensitive support. An excellent release.